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A Car Accident Attorney Philadelphia Discusses Pain and Suffering

Anthony J. Caiazzo April 3, 2022

When representing a client in a personal injury action, a car accident attorney Philadelphia takes account of pain and suffering when assessing the non-economic losses experienced as the result of an automobile accident. The term “pain and suffering” encompasses physical pain, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and damage to relationships.

Examples of Pain and Suffering Claims

Say a swimming enthusiast who has been rigorously training for an important meet is seriously injured in a car accident. His injuries heal but he is unable to participate in his favorite pastime or enjoy his chosen form of exercise. As a result, he gains weight, loses self-esteem, and becomes depressed. He may be awarded financial compensation for pain and suffering.

Calculating Pain and Suffering

Apart from apportioning fault, quantifying pain and suffering is the most controversial aspect of a personal injury claim. Pain and suffering are intangible. There are no hard numbers for guidance, like with medical expenses or lost wages. This is one reason why you should consult a car accident attorney Philadelphia. Courts use a combination of other factors to determine how the victim has been affected:

  • Extent of the injury

  • Effect on day-to-day activities

  • Effect on enjoyment of life

  • Length of recovery time

  • What was involved in the treatment and recovery process

  • Presence of emotional trauma

  • Permanent or residual effects

  • Likely future pain and suffering

The Multiplier Method

This is the most common approach. Insurance companies will sometimes use a multiple of the plaintiff’s medical expenses, usually between 1.5 and 4 times, as the starting figure for negotiating an award for pain and suffering. This figure, plus economic damages, is the starting point for negotiating a final settlement. The magnitude of the multiplier is the polarizing factor in negotiating pain and suffering. You, the injured party, will aim for a high multiplier, while the defense will argue for a low multiplier. In the end, it will be influenced by the severity of your injuries, your anticipated time to recovery, how seriously your injuries impact your daily life, and whether or not the other party was wholly at fault for the accident. Your car accident attorney Philadelphia can guide you in these negotiations. Your injury lawyer Philadelphia may even do the hard core negotiating on your behalf. Maximum multipliers are applied when:

  • The other party is obviously 100% accountable for the accident.

  • Your injuries are unarguably dramatic and painful, such as fractures, wounds, tears, and irreparable displacements.

  • The consequences are permanent, and you are left with lifelong pain, weakness, loss of mobility or scarring. This must be amply documented. Ask your injury lawyer Philadelphia for advice on how to assemble your supporting paperwork.

  • Recovery is expected to take six months or longer.

  • Diagnosis and treatment take place mainly in hospitals.

The Per Diem Method

“Per diem” is simply the Latin translation of “per day.” Here, your daily income is multiplied by the number of days you have suffered as the result of your injuries. For example, you received treatment in the form of medication and physiotherapy for two months and experienced a further three months of pain and discomfort. Your salary per day comes to $200. Multiply $200 by 250 days to reach a settlement figure of $50,000. The per diem method is more difficult when you have long-term or permanent injuries. This is where you really need the help of a car accident attorney Philadelphia. His or her firm may have access to costly databases that contain details of similar cases in your jurisdiction. This information can be accessed to help determine a suitable per diem rate.

Convincing the Jury

In Pennsylvania, judges let juries decide the amount of damages award for pain and suffering. Being human, they may be influenced by your behavior in court. Are you likable and credible? Do the doctors’ testimonies back up your claims? You should keep your testimony consistent. Also, this is not the time to be strong and silent. You need to demonstrate to the jury that you are suffering, without going overboard and hamming it up. Your injury lawyer Philadelphia is a good person to coach you on developing your courtroom persona.

Substantiating Your Claim

Your injury lawyer Philadelphia will probably explain to you that claims are not valid unless they are supported by paperwork. He or she will work with you to assemble the necessary documentation to enable the insurance company settle for the highest possible amount. If an out-of-court settlement cannot be reached, you will need to compile the necessary evidence for them to prove your claim in court. One of the most important facets of a plaintiff’s behavior, as far as the jury is concerned, is whether you are telling the truth. If the jury perceives you as a liar, no matter how small the detail you are lying about, they will be unlikely to support you.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney Philadelphia

Calculating the right amount of damages to seek for pain and suffering is a minefield. If you are left with physical and emotional consequences of an accident where someone else was negligent, you should consider seeking the services of a suitably qualified personal injury lawyer to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. If you have been in a car accident and you experience pain and suffering, contact Caiazzo Law, car accident attorney Philadelphia.