Often the most important element of a personal injury claim are the general damages allowed for “pain and suffering” that make the claimant financially whole after the case is settled. But, what exactly is pain and suffering? According to the courts, pain and suffering can come in a variety of forms. Some forms are physical and some are mental or emotional. The problem with determining general damages for pain and suffering is that it can be very difficult to assign an equitable dollar amount to the issues that claimants will experience in the future. Just as with specific damages that may be stated in exact dollar amounts, general damage claims must have some form of evidence even though there is no direct financial number assigned to the issue. This typically comes in the form of prognosis testimony or deposition from a treating physician.
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Evaluating painPain is first and foremost associated with physical trauma following an accident. The scope of injuries can matter, as each injury has a pain factor unto itself. Many accident victims experience multiple injuries in an accident, and pain evaluation can be compounded when personal injury lawyers are determining financial compensation. This can also apply to emotional issues and trauma derived from dealing with the injuries throughout rehabilitation if they can be repaired at all. Some injuries are permanent, which would require extended damage evaluation for a settlement.

Evaluating Suffering

Evaluating suffering can be the most challenging element of any injury claim. Some injuries will heal to former strength while others can result in permanent disability. The ongoing suffering for those seriously or even catastrophically injured will last a lifetime. The problem when permanency is the ultimate determination is then evaluating how much liability insurance coverage the negligent party actually carries on their auto policy. It is easy to reach the maximum amount even with medical bill compensation in the contemporary medical treatment industry, and permanent suffering can easily maximize any injury claim. This is usually accomplished by indexing the pain level first for each injury and then add the ongoing time factor.

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Determining Commensurate Payment

Personal injury lawyers deal with accident claims on a daily basis and have a professional understanding of how to arrive at a proper dollar amount for pain and suffering compensation. There are generally two methods of reaching this financial number. One method is the multiplier method, and the other is a per diem daily assessment of personal difficulties. The multiplier method is most common. Personal injury lawyers and insurance adjusters find a common ground regarding what number is to be used on a scale of 1 to 5. The amount of pain associated with the particular injuries and the estimated recovery time for each usually determines the factor. The total amount of special damages for medical bills is used as the baseline to be multiplied. The daily allowance method is used in some cases, but it can be more challenging when arriving at a valuation and ongoing time assessment. This is the area where personal injury lawyers work most diligently for their clients because they know the general damages for pain and suffering are actually the most valuable component of a claim.

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Determining proper compensation for pain and suffering is easily the most elusive element of any injury claim. Insurance adjusters always want to minimize these damage payouts, and they are often not even included when an insurance company submits a quick offer to settle a case because they know an attorney will focus specifically on this financial recovery. A novice injured claimant is never a match for a trained insurance adjuster when discussing pain and suffering damages, and especially regarding ongoing emotional stress due to the injuries. Contact our personal injury law firm and let us put our legal experience to work for you and your general damages claim.

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