Car Accident Settlement for Pain and Suffering

March 28, 2024
Personal Injury

No one ever thinks that they will be in a car accident. We go about our lives, day in and day out, thinking that it will never happen to us. But the truth is, accidents happen all the time. And when they do, it can be a very traumatic experience, both physically and emotionally.

Yearly, over 1.3 million people become victims of road accidents. After an accident, you can file a claim to recover losses for losses you suffered, including things like property damage, injuries, and pain and suffering.

Since pain and suffering are difficult to prove, it makes it even more difficult to assign a monetary value to them. There are ways an injury attorney can help you protect your rights, ensure your damages are fairly valued, and that you get the compensation you deserve.

How are Pain and Suffering Defined By Law?

Pain and suffering is the legal term used to describe the physical and emotional distress you experience due to an injury. This could include things like physical pain, mental pain or anguish, emotional pain, disfigurement, disability, or loss of enjoyment of life. When a car accident occurs, it can be a very sudden and traumatic event. This can often leave victims in a state of shock, which can make it difficult to think clearly or know what to do next.

It's important to understand that you have rights after a car accident. These include:

  1. You have the right to seek medical attention
  2. You have the right to file a personal injury claim
  3. You may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering


Proving Pain and Suffering Damages

Proving pain and suffering damages can be difficult because they are intangible, meaning they cannot be seen or measured. Common triggers include traumatic brain injury, mental suffering, psychological trauma, memory loss, head injury, impairment of body function, etc.

In order to recover damages, you will need to show that you actually experienced pain and suffering as a result of the accident.

One way to do this is to keep a journal documenting the pain and suffering you've experienced since the accident. You should include information on how the pain has impacted your daily life, including your work, social activities, and relationships.

In addition, it's important to get medical treatment for your injuries. Your medical records will be helpful in proving the extent of your injuries and the chronic pain you've experienced.

Generally, some of the things that you may want to keep track of include:

  1. Medical bills and records
  2. Photos of your injuries
  3. Witness statements
  4. Journals or diaries detailing the impact of your injuries on the quality of life

A personal injury attorney will be able to help you gather the evidence you need to prove your pain and suffering damages.

Types of Damages For Pain and Suffering

When you file a personal injury claim, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. This type of damage is known as "general damages" or "Non-Economic Damages." They are awarded to the accident victim to compensate them for their injuries or intangible effects of the accident, such as pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of enjoyment of life, and scarring or disfigurement.

There is no set formula for determining the amount of general damages that you may be awarded. The amount will depend on the severity of your injuries, the impact that the permanent injuries have had on your life, and other factors.

It's important to note that general damages are not intended to compensate you for your financial losses. This includes things like medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. These types of losses are known as "special damages."

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter future misconduct. In some cases, punitive damages may be available in addition to pain and suffering damages.

Punitive damages are not available in every case. They are typically only awarded in cases where the defendant's conduct was particularly egregious. For example, if a driver was speeding and caused a serious accident, they may be ordered to pay punitive damages such as if the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

In some instances, a fair settlement or fair compensation arrangement can be reached where the at-fault insurance company or party agrees to pay you an amount of money that is fair for your injuries. The settlement ranges from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars and can be reached in some cases, but keep in mind that each case is unique and different.

Calculating Pain and Suffering

It's essential to understand that pain and suffering are not an exact science. The amount of compensation you may be entitled to will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of your case.

However, generally, pain and suffering damages are calculated by taking into account things like:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • The impact that the injuries have had on your life
  • The type of accident that occurred

Per Diem Method

One of the most common ways to calculate pain and suffering damages is known as the per diem method. Under this method, you would simply take the total amount of your medical bills and divide it by the number of days that you were in pain.

For example, let's say that:

  • You incurred $5,000 in medical bills
  • You were in pain for 50 days

Under the per diem method, your pain and suffering damages would be $100 per day ($5,000 divided by 50 days).

Multiplier Method

This involves taking your total special damages and multiplying it by a number between 1.5 and 5. The number that you choose will depend on the severity of your injuries.


For example, if you have $10,000 in special damages and adjusters determine you qualify for a multiplier of 2, your pain and suffering damages would be $20,000. On average pain and suffering adds $15,000 to an injury claim settlement.

