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How Is Pain And Suffering Calculated After A Car Accident?

How Is Pain And Suffering Calculated After A Car Accident?

In the aftermath of an auto accident, it takes dedicated focus to compile your economic damages into a singular and cohesive figure for the jury’s consideration. It is all the more trying to quantify the pain and suffering, which are considered “non-economic” damages. Car accidents are so common that it is important to know how damages after an accident will be calculated.

Each state is so different in terms of the applicable laws and rules. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. You will need an Alabama personal injury lawyer well-versed in the state laws to assist you in your claim.

What Is “Pain And Suffering”?

A person who suffers harm as a result of another’s negligence or wrongdoing is entitled to compensation for “pain and suffering.” In Alabama, the term “Pain and Suffering” refers to compensable damages for emotional or bodily suffering brought on by a personal harm.

Generally speaking, pain and suffering is a type of “non-economic damages”, being damages that are non-pecuniary (financial) in nature. This includes factors such as:

  • Ongoing pain
  • Emotional anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of activities
  • Damage to reputation
  • Worsening of prior injuries

In clarifying these types of damages, it’s helpful to consider what they are by considering how they differ from basic pecuniary damages. Almost any car accident involves some pain, but it is another matter altogether if that pain becomes chronic and felt during even daily tasks. Loss of function that makes life less enjoyable than before the accident also falls under the category of pain and suffering.

Though it’s necessarily hard to quantify with a dollar amount, pain and suffering is not an invitation to being vague, and evidence is all the more important. For example, a “loss of consortium” personal injury claim applies when the victim’s spouse can testify under penalty of perjury that they can no longer have sex due to specific car accident injuries. As another example, trauma such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI) will often necessitate arduous and ongoing mental health treatment, and an expert witness in TBI recovery may be necessary.

Though people will naturally have their own feelings about how much such limitations are truly worth to them, the jury must arrive at a reasonable, evidence-based calculation for the victim so that they can obtain financial relief as they seek to restore themselves to some semblance of normalcy.

How To Calculate Pain And Suffering After A Car Accident

In Alabama, there is no set dollar amount that can be used to cover both bodily and emotional suffering. The sum that would reasonably and fairly compensate the injured party for the bodily pain and mental agony that the aggrieved party incurred as a consequence of the harm is left up to the jury’s judgment in each case.

Calculating pain and suffering increases the burden of legal research dramatically. You and your legal counsel must determine the amount of pain and suffering awarded in recent case law within your jurisdiction. The more unique your situation is, the more you will likely have to delve into potentially lengthy case law history in order to find the case precedent most closely matching your own unique situation. This is not the sole basis of pain and suffering calculations, but it is the starting point. The extensive research alone is reason to ensure that you have hired an Alabama lawyer with lots of experience handling cases with lots of pain and suffering.

Often, the courts will simplify the calculation by using the economic damages as a starting point. There are two common ways a court will modify the personal injury claim for economic damages (such as actual medical expenses, vehicle replacement or repair, lost wages, etc.) to arrive at a reasonable estimate for the non-economic damages:

  • Daily rate of one’s daily earnings – common when the victim’s pain and suffering will significantly limit their ability to support themselves;
  • Multiplier, being anywhere 1.5–5 times the victim’s past and future medical expenses – common when injuries will involve ongoing medical expenses.

It is advantageous to consider which of the two calculations is higher as far in advance as possible so you can base your court strategy on proving why that method is more appropriate. However the calculations are made, begin any settlement negotiations with the highest figure you can justify, then be prepared to accept less in proportion to any weaknesses in your claim.

The Impact of Contributory Negligence on Your Pain and Suffering Award

It is important to note that Alabama utilizes a strict application of the contributory negligence rule. This rule can be used by the person you have brought the claim against as a defense since it prevents you from receiving any compensation at all if you were even slightly at blame for your own injuries. Thus, even if negligence were established, the offending party would still be free to escape having to cover any damages.

You need a skilled Alabama personal injury attorney to help you establish that the other party was entirely at fault, or you stand to receive nothing at all. Make an appointment with us as soon as possible to discuss the circumstances of your case.

Limits Placed on your Capacity to Claim for Pain and Suffering in Alabama

You need to move quickly. You must bring a lawsuit within two years of the accident that caused the injury. Come in to speak with us as soon as possible.

Additionally, Alabama is like the majority of states in that there are no pain and suffering damages available in a worker’s compensation claim or a product liability claim.

Increasing Your Odds Of A Favorable Judgment

The more car accident-related pain and suffering damages you seek, the trickier the calculation becomes. It’s even possible to open yourself up to a countersuit if done incorrectly. Accept no less than a pain and suffering lawyer with the highest level of knowledge, skill, and experience fighting for pain and suffering compensation for car accidents in your local jurisdiction. Only then can you stand the greatest chance of obtaining the relief you need as you focus on achieving the best recovery possible. Schedule a consultation with us as soon as possible so we can advise you on your case.

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