There are two parts to every personal injury damage claim. The first claim for damages is for all the economic losses – the things that can be readily calculated. These include the doctor bills, costs for hospital surgeries, lost wages, property damage, and other items.
The second part is for none-economic damages – the pain and suffering claim. There is a formula (of sorts) for calculating the amount of physical pain and emotional suffering a car accident victim deserves, but that does not mean everyone with the same injury will get the same amount.
For example: let’s say that you are injured when another driver hits your car head-on. You sustained $100,000 in economic damages, between your medical bills, your property loss, and other tangible expenses. The insurance company then multiplies your losses by a number between 1 and 5, and determines how much they believe you should be offered. In most scenarios, that offer is 1 or 1.5, meaning you would be offered between $100,000 and $150,000 in damages.
However, your injury lawyer is very likely to use a different number. After all, he or she has seen your pain first-hand, and understand your struggles. Your lawyer might say the multiplier should be 4, putting your award at $400,000. From here, your attorney and the insurance company will negotiate to reach a settlement.
If you go to trial, the awards can be even more different. Juries can award widely different amounts for the same types of injuries. For example, one jury may offer $50,000 for someone who breaks their arm in a car accident while another jury may award $100,000 for a broken arm. They might decide you deserve far more than you asked for, and offer you damages above what your lawsuit seeks.
The one thing to keep in mind, however, is that while economic damages aren’t capped, non-economic damages are. Under Mississippi law, you cannot collect more than $1 million for your pain and suffering in an injury case. If your injuries were the result of medical malpractice, you are limited to $500,000.
How a skilled personal injury lawyer helps build the case for pain and suffering
The pain and suffering part of the accident claim is where skilled trial lawyers really earn their pay and help their clients. Some of the many factors that insurance adjustors and juries need to consider when deciding how much pain and suffering damages to award include the following:
- The types of doctors the car accident or other accident victim sees
- The number of visits to any type of health care provider
- The length of the treatments.
- The inability to do your job
- Any disfigurements such as amputation, scarring, or burns
- The need to hire caretakers or have family members assist the accident victim
- The loss of function of any body part
- The reports and testimony of the doctors
- Any changes in behavior
Many other factors that depend on the severity of the injuries. For example, car accident victims who suffer a traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury will experience pain for the rest of their lives. They may lose cognitive functions in addition to the loss of physical function.
Experienced attorneys understand how to document and present the pain and suffering factors. Often, the best testimony is to have the accident victim state to a jury exactly what hurts and the things they can’t do, that they did do before the accident. If you’ve been in a car accident, it helps to see an experienced Mississippi injury lawyer as soon as possible. At Merkel & Cocke, P.A. we’ve been fighting for injury victims since 1982. For help now, call us at 662-799-1633 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment at one of our offices in Jackson, Clarksdale, or Oxford.