Pain and suffering is determined in a car accident by reviewing the injured claimants’ injuries, missed time from work, financial losses, and other related hardships. Indiana does not cap how much injured claimants can seek for pain and suffering following collisions.
To pursue what you deserve, you should consider partnering with a car accident lawyer. They can pursue compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, and other related expenses.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is a non-economic damage that accounts for your physical pain and emotional suffering. Its value varies from person to person. Insurance claims generally don’t cover pain and suffering. However, you can request compensation for this expense through a civil lawsuit.
Here are some ways you could assert what you deserve for pain and suffering:
- You might testify about what you went through as a result of your injuries. For example, if you lost a limb, you may express how the missing limb made it harder to complete daily tasks or enjoy hobbies. You may also suffer insomnia as a result of trauma.
- Loved ones, friends, and co-workers could provide personal testimonies of the car accident’s physical and emotional impact on you.
- If a certified mental health expert oversees your mental recovery, they can give their own official opinion on your psychological state. For instance, you might have exhibited signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the accident.
- Your physician can also report on the various medical procedures and prescription medications you had to take because of your injuries.
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Is There a Formula for Calculating Pain and Suffering?
Indiana currently does not have a specific law on how courts calculate pain and suffering. One common way of determining pain and suffering is through the multiplier method. In this formula, your total financial damages are multiplied by a certain value depending on your injury’s severity—usually between 1.5 to five.
To illustrate, consider this scenario:
- You suffered a serious collision where your damages totaled $100,000.
- The court decides that based on your condition’s severity, it will award pain and suffering.
- It multiplies the $100,000 by three, which equals $300,000.
- If the court decides to award pain and suffering, you could receive $300,000 for that expense––in addition to what you need to pay for your financial losses.
There are other methods used to calculate pain and suffering. For instance, in the per diem method, the courts may consider your missed time from work to determine what you’re owed. When you partner with a lawyer, they can give more insight into how much you deserve for pain and suffering.
Can Comparative Fault Also Affect Pain and Suffering’s Value?
Indiana operates on a comparative fault system, per IC 34-51-2-6. So, if you contributed to the collision, this could reduce how much you can recover. Consider this scenario:
- When the accident happened, you were speeding, and the other driver was distracted.
- It’s determined you contributed to 30 percent of the collision.
- Your damages, including pain and suffering, total $400,000.
- Yet, since you contributed to 30 percent of the collision, you can only recover $280,000.
This makes asserting your role in the accident crucial. If you’re wrongfully assigned a percentage of fault, this could cost you money that you need to pay for your losses. When you partner with a car accident lawyer, they will review traffic camera footage, the police report, and accident reconstruction data to determine your accident’s circumstances.
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You Can Recover Other Damages in Addition to Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is only one type of damage you can recover in the aftermath of a collision. Other compensable losses in your case may comprise:
- Your necessary healthcare expenses
- Lost wages, tips, bonuses, and other employee-related benefits
- The cost of replacing your car (or repairing it)
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Funeral expenses
Your legal team will use your injury-related invoices, receipts, and billing statements to determine what you need. They may also consult with economists and healthcare professionals to learn about what injury-related costs you may incur in the future.
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You Have a Limited Time to Pursue Pain and Suffering
IC § 34-11-2-4 notes that you generally have two years to file a car accident lawsuit. This action would allow you to seek pain and suffering. However, if you miss this filing period, you could lose the right to seek damages.
Consult With Our Car Accident Team Today
If you want to know more about how pain and suffering is determined in a car accident, reach out to Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. Since 1985, our founder and lead attorney, Attorney Randall Sevenish, has advocated for car accident claimants throughout Indiana. We can answer your questions, assuage your concerns, and pursue the funds you need.
To begin your free case review, give us a call. Our legal team is on standby 24/7 to address your legal concerns. Today, you can hire a lawyer in 10 minutes or less.
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