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What is Pain and Suffering Really Worth?

Those who have been injured in a car accident (or other accident) due to another person’s carelessness, may seek compensation from the insurance company of the at-fault party. The losses suffered by the injured person generally include medical expenses and lost wages. In some cases, pain and suffering may also be an issue in the final settlement amount. What exactly does pain and suffering mean in the context of a lawsuit, and what is pain and suffering really worth? Pain and suffering generally falls under either physical pain and suffering or mental pain and suffering, although a plaintiff may suffer both types.

The mental pain and suffering experienced by a plaintiff following an accident include fear, anxiety, mental anguish, humiliation, shock, worry, inconvenience, mood swings, depression, loss of appetite, lack of energy, insomnia or the loss of enjoyment of life—basically any negative emotion an accident victim may suffer. Physical pain and suffering is the result of actual physical injuries. Both physical and mental pain and suffering include not only the victim’s effects to date, but the mental and physical pain and suffering which is likely to occur in the future.

Examples of Pain and Suffering

Let’s assume you have been involved in a car accident which resulting in a concussion, whiplash symptoms and a broken femur. As a result of these injuries, you are unable to return to work for a significant length of time, and the aftermath of your concussion has left you wondering if you will ever be able to return to work. In addition to the physical pain you are experiencing, you may have significant difficulty sleeping, are depressed, angry and anxious much of the time, and have even suffered a serious loss of appetite. In this situation, you would be entitled to pain and suffering damages. The level of pain and suffering damages you might be entitled to will depend on many factors, including how long your pain and suffering is expected to continue, and how severe the pain and suffering symptoms are.

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How Will the Insurance Company Calculate Your Pain and Suffering?

Generally speaking, there are two methods for calculating pain and suffering. In the first method, your actual damages (medical expenses plus lost wages) will be multiplied by a number between 1 and 5, depending on the severity of the pain and suffering. Using the example above, if your medical expenses and lost wages equal $43,000, and your pain and suffering is considered moderately severe, multiply the $43,000 times 3, and your pain and suffering damages could be $129,000.

The second method of calculating pain and suffering is known as the per diem approach (“per diem” is the Latin term for “per day”). Using the per diem calculations, a specific amount is assigned to each day, starting with the day of the accident, and ending when you have reached your maximum recovery level. Using these calculations, assuming the car accident detailed above has left you unable to work for 13 months, and that, coupled with the severity of your accident and resulting medical expenses, determines that the amount per day for your pain and suffering will be $325. When you multiply this amount times 395 days then your total pain and suffering could be calculated at $128,375.

It is important to understand that insurance companies are under no obligation to use either of the methods above. In fact, many insurance companies have their own computer-generated programs which calculate pain and suffering amounts. These programs factor in the injury type, as well as the specific medical treatments sought. Insurance companies typically consider medical treatment administered by a physician to be a more compensable injury than medical treatment administered by a chiropractor. The length of time you seek treatment may also be a factor—if your treatments for the injuries you received seemed excessive, then all your treatments may not be calculated when determining pain and suffering.

Getting the Help You Need Following Your Accident

It can help you to speak to an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney who understands how your pain and suffering may be calculated. Your Colorado personal injury attorney will also ensure your rights and your future are protected, while answering any questions you may have.

Contact Our Experienced Lafayette Personal Injury Lawyers

the Northglenn personal injury attorneys at Hull & Zimmerman, P.C.If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident in Broomfield, Northglenn, Westminster, Thornton, Lafayette or anywhere in Colorado, it is important to contact our experienced personal injury attorneys immediately. At Hull & Zimmerman, P.C., our committed personal injury lawyers are dedicated to the belief that everyone deserves justice. Contact us at (303) 423-1770 or (866) 385-3505.

Our personal injury lawyers have extensive experience representing injured accident victims in Broomfield, Arvada, Superior, Lafayette, Louisville, Erie, Brighton, Commerce City, Northglenn, Westminster, Thornton, Longmont, and throughout Colorado.



At Hull & Zimmerman, P.C., we are honored to help accident victims in their time of need, and take our responsibility as personal injury lawyers incredibly seriously. We know how important it is for victims to secure the full and fair compensation they need following a serious accident, and that is why we take a hands-on, personalized approach to every case we handle.

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