Factors That Influence the Amount of Emotional Distress Compensation You Receive in Your Personal Injury Case
Compensation for your pain and suffering can be a large portion of the amount you're entitled to receive in your personal injury case. While your medical expenses and lost wages are easier to calculate because you have bills and paychecks to help set the amounts, damages for your physical and emotional trauma are much more challenging to determine. These damages are to compensate you for the intangible pain and emotional distress you suffered due to your injuries. Here, we discuss some of the factors that could influence the amount of compensation you receive for your pain and suffering.
Factors That Could Determine the Value of Your Pain and Suffering Compensation
A variety of methods may be used by an insurance adjuster and your attorney to put a dollar figure on your pain and suffering damages. Some insurance adjusters use a multiplier method where your emotional distress damages are determined by multiplying your actual damages—for example, medical expenses and lost wages—by a figure between 1.5 and 5. Other adjusters use a computer program that calculates this element of compensation based on certain information the adjuster inputs into the program. Others—and your attorney—will value this portion of your claim based on prior experience.
No matter what method is used, the following factors may influence the amount of your award:
- Severity of your injuries. If your injuries were more severe, with extensive medical treatments and changes to your life such as traumatic brain injury, paralysis, or serious back and spinal injuries; or you suffered permanent disfigurement or scarring, this could increase the amount of your pain and suffering award. In addition, your compensation could increase if your prognosis includes long-term medical treatments.
- Liability of the negligent party. If the negligent party’s liability for your injuries is clear, you could receive a larger settlement. If his liability is unclear or you could be found partially at fault for your injuries, you may have to be more realistic regarding what you're entitled to for your emotional distress damages.
- Your credibility. The insurance adjuster and your attorney will consider what could happen at trial if your case doesn't settle. If you'll be a credible, sympathetic witness, the jury is more likely to award you more compensation—which could increase the amount of your settlement.
- Your quality of life. When you can show that your injuries affected your ability to work and to engage in your hobbies, family activities, and your day-to-day activities, this could result in a greater pain and suffering award.
- Your attorney. Your attorney can also have a huge impact on the amount of emotional distress damages you receive. If he has a reputation for taking cases to trial when his clients don't receive fair settlement offers, you're more likely to receive a larger settlement for your pain and suffering—and be awarded more if you must go to trial.
I've been helping accident victims like you obtain the compensation they deserve—including for their physical and emotional trauma—for more than 30 years. Check out my testimonials for references from other clients and then call me at 888.716.8021 to schedule a free consultation.