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What Does “Pain and Suffering” Mean?

Posted on in Car Accidents

pain and suffering, San Jose Auto Accident LawyerAfter you have been injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to collect damages. While the amount of damages for your out-of-pocket medical expenses may be easy to calculate, how do you calculate the damages for your pain and suffering? What is pain and suffering under California law?

How the Law Views Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering, as a principle of law, is also sometimes referred to as general damages or non-economic damages. California law allows for you to be compensated for the physical and emotional discomfort, inconvenience, and negative effects that a physical injury has on your life.

For example, if you were an avid skier before your car accident, but, because of your injuries, you had to miss an entire ski season, that effect on your lifestyle may be considered a type of pain and suffering. If you also had nightmares for months about the accident, you may be entitled to pain and suffering damages. However, pain and suffering can be as simple as having to endure the pain your injuries cause you as you recover.

Calculating Pain and Suffering

Unlike economic damages, which can easily be computed, compensation for pain and suffering is more subjective. While it seems clear that the worse your pain and suffering are the more you should be able to collect in damages, things are not that straightforward.

When dealing with an insurance company, a lawyer must analyze a personal injury case from the perspective of what a jury would likely award if a case went to trial. The insurance company is undertaking the same analysis. Juries will often need substantial proof before awarding significant sums for pain and suffering. Juries are also more likely to award pain and suffering damages when the physical injuries are more severe.

One way some insurance companies calculate what they are willing to pay for pain and suffering is to add up all of the economic damages and multiply those damages by a factor between 1.5 and 5 to calculate pain and suffering. Other companies use what is called a per diem rate. This means the company assigns a dollar amount per day that you suffered from your injuries and simply adds up the number days multiplied by the daily rate. 

If you were injured in a car accident, you need to speak with an experienced San Jose personal injury lawyer right away. Call the Law Office of John J. Garvey, III today at 408-293-7777 to schedule a consultation and have your case evaluated. You may only have a short time to make your claim.

 

Sources: 

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=civ&group=03001-04000&file=3333-3343.7

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