Settlements for Pain and Suffering in Car Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 37,461 people died in car crashes in the U.S. last year. Thousands more sustained life-altering injuries. Some these victims were able to collect compensation for their economic losses. Yet, some of those involved in crashes could continue to suffer from the after-effects for years. Many victims undergo painful treatments or cope with disfigurements and disabilities. Sometimes they must come to terms with the loss of a loved one. These costs can take an extreme emotional toll on victims that is not always easy to figure out.
Colorado law permits victims to collect compensation for these types of intangible losses. An experienced car accident attorney can help injured parties collect compensation for damages.
In Colorado, accident victims can collect economic and non-economic damages. The economic damages account for monetary losses like medical bills and lost wages. Providing proof of these losses help collect compensation if they go to trial.
Going to court can be expensive and time-consuming. If both parties are amenable, coming to an out of court agreement is usually preferable. The same evidence of loss can be used during these negotiations to establish how much economic loss the injured party suffered.
In cases where one driver was at fault, the injured party can expect to collect what they would have collected in economic damages in court. When dealing with severe injuries, victims may be able to collect a larger sum to cover the cost of future medical bills and treatment.
Unlike their economic counterpart, Non-economic damages are much more difficult to calculate. They account for intangible losses. This refers to mental trauma resulting from the physical injuries. Some examples are anxiety, shock, mental anguish, and emotional distress.
Many courts also award non-economic damages for the following losses:
- Impairment of quality of life;
- Emotional stress; and
- Disfigurement or physical impairment.
It can be difficult to put a price on these types of losses. Insurers use different calculations in attempt to estimate the suffering during injury settlements.
Calculating Pain and Suffering
The first method used to calculate suffering is the multiplier method. Under this method, all economic losses sum up. Then they are multiplied by a second number between 1.5 and 5, this is the multiplier. Which number used as the multiplier depends on many factors, including:
- The severity of the victim’s injuries;
- The injured party’s prospects for a complete and speedy recovery;
- The victim’s official diagnosis;
- The impact of the injuries on the victim’s day to day life; and
- Whether the other party was at fault for the accident.
It is common for the parties to disagree on which multiplier to use to calculate pain and suffering. Representation from an attorney is crucial during this part of the settlement process. They are in the best position to use their negotiation skills to advocate on the injured party’s behalf.
Per Diem (Daily Rate Method)
The second approach to calculating suffering is the per diem, or daily rate method. This means the injured party demands a certain amount for every day that he or she must live with the pain. Insurers use the injured party’s daily earnings as a starting point to determine the daily rate to use. Insurers are less likely to use this method for parties suffering long-term disabilities. In these situations, hiring an attorney is imperative. The settlement will compare itself to similar verdicts and settlements in the area.
Regardless of the method used, having evidence in medical records is key to the victim’s success. Insurers award a higher settlement if they record their pain and discomfort. Furthermore, injured parties should not expect to settle for more than $250,000. This is the statutory cap for most cases that go to trial.
Call Today for Help with Your Car Accident Settlement Pain and Suffering
The compensation refers to both their economic and non-economic losses. Injured parties without an attorney can be taken advantage of. Insurers offer unfair compensation in hopes of pressuring the injured party into accepting. To ensure that this doesn’t happen to you, please contact the Law Office of Steve Roberts, LLC at (720) 515-7058. A member of our legal team will help you schedule a free consultation. You will talk to a compassionate car accident attorney to help protect your legal rights.