Calculating Pain and Suffering after a Virginia Personal Injury

Stephen M. Smith
Last Updated:
November 26, 2019

A car accident can ruin your quality of life. Even a wreck with minor injuries often involves time off work and discomfort. You can make a recovery for pain and suffering after a Virginia personal injury in certain circumstances.

People who end up hurt in a motor vehicle accident, a slip-and-fall, or another accident, often want to know how much their case will be worth if they file a lawsuit. There is no easy answer to this question. It’s relatively easy to work out lost wages, property damage, and medical bills and there are formulas for future losses. Calculating pain and suffering is a different matter.

Insurance companies and lawyers have formulas to pain and suffering but it’s also an abstract concept. If a case makes it to trial, the pain and suffering calculation is at the whim of the jury.

Our Hampton personal injury lawyers will certainly have an approximate idea of what your case is worth, depending on factors like the severity of the injuries, how long-lasting the damage is likely to be, and how the injury impacts your life.

Working out pain and suffering in a Virginia personal injury case is a complicated business. Fortunately, attorneys do this day-in, day-out. We will be able to tell you if an insurance company is offering you a fair deal.

Many insurance companies programs that put a value on pain and suffering shortchange people hurt in accidents and fail to address individual needs.

What is Pain and Suffering?

Pain from injuries like broken bones, cuts, burns, bruises, and sprains goes beyond the pain of the accident itself in the calculations.

You can make a recovery for the pain associated with the accident and pain associated with the treatment such as surgery and future pain.

Suffering includes physical and emotional consequences of a wreck or another accident such as sleeplessness and fatigue, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and stress-related disorders. Suffering can also include muscle pain, cognitive issues following a brain injury, and headaches.

Factors Used in Calculating Pain and Suffering in Virginia

Although there is no accepted method used by lawyers and insurers to calculate pain and suffering, one or two formulas is usually used.

The first is to multiply the injured party’s damages comprising medical bills and lost wages by a so-called “multiplier” between 1 and 5. More severe injuries are given higher numbers. If an accident victim’s medical bills were $5,000 and he suffered a reasonably serious injury like a fractured rib, the figure might be multiplied by three to arrive at a pain and suffering figure of $15,000.

The other method used attorneys and insurance companies is a per diem method (meaning “per day” in Latin). This method allocates a certain figure every day from the day of the accident until the victim recovers. This method is less effective for injuries that cause ongoing pain and suffering.

Insurance companies often take into account the kind of treatment a patient receives after an accident. They may take an injury that involves treatment by a specialist more seriously than one where you work with your general practitioner or a chiropractor.

How to Prove Pain and Suffering After a Virginia Accident

It’s important to keep as much documentation as possible to prove pain and suffering. Often insurance adjusters will dispute claims your depression, anxiety and other emotional disorders were caused by your injury.

Obtain statements from doctors, mental health professionals, and family members and friends about how your accident changed you.

You will need to obtain proof of treatment by mental health professionals for anxiety depression insomnia or another condition. In some cases, expert witnesses can be used in trials.

Hire a Virginia Injury Lawyer Experienced in Pain and Suffering

Accident victims regularly fail to secure what they deserve for their pain and suffering. It’s often a mistake to deal directly with an insurance company and accept the first offer you receive.

At the Smith Law Center, our trial lawyers fight hard to highlight the full extent of pain and suffering experienced by accident victims. We have represented people who suffered serious conditions like traumatic brain injuries in accidents. These are acute injuries which cause ongoing pain and suffering to the victims and affect your family life. If you were hurt in an accident due to the fault of another party, please contact the Smith Law Center as soon as possible at (757) 244-7000.

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About Smith Law Center

Our lawyers are more than lawyers. They are people who understand your injuries and the law that surrounds your options when it comes to holding others accountable.

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