Damage Caps on Pain and Suffering

There may be limits on the amount of pain and suffering damages you can recover. In some states, there are laws that place a cap on the amount of damages that can be awarded for pain and suffering. So, even if you have suffered severe injuries, you may only be able to recover a limited amount in damages.

It's also crucial to note that many insurance companies have their own internal limits on the amount of pain and suffering damages they will pay out. So, even if there is no state law limiting your damages, the insurance company may only offer you a certain amount.

Experienced car accident lawyers will be familiar with the laws in your state and will be able to help you understand any limits that may apply to your case.

How Insurance Companies Evaluate Pain and Suffering in Injury Claims

It’s crucial to note that many insurance company representatives handling your personal injury claim following an auto accident begin their analysis with one very important assumption: if you didn’t seek medical treatment, you’re not in any pain.

Although there are exceptions to every rule, the insurance adjuster often assumes that injuries that result in an enormous amount of medical expenses include more pain and suffering than injuries that result in minimal medical treatment. Also, insurance companies assume that injuries that require a lengthy recovery time inherently cause more pain and suffering than those that heal quickly. These assumptions influence how insurance adjusters value bodily injury claims.

After an auto accident, if you decide not to seek medical treatment for your physical injuries, the insurance company won’t attach much value to your accident injury claim. This might be the case, although you’re in pain, and that your injury is quite real to you. From the insurance company’s standpoint, it’s just your word that you sustained injuries and that you’re experiencing pain and suffering.

The insurance company representative is likely to attach more value to your pain and suffering claim if there’s medical corroboration of your injury. For example, let’s say you suffer from a soft tissue injury that isn’t readily observable to a doctor. If you seek medical attention for that injury, the doctor will listen to the prescription of your symptoms and perform a physical examination. Then the doctor will note in your medical records you went to the clinic and complained of pain and discomfort in certain parts of your body after the auto accident. The doctor’s notes will also have findings from the physical examination.

The insurance company will then access your medical records as part of your pain and suffering claim evaluation. To the insurance adjuster, the fact that you took time from your school or work to seek medical treatment validates your injury claim. To the insurance adjuster, if you weren’t in any pain, you wouldn’t have gone to all that effort to ease the pain.

How to Get the Most Compensation for Your Injuries

If you've been injured in a car accident, it's important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to review your case and give you an idea of the compensation you may be entitled to.

There are a few things you can do to increase the amount of compensation you may be awarded. For example, keeping accurate records of your injuries (including physical injuries such as broken bones) and their impact on your life can be helpful in proving the extent of your damages.

An accident attorney who is familiar with the laws in your state and has experience dealing with insurance companies will be able to get you the best possible outcome.

Determining Fault in Car Accidents

To recover pain and suffering damages, you will need to prove that someone else was at fault for the accident. This is typically done by showing that the other driver was negligent. There are many ways to prove a driver was negligent. Some of the most common include:

  1. Speeding
  2. Distracted driving
  3. Driving under the influence
  4. Running a red light
  5. Failure to yield


If the other driver was at fault for the accident, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against them. This will allow you to seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, noneconomic damages, and other damages (i.e., accident injuries, and economic losses).

It's important to note that you only have a limited amount of time to take legal action. This is known as the statute of limitations. In most states, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit - an accident claim or claim for pain.

What if the Other Driver Doesn't Have Insurance?

If the other driver doesn't have insurance, you may still be able to seek compensation for your injuries. In most states, uninsured motorist coverage is available as part of your own auto insurance policy.

This type of coverage will protect you in the event that you're hit by a driver who doesn't have insurance. Your uninsured motorist coverage will typically cover things like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

We Can Help You Recover Fair Compensation for Pain and Suffering!

The pain and emotional suffering you experience after a car accident can be significant. Not only can they cause immediate physical pain, but they can also have a lasting impact on your life. As such, it's important to seek legal advice as soon as possible so that you can understand your legal rights and options, and can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Marks Law Group is a distinguished personal injury law firm with a proven track record of success. With our experienced attorneys on your side, you can feel confident that we will do everything possible to get you the best result. For a consultation, call us today at (678) 251-9309.