How Much Can I Get for Pain and Suffering in a Car Insurance Settlement?

Last Updated on January 30, 2020

Car accidents are not only financially debilitating, but they can also be incredibly physically painful. An injury from a car accident can cause you lingering pain for years, and the injuries can also inhibit your ability to work or enjoy your hobbies. In the worst-case scenarios, car accidents can also cause mental and emotional suffering, and that stress can impact your entire life. Luckily, it is possible to receive compensation for pain and suffering related to a car accident. Here’s what you need to know about pain and suffering and how to get compensation for it if you’ve been struggling.

How Much Can I Get for Pain and Suffering in a Car Insurance Settlement?

What Constitutes Pain and Suffering in a Lawsuit?

When putting together your car accident lawsuit, you’ll want to make sure you actually are experiencing pain and suffering from a legal perspective. Physical injuries qualify for pain and suffering damages, but in most cases, you’ll need hard evidence to prove your injury was serious. If you want to file a lawsuit after a car accident, you’ll need to make sure to save doctor’s reports, X-ray and MRI results, and any other medical documents that can help your case. You can also receive compensation for disfigurement, so if you’ve experienced severe scars, burns, or amputations, you’ll also have a strong case for a pain and suffering settlement. Additionally, you can also make a case for emotional distress and suffering, which can improve your overall settlement results.

How Much Can I Get for Pain and Suffering?

Every car insurance case is different, so there’s not one exact number that you can expect to get for pain and suffering. However, there are a few ways that pain and suffering settlements are calculated. The most common way to determine a settlement amount is to multiply the total of your medical bills and lost wages by a certain number, usually anywhere between two and five. For example, if you were to lose $5,000 in wages and you had medical bills totaling $8,000, you could multiply $13,000 by three to expect a total of $39,000 in damages. The multiplier will depend on the seriousness of the car accident. For example, if your accident was relatively minimal, you may only expect your total cost to be multiplied by two, but for an extremely serious accident, you can multiply the total by four or five.

Another way to calculate damages for pain and suffering is to assign a monetary value to every day that you feel the results of your accident. You may decide that your pain and suffering is worth $100 per day. This number is usually calculated partially based on your lost wages, as well as the severity of your injuries and how they affect your daily life. You will need to use sound reasoning when calculating your daily rate – you cannot choose a number arbitrarily.

How to Handle a Pain and Suffering Claim

There are certain things you should do in the process of your car accident case to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. The first thing you should do is find legal representation for your car accident settlement. It can be difficult to negotiate a settlement on your own, and claims adjusters are more likely to give a high settlement to someone who is working with a lawyer. Look for someone who has experience with car accident claims, particularly ones that are very similar to your situation. You need to be able to completely trust that your lawyer will be able to handle your claims. It’s important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident, so they can guide you through the entire process of documenting your claims.

How to Document Damage from the Accident

Right after the car accident, you should start documenting everything that happened. Write down your own personal account of what happened not only during the accident but afterward as well. If there were witnesses, ask them to write an account of the accident as well. You should also compile all of the medical reports associated with your accident, as well as the police report. After the accident, document how the injuries are affecting your life. How much time do you have to take off of work, and how much of your wages do you lose as a result? How does that affect your ability to take care of yourself and your family? You should also document mental and emotional consequences – do you need to pay to see a therapist? Are you struggling to get things done due to trauma? All of these are things that could bolster your settlement amount. The more documentation you have, the more likely you are to get a high paying settlement that will appropriately compensate you for what you have been through.

Good Supporting Documents to Have for Your Claim

  • Police reports from the car accident
  • Witness statements from the car accident
  • Photos of the car accident
  • Photos of your injuries
  • Notes from doctors detailing your injuries
  • Medical records from your doctor’s office
  • Receipts and bills from your doctor’s office
  • Receipts, bills, and explanation of benefits (EOBs) from your insurer

If one of your loved ones has been in a car accident and can’t document their injuries themselves, help them out by documenting their injuries and stress. You may be able to provide key witness testimony later on that will increase their settlement amount. Although car accidents are common, they can be incredibly debilitating, causing life-long injuries and emotional trauma that can affect your ability to live a full life. If you have been in a serious car accident that was not your fault, you likely have grounds to file a lawsuit.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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