The Law Badgers Understand Pain and Suffering Damages from car accidents
PHOENIX Pain and Suffering Damages, What are they?
So you got into a wreck caused by the negligence of another driver. Your car is tweaked. You have medical bills. You’ve lost work and income. You have been experiencing Phoenix Pain and Suffering. You are entitled to be compensated for the damage to your car, including its diminished value (covered in a previous Badger Blog post). You are entitled to compensation for your medical bills and lost income. These are easy to calculate. It’s a precise number.
You may also be entitled to compensation for categories of damages that are not so easily calculable. One of these is the “pain, discomfort, suffering, disability, disfigurement, and anxiety already experienced, and reasonably likely to be experienced in the future as a result of the injury.” Revised Arizona Jury Instructions (Civil) 6th Edition, Personal Injury Damages 1, Measure of Damages.
In the legal profession, we refer to these in shorthand as “pain and suffering” damages.
How do you calculate damages for pain and suffering? There really is no way to “calculate” them. You don’t have an invoice, such as for medical bills or repairs to your car. But you have experienced real pain, discomfort, etc. as a result of the collision.
The appropriate amount for these types of damages is whatever you and the negligent driver (or more likely his/her insurance carrier) are able to agree upon in settlement discussions. If agreement is reached, then the number will likely be somewhat less that you really wanted, but hopefully substantially more than the other side wanted to pay. Of course, you don’t have to settle. In that case, a jury or a judge (if you so choose) will decide the appropriate award for pain and suffering damages.
Some factor to consider in deciding how much pain and suffering damages are worth include:
- The severity of the injury/injuries.
- The extent of treatment received and to be received in the future.
- The invasive and potentially painful nature of treatment, for example, surgery.
- The extent and likely permanence of disfigurement and or scarring.
- The anxiety associated with pain, potentially dangerous and painful future treatment such as surgery, the loss of mobility and potential income.
These are not all of the factors that may be present in your case. Every case is different. Your injuries and course of treatment and recovery are not exactly the same as anyone else’s. So be careful of lawyers who say they can tell you up front what your case is worth. These may be lawyers who base their valuation on past settlements with insurance companies.
But you don’t have to accept a lowball settlement offer from an insurance company just because a lawyer tells you that’s the most he can get from them. You are entitled to have a jury decide your damages, and that greatly increases the risk to the insurance company. The greater the risk to them, the more they are willing to pay. Dirty little secret: there are many personal injury attorneys who have never tried a case. Never. Many are not willing to go to trial. They just want to settle every case, take their cut and move on. T/he insurance companies knows who these lawyers are, and are going to be inclined to lowball every time.
Bottom line, if you really want to maximize your potential recovery, you should go with a lawyer who has trial experience, and is not afraid to try cases.
EVERY attorney at The Law Badgers has gone to trial and won.
Ask any lawyer you are considering for your case about their trial experience. The insurance companies know them as well.
Learn More about our Phoenix Arizona Car Accidents Practice HERE