In any personal injury lawsuit, there are two kinds of damages that can be awarded to the injured party: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are relatively easy to quantify: lost wages, money expenses, medical expenses, and things of that nature. Non-economic damages, however, are another story.
Non-economic damages, or “pain and suffering” damages, are intangible and therefore not easily quantifiable. After all, how do you put a dollar value on your anguish, discomfort, or loss of enjoyment of life?
Below, we’ll take a look at how pain and suffering damages are calculated in Indiana. To learn more about how we can help you obtain compensation after an accident, speak to a Lafayette IN car accident lawyer at Hall-Justice Law Firm.
How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated After a Car Accident?
If your lawsuit goes before a jury, one of the jury’s jobs will be to calculate pain and suffering. Often, pain and suffering is calculated on a per diem basis. In other words, the jury will award you a specific amount of money per day and then multiply that by the number of days you suffered pain.
That being said, there really isn’t any standard way of calculating these damages. This is especially true in cases where “suffering” can’t be reduced to just physical pain, but also encompasses emotional trauma.
How Insurance Companies Handle Pain and Suffering Claims
Insurance companies generally look to devalue the claim that’s been filed against their policyholder. They are not in the business of paying out the policy limits to every accident victim who files a claim against them. They’re looking for ways to reduce the value of your claim. It’s your attorney’s job to ensure that they respect the full value of your loss.
Let’s take, as an example, an avid tennis player who enjoys playing competitive tennis at the amateur level. He has suffered a broken leg in a car accident that was not his fault. As a result, he will not be able to play tennis for a period of six months while this leg heels and he undergoes a period of rehabilitation.
As another example, take a person who is an avid reader. This person also had her leg in a car accident. The avid reader can still do what she enjoys, unless, of course, the pain medication puts her to sleep or is so ineffective she cannot concentrate. It is obvious that a tennis player cannot play tennis with a broken leg, how the reader is affected may not be as clear on the surface. Each injured person deserves to be compensated in a manner that takes into consideration what he or she has suffered, the impact on each person’s life.
Considerations for Calculating Pain and Suffering
Key considerations when calculating pain and suffering include the following:
- Medications used to treat physical pain and emotional trauma;
- The length of the period of rehabilitation;
- Limitations to the individual’s daily life;
- The impact of the injury on the individual’s ability to sleep;
- The impact of the injury on the individual’s relationships; and
- Whether or not the injury will resolve with time or there will be a permanent impairment or disfigurement.
Considerations When Filing Claims Against Insurance Policies
While insurance covers at-fault drivers for liability, it only covers them up to the policy maximum, also known as the insurance policy limits. In cases where your injuries exceed the policy limit, you have the option of suing the driver directly and filing a claim against your own underinsured driver’s policy.
At Hall-Justice Law Firm, we can help you determine the best way to obtain compensation for your injuries. We do research to determine whether or not a defendant who had insufficient insurance has significant assets that make it worth your while to sue them. Keep in mind you become the equivalent of a creditor. The at-fault party has the option of discharging the debts in Chapter 7 bankruptcy (if the defendant qualifies) and you may be left with nothing. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you decide what move is right for you to collect the largest settlement for your injuries. To learn more about suing for pain and suffering after a car accident, contact us today.
You Only Get One Chance to Litigate Your Injury Claim
Once you accept a settlement, it’s over. You cannot recover more money for your claim. For that reason, you need an experienced car accident lawyer who can help you preserve the value of your claim and advocate tirelessly on your behalf.
The attorneys at Hall-Justice Law Firm have been helping injured folks just like you recover significant damages for injuries sustained in Indiana car accidents for over two decades. Contact us today to learn more about suing for pain and suffering after a car accident.