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Scottsdale  •  Phoenix

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How Do You Calculate Pain and Suffering in a Car Accident Case?

As a claimant, you have the potential to secure special and general damages in a car accident case. Special damages are those with clear amounts, such as your medical bills or lost wages. General damages, however, are more difficult to calculate. They include intangible damages such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish. Find out how Arizona juries calculate pain and suffering in a car accident case for an idea of what your claim could be worth. Then, contact a dedicated Phoenix car accident attorney for more specific information.

Most Common Method: Using a Multiplier

Different insurance companies and courts will calculate pain and suffering damages in different ways. The most common, however, is the “Multiplier Method.” In this technique, you take the total amount of your special damages and multiply it by a number that represents the severity of your injuries. Start by calculating your special, or economic, damages. These may include the costs of:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Any other monetary expense relating to your accident

Speak to a lawyer if you need help measuring or adding up your special damages. Then, come up with your multiplier. Multipliers generally fall between one and five, with one representing the most minor injuries and five the most catastrophic. The multiplier will depend on many factors, including your age, level of disability, and the lifelong effects the injury will have on you. The actions of the defendant may also affect the multiplier; for instance, if a drunk driver struck you, the jury might award a higher multiplier.

Once you have a multiplier that seems appropriate for your losses, multiply it by your total special damages. For example, if your injuries cost you $100,000 in special damages and you use a multiplier of two, your pain and suffering estimate would be $200,000. Add your special and general damages together and you have an estimate of what your overall claim could be worth. It can be difficult to predict your multiplier without help from a lawyer.

Per Diem Method

“Per diem,” is Latin for “per day.” The per diem method of calculating pain and suffering takes the losses the victim will experience day by day. Some insurers prefer this method, especially if the injuries aren’t serious or expected to last for the rest of the victim’s life. During a per diem calculation, an insurer will assign an amount of money to each day you had your injuries. For example, if your injuries cost you $10,000 in special damages and it took 90 days to heal, the per diem rate would equal around $111 per day.

You would then multiply your per diem rate by the number of days you experienced pain and suffering for your compensation amount. A physician can help you ascertain your point of maximum medical improvement for the purposes of calculating your losses. You may need to use pay stubs, medical bills, and other information to calculate a per diem number. During a trial, the courts will need to see evidence as to how you came up with the number you did.

Talk to an Attorney for a Final Value

Calculating pain and suffering is important to figure out your starting point for settlement negotiations. An insurance company will respond to hard figures backed by documentation and strategy. The most accurate way to calculate your pain and suffering damages is with help from an attorney. You will need to alter your calculations based on many different factors, from the involvement of more than one party to the skill of your settlement negotiator. A Phoenix injury lawyer can analyze your case, calculate your damages, and give you a better idea of what you might expect in terms of pain and suffering recovery.

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The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.