How much insurance companies pay for pain and suffering depends on many factors because there is not a standard method of calculating this non-economic compensation. Many insurance companies use computer programs to do their calculations. As a result, those payments can vary widely based on each case and the insurance company.
How much insurance companies will pay for pain and suffering can be an essential part of seeking compensation for your injuries. If you suffered harm because of someone else’s negligence, you could file a personal injury claim against their insurance company if they have a personal injury insurance policy or a lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries.
Pain and Suffering Damages Insurance Settlement Factors
The Northwestern University School of Law researched how to determine pain and suffering compensation and found several factors figured into the final payout amount. This is especially true when insurance companies are involved. Some of the factors include:
- Cost algorithm: Insurance companies have a method for calculating the payout for pain and suffering, typically using a computer program that differs with each company.
- Pain and suffering policies: There is no requirement for insurance companies to offer policies regarding pain and suffering. However, if a person takes out a pain and suffering policy, it can determine how much to pay.
- The severity of injuries: The calculation of how much to pay for pain and suffering can change based on the severity of the injuries. Injuries that are more severe or have a bigger impact can increase the payment.
- Types of injuries: The type of injury can affect the determination if the policy explicitly covers that injury.
- Medical treatment needed: Insurance companies also consider the type of medical treatment required by a victim. More expensive or long-lasting treatments may see a bigger payout.
- Local laws: Every state handles pain and suffering differently in its statutes. Some states prohibit civil lawsuits for personal injury cases like car accidents. Other states mandate a specific amount that the damages must reach before you can file a claim.
This list does not cover every factor related to calculating insurance payments for pain and suffering. If you have questions about filing a personal injury case, you might want to consult an attorney or legal representative first. They can answer many of these questions specific to where your case originates.
Do Insurance Companies Offer Pain and Suffering?
Insurance companies will typically offer compensation for pain and suffering damages. Your personal injury attorney will work with insurers to negotiate a fair amount. Some states have caps on pain and suffering damages. Here are some examples of the different laws:
- Pain and suffering damages in Florida: Florida has a $500,000 cap on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.
- Pain and suffering damages in Texas: Texas has a $250,000 cap on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.
- Pain and suffering damages in Hawaii: In Hawaii, there is a $375,000 damage cap in most personal injury cases.
- Pain and suffering damages in Colorado: If you have a product liability case in Colorado, the non-economic damages will be capped at $613,760, but this can be increased to as much as $1,227,530 by the court in some circumstances.
As you can see, there are many different variations of pain and suffering damage caps depending on where you live and what kind of personal injury claim you have filed. A personal injury lawyer from Pintas & Mullins can explain the laws in your state.
One reason why many accident victims concern themselves with how much insurance companies pay for pain and suffering is that they have a lot of expenses resulting from the accident. After suffering an accident and landing in the hospital, medical bills and property damages can become expensive, and you might have missed time at work recovering from your injuries.
Pain and suffering insurance can help cover these costs if the payout is high enough. Fortunately, other types of damage claims can cover many of these costs. You might receive an additional payout for these areas on top of the pain and suffering payout, which can help you get all your expenses covered regardless of what they are.
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Power of Negotiation When Calculating Pain and Suffering
One aspect of the settlement process that most people do not consider is negotiation. When insurance companies offer you a settlement offer as a payout for the insurance claim, it is not final. It is up to you if you will accept the offer. This is your chance to negotiate a better offer.
How Do Insurance Companies Calculate Pain and Suffering?
If you are wondering how to get pain and suffering from a car accident or other injury claim, these damages are calculated by using one of two methods: the per diem, or per day, method, or the multiplier method.
Per Diem Method
Per diem means “per day.” Using this method, your total economic damages such as medical bills and lost wages will be totaled and given a daily value. Your pain and suffering damages will be based on this amount.
The multiplier method involves assigning a number between one and five to your non-economic damages. This figure will be based on the severity of your injuries. More severe injuries will warrant a higher number. Your total pain and suffering damages will be your economic damages multiplied by this number.
Why You Shouldn’t Accept the First Offer
In most cases, the insurance company will make you a first offer lower than what you could expect to recover if you negotiated. It makes this offer because they hope to minimize the amount that they pay out. You do not have to accept this offer. You can negotiate for a better deal. At this point, many victims seek assistance from a personal injury lawyer to ensure that they get a good deal.
Negotiating is one of the most successful ways of increasing your payout. It can also prove crucial for covering your financial costs. The insurance company usually offers the payout as a single payment with itemized amounts listed for each category, including pain and suffering. You can renegotiate any itemized portion of the agreement or the entire thing.
To give yourself leverage, begin collecting evidence early from those around you, your care providers, and any other sources that you need. This evidence will help you improve your negotiating position with the insurance company. It is in the insurance company’s best interest to reach a settlement offer since going to trial could significantly increase the amount that it must pay.
Is Pain and Suffering Separate from Medical Bills?
Pain and suffering damages are separate from your medical bills, but it will be calculated, in part, on the amount of your bills. This type of non-economic damage is based on the total amount of your economic damages, which is to say the damages you have physical bills and receipts for.
The higher your economic damages are, the higher your pain and suffering damages will be. Follow this link to learn more about what qualifies as pain and suffering.
How Much Money Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering?
So how much do you get for pain and suffering? How much money you can get for pain and suffering damages in a lawsuit will depend on the specific details of your case. There is no “average” because every personal injury claim is different. Your personal injury attorney will go over your damages and give you an estimate for how much you may be able to claim for pain and suffering.
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If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence and need to file a personal injury lawsuit, you might want to consult a lawyer for guidance. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we work with people who need civil legal assistance every day. Contact us at (800) 223-5115 for a free case review with a member of our team.