How Do I Prove Pain and Suffering in a Car Crash Injury Case?
If you are seeking compensation for an injury you sustained in a car accident, proving tangible consequences like medical bills and property damage (economic damages) are relatively straight-forward. On the other hand, pain and suffering (non-economic damages) are much more challenging to calculate.
Working with an experienced Florida car injury attorney will help you reach a settlement offer that reflects your physical pain, mental anguish, and other elements of pain and suffering.
What Pain and Suffering Include
Generally, damages in car accident cases are split between two categories: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages include any accident-related costs you can quantify, like hospitalization and rehabilitation costs, past and future lost wages, and damage to your vehicle.
In contrast, noneconomic damages are any accident consequences on which you can’t easily place a price tag, such as:
- Acute and chronic physical pain
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional trauma
- Impairment in day-to-day function
- Reduced quality of life
- Impact on family relationships
Proving Pain and Suffering
Contrary to clear-cut damages like medical costs, pain and suffering can be subjective. You know your accident had a devastating effect on your life, but how do you prove and quantify it?
As a rule, insurance companies will always downplay the extent of accident-related damages and try to pay you as little as possible. That’s why you need a skilled Florida car injury attorney who knows how to negotiate with insurers and is ready to take your case to court if settlement negotiations fall through.
The following steps will help you and your attorney build a compelling car accident case.
Keep a detailed record of every effect the accident had on your life, such as:
- Inability to engage in sports or meaningful activities you used to enjoy
- Avoiding or limiting activities you were passionate about
- Hiring people to perform activities you previously did on own (i.e cleaning company, gardening)
- Changes in your interactions with people, including colleagues, friends, and family
- Anxiety, depression, traumatic flashbacks, and difficulty sleeping
Save every piece of evidence that could back your claim, including:
- Medical records
- Psychiatric evaluations
- Statements by other mental health professionals
- Photo and video evidence of your injuries
You should seek medical care as soon as possible after your accident, both for your safety and to ensure you have timely, detailed records. A psychiatrist or another mental health professional may confirm your condition (like anxiety or PTSD) is a direct outcome of the accident. Your Florida car injury attorney may also recommend seeking expert witness testimony to support your claim.
Stay Off Social Media
Be careful with what you post on social media during your car accident case. Insurance companies can use seemingly innocent content to try and prove your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim. It’s safest to stay off / limit social media while settlement negotiations are underway.
Pain and Suffering in Your Car Accident Settlement
In car accidents that cause serious and/or long-term injuries, settlements incorporate pain and suffering using what’s known as the multiplier method. One basic formula is [Total Economic Damages] X [Pain and Suffering Multiplier] = [Final Settlement].
The multiplier ranges from .5 to 5. For example, if your total economic damages are $50,000 and the multiplier is 3, your final payout will be $150,000. The more serious your injury is, the higher the multiplier will likely be. This is not a tried and true method, but just a guide to consider.
Lyons & Snyder: Your Auto Accident Lawyers in Coral Springs and Parkland, FL
Did you suffer a vehicle accident in South Florida? Contact our law firm for reliable, assertive representation throughout your car accident case. Our award-winning personal injury lawyers have won tens of millions of dollars on behalf of accident victims and their families.