You’ve probably heard about an insurance claim or lawsuit that included a claim for pain and suffering. However, you may have wondered if it was just a money-grabbing attempt by a victim and their lawyer. While it’s easy to understand how medical expenses or lost wages can be quantified, there’s obviously no clear dollar value attached to pain and suffering. However, it is a valid component of many personal injury claims, including serious car accidents. Pain and suffering falls under the category of non-economic damages.
If you were severely injured in a car accident in Indianapolis, your attorney may advise you to seek such compensation. They will work with you to collect evidence and build a strong case since it may not be easy to recover full compensation. Experienced Indianapolis car accident attorneys have the skills, experience and knowledge to handle even the most complex cases.
The Difference Between Economic and Non-Economic Damages
Many accident victims are only aware of the economic damages they can claim. These are tangible things like car repairs, medical expenses and lost wages. It’s easy to assign a dollar figure to these since it typically involves adding up receipts and invoices or pay slips. However, Indiana’s laws also allow car crash victims to get compensation for other types of damages.
That’s because when people get injured, the impact goes beyond the financial. Physical pain and mental suffering often follow serious injuries and they can be very debilitating. Chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and insomnia often affect people who suffer injuries in an accident. As you may expect, it’s difficult to say how much money someone should get in this regard. That’s why your attorney’s skills will be invaluable.
Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages
Some of the things they will use to help them arrive at a figure include:
- The severity of your injuries
- Whether you are disabled or disfigured
- Whether you can perform your usual activities
- How long the pain and suffering is expected to last
As with other damages you intend to claim, you’ll need to present proof of your situation. To help build a strong case, your Indianapolis car accident lawyer may turn to:
- Reports from the physician, psychologist, psychiatrist or therapist treating you
- Testimony from medical experts
- Literature on the drugs you’re taking or the procedures you underwent
- Testimony from friends and family
There’s no single method for the calculation of damages relating to pain and suffering. Some attorneys multiply the economic damages by a number between 1 and 5 based on the severity of the injuries. A multiplier of 1 is used for the least severe injuries while 5 is used for the most severe.
Others use a per diem method where a dollar amount is assigned for each day the person experiences pain and suffering until they reach maximum recovery. The settlement achieved in previous similar cases may also be used as guidance. Meanwhile, some insurance companies use computer programs to determine how much victims should get.
In Indiana, there are generally no limits on how much car accident victims can get for pain and suffering. The more experienced and skilled the attorney is, the more money they tend to obtain for the victim. The entire process of getting compensation will also go a lot more smoothly. That’s why you need to ensure you hire a lawyer with a successful track record.
Contact the Attorneys at Stewart|Phelps|Wood Now!
It’s important that you call a lawyer as soon as possible after a car accident. You only have two years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit for injuries and property damage. This may seem like a long time but it’s best to collect evidence when it’s fresh. As time goes by, witnesses may move away or die, and documents may disappear or get destroyed. It also takes time to build a case and you need to give the negotiation process time to work. Taking a case all the way to trial is usually a last resort.
At Stewart|Phelps|Wood, we are skilled negotiators but we we are not afraid to fight for your right in a courtroom. If you’ve been involved in a crash, contact us today. Your first consultation is free. If you decide we’re the Indianapolis car accident attorneys for you, you won’t have to pay until you get compensation. We’ll assist in preparing a strong claim that covers all your losses including pain and suffering, if relevant. Schedule your consultation today and let us begin working on your behalf.