Dallas Lawyers for Pain & Suffering After a Car Accident
If you have been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you have experienced pain. That is the “pain” part of pain and suffering. In Texas, you are allowed to sue for pain and suffering. But how is the value of such a claim determined? How can you tell a jury that you are in pain, and should be compensated for your suffering? What do the courts consider suffering?
At The Benton Law Firm, we can explain how pain and suffering are calculated, and what you will need to demonstrate to a court in order to make your case. Contact the Dallas car accident attorneys of The Benton Law Firm at (214) 777-7777 for a confidential consultation and an analysis of your case. Let us help you with your accident recovery today, contact us online, or give us a call at (214) 777-7777.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering has several definitions. Texas courts have indicated that pain and suffering include physical pain, emotional suffering, and mental anguish. In a personal injury case, pain and suffering is included in “non-economic damages.” That is, your pain and suffering has not actually cost you a specific dollar amount in the same way that setting a broken bone incurs hospital costs or doctor visits come with a bill. Some types of pain and suffering have been categorized as mental or emotional conditions like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
Pain and suffering also takes into consideration how your life is impacted after the accident. If you have been injured and can no longer carry out your usual life activities in the same way you once did, that is considered part of pain and suffering. For instance, if your accident-related injuries mean that you are incapacitated and can no longer drive, the inconvenience and embarrassment of having to be taken places by someone else could be considered part of your pain and suffering.
How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated?
It can be difficult to put a dollar value on pain because it is entirely subjective. How much pain one person can tolerate is different from what another person can take. Our society places a premium on “grinning and bearing it,” so there is a tendency to view those who are in chronic pain as drama queens or weaklings.
On the other hand, you should not have to become dependent on pain killers or endure PTSD or depression just to satisfy other people’s opinions. If you have been injured in a serious car accident or another type of accident, you have a right to be compensated for your emotional suffering as well as for your physical pain.
The courts use several criteria to evaluate your degree of pain and suffering and then apply a multiplier to the cost of your medical bills to reach a dollar value. The multiplier method assigns your pain and suffering a value between 1.5 to 5. This number is reached based on a number of factors.
- The actual pain from any medical treatments. This is subjective but is based on the “reasonable person” standard. A splinter in the thumb is less painful, for instance than open-heart surgery. A broken toe is less painful than a broken hip.
- Chronic pain. The medical profession has slowly realized that “chronic pain” from nerve damage, or even for no reason at all, is real and debilitating. There are tests that can be performed for this type of pain, but your best proof is your own statements.
- Emotional or mental trauma. This may be everything from headaches and nightmares to anxiety attacks. Sometimes you may have doctor’s reports to back you up or statements from family and friends who have seen your altered behavior.
- Quality of life. If the accident has changed your lifestyle or ability to carry out daily life activities, even if you are not physically disabled, then you may be allowed to claim this as pain and suffering. For instance, if your anxiety prevents you from leaving the house, your quality of life is seriously diminished, and you should be able to claim compensation for this.
Once a number value has been reached, the dollar value of your medical bills is totaled and then multiplied by the multiplier number. For instance, if your medical bills were $10,000 and your multiplier was three, your pain and suffering would be $30,000.
For obvious reasons, insurance companies like to keep the multiplier as low as possible. Your attorney will attempt to prove by witness statements and other means that your pain and quality of life have been seriously impacted by the accident.
What Other Methods Can Be Used to Calculate Pain and Suffering?
In Texas, if your injury did not cause you any traumatic injuries or chronic disability, you might use the “per diem” or “per day” method. This method does not really compensate you for pain and suffering but is instead a lump sum payment for the total time you were incapacitated.
The per diem method takes the same basic factors as the multiplier method and instead assigns a dollar value to the daily pain and suffering. Then that value is multiplied by the number of days you were incapacitated. That figure will be the amount of your pain and suffering recovery.
For instance, suppose you broke your leg and were in the hospital for 20 days. There was no lasting disability. The per diem amount the jury or the negotiation parties agreed upon was $200. Your pain and suffering recovery would be $4000, or $200 multiplied by 20. For simple injuries without lengthy recovery periods or lasting impact, this method can be preferable since it is not as dependent on outside factors.
If you have any pressing questions that need immediate answers, contact us online or give us a call at (214) 777-7777 today.
How We Can Help
The insurance companies would always prefer to minimize subjective payments like pain and suffering, if only because there is no hard evidence for how much something hurt or how bad you feel. They may offer you a payment that does not reflect what you should be paid.
Before you accept any settlement from an insurance company after a car accident, you should consult the Dallas car accident attorneys of The Benton Law Firm about your accident and options. Our attorneys are standing by to review your case and give you advice about the best way to proceed to get compensation for your pain and suffering.
Contact us online or call The Benton Law Firm at (214) 777-7777 today for a free, confidential consultation. We are ready to help you.