How to Calculate Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident
It was an ordinary day. You were driving to work, picking up the kids, running errands—until a car struck you. Your ordinary day took a sharp left turn, and now you’re struggling to pick up the pieces after a major injury.
Part of the legal process for personal injury cases is knowing how to calculate pain and suffering. For car accidents, especially in a no-fault state like Michigan, this can be a bit tricky.
If you’re considering working with an auto accident attorney to help in the recovery process, here’s what you need to know about calculating pain and suffering.
What is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering refers to the physical and mental anguish following an injury, in this case a car accident. Most people think of physical pain when they think of car accident injuries, but pain and suffering also includes psychological and emotional pain and trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
As such, pain and suffering includes a wide variety of injuries and ailments, including:
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue damage
- Muscle tears, strains, and sprains
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Injuries can qualify as part of a personal injury claim if they are directly caused by your car accident and if they have a detrimental effect on your quality of life, including your ability to perform your job.
Who is Entitled to Pain and Suffering?
Auto accident claims are somewhat complicated by the fact that Michigan is a no-fault state.
The point of no-fault laws is to limit the number of small-claims lawsuits passing through the system. Both sides are entitled to benefits from their insurance companies regardless of who caused the crash, but both sides are not entitled to pain and suffering compensation, which is entirely separate from standard no-fault insurance benefits.
How to Calculate Pain and Suffering
For Michigan auto accident cases, you must prove a certain threshold: serious impairment of an important bodily function. This is what’s known as a threshold injury.
Under Michigan law, serious impairment of an important bodily function is understood as an impairment that meets all of the following criteria:
- Objectively manifested, i.e. observable from actual conditions or symptoms by someone other than the injured person
- An impairment of a bodily function of great significance, value, or consequence to the injured person
- An impairment that affects the injured person’s ability to live their normal life (temporal conditions may be relevant, but there is no temporal requirement for how long a person’s injury must last)
Here’s the catch: there is no hard and fast rule for how to calculate pain and suffering damages. Each case is unique, which means each case will rely on a different set of calculations. As such, the amount each person can get for their pain and suffering case is different.
However, there are certain factors that will change how much your case is worth. These include:
- Nature and severity of the injury
- Your age
- Negative effects on physical capabilities
- Negative effects on emotional wellbeing
- Negative effects on social relationships
- Duration and severity of your pain
Unfortunately, pain and suffering injuries, especially psychological and emotional injuries, can be difficult to prove because they’re often invisible. That’s why it’s vital to get a lawyer with extensive experience getting results for pain and suffering clients.
Take Charge of Your Case
Knowing how to calculate pain and suffering after a car accident is more than crunching numbers, and arguing pain and suffering to your insurance company is not for the faint of heart.
But when your accident has derailed the way you live your life, you shouldn’t have to worry about your insurance company. You should be able to focus on what matters most: recovering and moving on with your life.
The attorneys at Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients because we embrace conflict, learn the facts and fight hard to succeed. We’ve won millions for families just like you, and we know what it takes to get the results you deserve. If you need to speak with an attorney to figure out what to do next, schedule your free consultation today.