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Texas Personal Injury News

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Calculating Damages for Pain and Suffering in Texas

Many of the damages in personal injury cases are the same. They usually involve medical bills, lost wages from being away from work, and pain and suffering. You may also have other damages as well, such as property damage and loss of enjoyment of life.

Determining how much your claim is worth is difficult because your losses may not have absolute dollar amounts attached to them. Pain and suffering is one of the most common damages associated with personal injury cases, but it is very difficult to quantify.

Special Damages and General Damages

Things like lost wages and medical expenses are relatively easy to calculate. These losses are referred to as “special” damage because they relate directly to a quantifiable loss unique to the accident.

For example, to find medical expenses, you simply look at the bills that your hospital has sent that relate to the crash. Calculating lost wages usually just means determining how much vacation you had to use or how many hours you were unable to work. While both of these calculations can be complicated, they end up with a “hard” number. The same cannot be said about damages related to pain and suffering.

The pain that you went through as part of your accident cannot be quantified in any reliable way. You also cannot meaningfully determine how much your pain will “cost” you in terms of dollars in the future. Nonetheless, awarding monetary damages is the only way that the law has to compensate you for the pain and suffering that you experienced because of your accident. Damages that have intangible value like pain and suffering are referred to as “general” damages.

Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages

There is no formal method to calculate pain and suffering damages. Instead, insurance companies often use a “multiplier” as a way to value your claim. They will essentially compile all of your special damages and total them. Then, depending on the severity of the injury, they will multiply that total number by a factor. The factor is usually between two and five, but it can be as much as ten in serious injuries.

Assigning the factor is somewhat arbitrary. An insurance adjuster will use his or her experience with similar claims to determine which factor is appropriate. Information regarding the type of accident and the victim will play a role. For example, a child victim will likely garner more sympathy from a jury, so his or her factor will probably be higher than an adult who went through a similar accident. Injuries that are particularly gruesome or that are expected to have long-term side effects

Juries, of course, do not use this type of estimating system. The insurance company only uses its system as a means to predict what a jury will do. It is not always accurate, but it provides a good starting point for negotiation purposes.

Getting Legal Help to Value Your Personal Injury Claim

Plaintiffs’ attorneys also have a similar method to estimate damages to determine how much your case is really worth. Experience and knowledge of the law bolster this estimation process. You should not let the insurance company talk you into a settlement that is less than what you should be compensated. Contact our firm to learn more.

 


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