How is Pain and Suffering Calculated in a Car Accident Injury Claim in Virginia?

When you have been injured in a car accident that was caused by the negligence of another person, you can seek compensation to offset the effects of the accident. This includes losses that are fairly easy to quantify such as medical expenses and lost wages. It also includes future anticipated needs which are a little more challenging to calculate, but still based on an economic scale. Your attorney can estimate how much you might need to pay for future medical care and how much your injuries might diminish your future earning capacity.

But how do you calculate the value of your pain, suffering, and other intangible losses? How do you put a price on suffering or determine the value of lost opportunities in your future? This is where the experience and skill of an attorney really comes into play. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer will know how to justify the maximum compensation for these noneconomic losses. While no amount of money can erase your pain and heartache, a significant financial recovery provides a sense of justice and it can also provide resources for many future needs for yourself and your family.

Types of Intangible Damages

Damages for “pain and suffering” are just one type of compensation you could receive for noneconomic effects of your injuries. Often, the award allotted for noneconomic harm is far greater than the award provided for losses with a direct economic cost such as lost wages or medical bills. This is why calculating the value of pain, suffering, and other intangible losses is so important.

What other types of intangible losses can you receive compensation for? Depending on the situation, you might receive compensation for:

  • Emotional distress. This involves the psychological effects from the accident such as fear and anxiety.
  • Mental anguish. This includes emotional pain such as depression or PTSD.
  • Disfigurement. If the accident caused visible scarring or other disfigurement, you can receive compensation for the effects.
  • Loss of enjoyment. If the accident caused you to lose your enjoyment of travel or something broader, such as your ability to enjoy daily life, you can receive damages to offset the loss.
  • Loss of consortium. If a spouse is no longer able to enjoy your company because you are suffering the effects of the accident, they may be compensated for that.
  • Inconvenience. The time spent recovering and the efforts you must make to deal with the effects of the accident and your injuries is also worth something.

Sometimes, people lump all of the intangible factors together and refer to them all as “pain and suffering.” But to get the most from your claim, it makes sense to break down each factor and consider the many ways the accident has impacted your life. You can receive compensation for short-term suffering that eventually passes and the long-term effects you are likely to endure in the future.

Is There a Formula for Calculating Damages for Pain and Suffering?

The laws and courts in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. allow accident victims to recover compensation for pain and suffering, as well as other intangible losses, but they do not have a formula for establishing a value for these losses. In some cases, the law establishes a cap on noneconomic damages. 

Just as with economic losses such as medical expenses, you are more likely to recover damages when you have evidence to demonstrate the extent of your losses. If you have a journal showing how the injuries affected your life on a daily basis, that can be very powerful. Statements from witnesses about how your life has changed since the accident can also demonstrate the harm you have suffered.

Your attorney might compare your specific losses with those in other cases to argue that legal precedent sets a value for each type of intangible loss. Insurance companies often try to use the “multiplier method” where they simply take your proven economic losses and use those as a basis to establish your intangible losses. But an injury with a small medical bill, such as a disfiguring scar that cannot be repaired through surgery, might have only a small medical bill but cost you untold amounts in anguish for the rest of your life.

At Jennifer Porter Law, PLLC, we look at the totality of injury effects and how they will impact your life in the days and years ahead. We consider every aspect that contributes to your suffering. And then we ensure that the insurance company and the court understand the impact of these factors as well.

Jennifer Porter Law, PLLC Fights for Maximum Recovery for Pain and Suffering

Most damages for pain and suffering are settled with auto insurance companies out of court. Because our team has extensive experience working for insurance companies, we know the arguments and evidence that are most effective in obtaining the right damage awards for our clients without the delays of litigation. However, we are always prepared to fight for the right result in court if necessary.

If you have questions about the damages for pain, suffering, and other intangible losses that may be available in your case, call us today for a free consultation and case evaluation.