Can you put a price on pain? If so, who pays the price? After a wreck in Tampa, personal injury protection (PIP) insurance will cover at least part of your real monetary losses. However, it won’t cover your physical pain, mental anguish, and other losses that have nothing to do with money.
What Is “Pain and Suffering”?
Pain and suffering fall under the category of “noneconomic” or “general” damages. They are considered noneconomic because they don’t have anything to do with the real money you lost. They are also called “general” because just about everyone who suffers an injury in a wreck suffers these types of losses to some degree.
However, because pain and suffering (and other noneconomic damages) have nothing to do with money, they can be extremely difficult to calculate. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced attorney who can help you get the full compensation you deserve.
At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, our attorneys have over 20 years of experience helping our clients win their car accident cases. In fact, we have recovered over $1 BILLION on behalf of our clients. Give us a call today at (800) 316-8514 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation with a Tampa car accident lawyer.
How Pain and Suffering Is Calculated
Before we talk about pain and suffering, we have to first discuss economic, or special, damages. This type of compensation is intended to help you recover money you lost as a result of your Tampa car accident. If you have less than $10,000 in total economic losses, such as medical bills and lost wages, your losses will be partially covered by PIP.
However, if damages exceed $10,000, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover other losses. These excess damages are typically easy to calculate. They include but are not limited to:
- Past medical bills and estimated future medical costs
- Past and future lost wages, including time missed from work for doctor visits
- Property damage
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
Each of these losses can be assigned a real dollar value. However, noneconomic damages can’t easily be given a dollar amount. After all, a week of missed work may mean $1,000 in lost wages, but how much are years of elbow pain worth?
Instead of trying to tack a dollar amount onto pain and suffering, judges, insurance companies and lawyers use a multiplier on economic damages. This multiplier typically ranges from 1.5 to five. The greater your pain and suffering, the higher the multiplier.
There are a variety of factors that can affect the general damages multiplier in your case, including:
- Your injury’s interference with your daily life, including enjoyment of life
- Loss of ability to earn money
- The extent of the injury
- The mental anguish you suffered
- How long your injuries will impact your life
- Whether or not you’ll make a full recovery
Pain and Suffering: An Example
John Smith is driving down Interstate 275 in his sedan, heading to work at Busch Gardens on a bright Saturday morning. Traffic stops in front of him on the highway, so John stops as well. However, the large pickup truck behind John doesn’t see traffic stop and slams into the back of John’s car.
The impact sends John through the guard railing and into the ditch on the side of the road. When paramedics arrive, he is unconscious and has several broken bones in his arm, as well as broken ribs that punctured his lungs. He’s rushed to the emergency room, where he is diagnosed with a severe traumatic brain injury, as well as other major injuries.
John ends up missing several weeks of work, during which his role is filled, leaving him out of a job. He also endures several weeks of painful rehabilitation, and his doctors say he will never fully recover from the traumatic brain injury. He also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and loses all enjoyment in life.
Between medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and other economic losses, John’s Tampa car accident lawyer calculates his economic damages at $500,000. His lawyer also claims that the multiplier should be set at five, since the accident completely disrupted his life, will have long-term effects, and he will never fully recover.
During negotiations, the insurance company pushes back and says the multiplier should be set at four. John’s lawyer and the insurance company compromise at 4.5. In total, John’s attorney wins $2.25 million.
Of course, this is a theoretical scenario that may or may not match any car accident that has ever happened or will ever happen. If you have been in a car accident, an experienced lawyer can help you determine how much you may be owed in economic and noneconomic damages.
Get the Help You Deserve from a Dedicated Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
No two car accidents are the same. In fact, identical accidents could happen in the same location and cause radically different losses. At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, we have represented thousands of car accident victims, and have won the compensation they deserve. We know how to negotiate with the insurance company and, when they won’t budge, take them on in court.
With over 20 years of experience, we know exactly what it takes to get you the compensation you deserve. Give us a call today at (800) 316-8514 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation with a Tampa car accident lawyer.