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Pain and suffering are an important part of your damages award in a personal injury case – something that the insurance company is not likely to tell you before your attorney gets involved in your case.
The at-fault party must compensate you for the financial losses you have suffered – your medical bills, the damage to your vehicle, and your lost wages as you recovered from your injuries. None of this accounts for the suffering you endured, however, in the traumatic moment of a car crash or the weeks or months you spent dealing with the pain of your injuries.
In this article, we will review the basics of pain and suffering damages in SC personal injury cases, including:
“Pain and suffering” is a non-economic form of damages (it isn’t easily documented with a bill, invoice, or receipt) that, literally, compensates you for the pain and the suffering that you experience both during the accident and as a result of your injuries caused by the accident.
The SC Supreme Court has defined pain and suffering as: “an award for pain and suffering compensates the injured person for the physical discomfort and the emotional response to the sensation of pain caused by the injury itself.”
Depending on the nature of the accident and the injuries that you suffered, pain and suffering may provide compensation for:
No invoice, receipt, or bill quantifies your loss when it comes to pain and suffering, but you must still prove this element of damages to get compensation from the insurance company or a jury.
Your attorney will gather documentation and witness testimony to prove your pain and suffering damages, which may include:
How do you calculate the amount of damages you are owed for your pain and suffering?
I’ve heard people say, “you double the amount of compensatory damages,” or “triple the amount of compensatory damages.” This is wrong because there is no hard-and-fast rule on what the multiplier should be.
Although the amount of your compensatory damages – medical bills, property damage, and other financial losses – can be an indicator of your pain and suffering award, the amount of damages you are owed for pain and suffering depends on how much pain you experienced and how much you suffered as a result of the accident.
For example, if you suffered extensive nerve damage as a result of the accident, and it will cause you pain for the rest of your life, your pain and suffering award will be significantly higher than it would if you suffered a broken arm that healed normally.
Insurance companies or your attorney may use the “multiplier method” to arrive at a number for your pain and suffering damages.
This method involves taking your total medical bills and multiplying them by a number between one and a half to five, with the multiplier increasing based on factors like:
Another less commonly used method is to calculate the value of your pain and suffering damages on a “per day” basis.
What is the full and fair value of compensation for each day that you must suffer with the pain of your injuries? Relentless pain from nerve damage? PTSD and sleepless nights? A leg that was shattered in 20 places?
Pain and suffering is not the only type of non-economic damages that you may be entitled to. Other types of damages that cannot be quantified with documents like invoices or bills may include:
If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, make sure you know the types of damages that you are entitled to receive, and schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer on the Axelrod team. Call us at 843-916-9300 or fill out our contact form today.
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