How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated after a Car Accident?
While Michigan No-Fault benefits can help victims recover some damages after an accident, they are often insufficient if the victim is seriously injured. One route to further compensation that may be available to victims is pain and suffering damages. These damages can be hard to quantify due to their intangibility. It is much more complicated to figure out the monetary cost of pain than something like property damage. Insurance companies typically use either the multiplier method or the per diem method to calculate a victim’s compensation.
What are Pain and Suffering Damages?
Pain and suffering damages are a type of non-economic damages meant to address an injured person’s physical and emotional suffering. Car accidents can be incredibly traumatic and, unfortunately, can leave victims with psychological and physical scars. Many victims find themselves unable to live their lives the way they would like to after an accident. Those with serious injuries may be able to recover some monetary damages for the pain and suffering they’ve endured. While compensation may not heal some wounds, it can help alleviate the stress of medical bills and lost income.
The Importance of Seeking Medical Attention After an Accident
Though you may feel fine initially after being involved in a car crash, injuries can manifest months after the crash. Seeing a medical professional after an accident is essential to protect your own health and to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. The documentation a medical visit provides can help you prove the extent of your injuries to your insurance company.
What Evidence Will the Insurance Company Review?
When evaluating your case, Insurance companies typically look at:
- Medical records
- Medical bills
- Photographs of your injuries
- Prescription costs
- Related bills and Receipts
- Documentation of missed work/school
Make sure to go to a doctor and communicate with your employer or school after an accident. Creating a paper trail can help demonstrate your suffering down the line.
The Multiplier Method
Quantifying pain and suffering can be rather difficult. The multiplier method is used by many insurance companies to convert these intangible damages into a monetary amount. This method uses an equation that adds up all of the actual damages and multiplies them by a pre-determined number between 1.5 and 5. Higher numbers are used in cases with more distressing injuries, such as a permanent disability.
The Per Diem Method
Insurance companies also sometimes use the per diem method to determine pain and suffering damages. This method works by multiplying an assigned dollar value that represents the pain and suffering the victim endures in one day by the number of days the injuries affect them. The victim’s lost wages are sometimes used to help determine the daily amount.
Michigan Bodily Injury Threshold
In Michigan, victims looking to pursue pain and suffering damages are required to meet a bodily injury threshold (also called a tort threshold). In order to satisfy the requirements, the victim has to have experienced “death, serious impairment of a bodily function, or permanent serious disfigurement.” If you are claiming pain and suffering damages based on a serious impairment of a bodily function, your injuries must be:
- Objectively manifested: The injury or its symptoms must be observable to people other than the victim.
- Impairing an important body function: The bodily function must be one of consequence.
- Affect the victim’s ability to live a normal life: The injury must have required the victim to alter their lifestyle.
Suffering After an Accident? Call Us.
At the Mike Morse Law Firm, we understand the incredible difficulties that seriously injured victims of car accidents face and we know how to fight big insurance companies that don’t want to pay. Injured victims do not need the extra stress of mounting medical bills and uncertain futures, and they deserve compensation for the mental and physical anguish their injuries have put them through. Our expert attorneys can help ensure that you are paid your due for your pain and suffering after a car accident. Call us today at 855-MIKE WINS (885-645-3946) or contact us through our website to set up a free consultation.