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Can I Seek Compensation for Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident?

If you or somebody you love has sustained an injury caused by the actions of another driver in North Carolina, there is a good chance you will be able to recover compensation for your losses. When most people think of compensation for an injury claim, they think of receiving coverage of medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage bills. However, did you know that you can also recover compensation for various types of pain and suffering after a vehicle accident?

What is Pain and Suffering?

In the aftermath of a vehicle accident, most people think of relatively calculable expenses that victims incur, such as medical bills, lost income, and property damage expenses. However, there is an entirely separate set of non-economic damages that individuals also sustain that should be included in any eventual insurance settlement or jury verdict, and these are loosely referred to as pain and suffering damages.

Non-economic damages are different in that they are more immeasurable than economic expenses a person incurs. We say they are immeasurable because there are not necessarily any bills or receipts that come in that can be added together. These types of losses are, collectively, referred to as pain and suffering damages, but there are different types of non-economic damages you need to be aware of. This includes:

  • Physical pain and suffering a person experiences after a vehicle accident
  • Emotional and psychological distress at person experiences due to the vehicle accident
  • Scarring and disfigurement damages
  • Loss of quality of life damages
  • Loss of consortium or companionship for a spouse or family members

These types of losses may not be as visible as traumatic physical injuries after a vehicle accident, but they are very real. Car accident victims and their family members can both experience pain and suffering after these traumatic incidents.

How Much Compensation is Available?

There is no set amount of compensation available for non-economic damages, and it may seem like these are impossible to calculate. After all, we did mention that these are relatively immeasurable.

The good news is that there are various methods that attorneys can use to adequately calculate pain and suffering damages after an injury. The most common of these is a “multiplier method,” where an attorney will add up all of the economic expenses a person incurs and multiply this by a set number, usually a number ranging from 2 to 5. For example, let us suppose a person sustains $200,000 worth of medical bills and lost wages in a vehicle accident. A Raleigh car accident attorney could use a multiplier of “three” to reach a non-economic total of $600,000. Overall, the injury victim and their attorney would ask for $800,000 from the at-fault driver.

An alternative to the multiplier method is the “per diem” method. Per diem means per day, and this means that an attorney would assign a dollar value for each day that a person is expected to experience pain and suffering damages after a vehicle accident occurs. Let us suppose that an individual is expected to experience pain and suffering for one year after an accident, and an attorney assigns $300 to every day of pain and suffering. Overall, this would equate to $109,500 for a year of pain and suffering damages ($300 X 365).