After an auto accident, many people easily determine the cost of medical treatment and property damage. However, most accidents in Pennsylvania exact a cost higher than medical bills that can be hard to calculate, which is pain and suffering. Several factors commonly go into figuring pain and suffering, and every insurance company views certain injuries differently.

Basics of pain and suffering

The term “pain and suffering” refers to the mental and emotional distress a person experiences after an accident. It is used as a basic term for what cannot be calculated from receipts.

Pain and suffering may include depression, loss of support, temporary or permanent physical discomfort, and memory loss. Certain injuries commonly get awarded higher settlements, such as amputations, severe burns or spinal cord injuries. Not all cases are eligible for pain and suffering, including no-fault insurance cases, workers’ comp and small claims court.

Calculation methods

The per diem and multiple methods are commonly used to calculate pain and suffering. The multiple method involves multiplying the plaintiff’s economic damages by using a number from one to five.

Per diem comes from a Latin phrase meaning “by the day.” The per diem method takes the plaintiff’s daily salary and multiplies it by the number of missed days. Settlements rarely get settled using this method.

Proving pain and suffering

No one can just demand that an insurer pays a high amount of damages for pain and suffering. The claimant must prove that his or her claim is worth the amount.

Insurers anticipate paying for pain and suffering, but they often make lowball offers at first. They could claim the injuries from the impact of the accident aren’t serious enough.

In addition to medical bills and injury photos, the plaintiff can prove his or her case with witness statements that describe the extra help he or she needs and his or her frustrations. An individual could also point to his or her medical bills or submit counseling bills or records from counselors that relate to his or her depression and fears.

Personal injury accidents should be fairly compensated for drivers who are not at fault. If the insurer refuses to act fairly, or the plaintiff doesn’t want to negotiate, an attorney may be able to work out a settlement for his or her client.