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Pain and Suffering Damages in Car Accidents

There are several kinds of compensation that you may be eligible for if you've been injured in a car accident through the fault of another party, and some of these are more nuanced than others. A good example here is the realm of "pain and suffering" damages, which are possible in a number of different personal injury cases, vehicle accidents often chief among them.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we offer experienced attorney services for car accidents, truck accidents and any other vehicle accident around Salt Lake City, Provo, Draper and other parts of Utah. Let's look at what pain and suffering damages are, some methods by which they may be calculated, and some of the ways plaintiffs can go about proving their claims for these sorts of damages.

pain suffering damages car accidents

Economic Vs Non-Economic Damages

In most car accident cases, and even within many other types of personal injury cases, there are two different types of damages that may be available to the plaintiff: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages refer directly to things like medical bills or repair expenses, as these can be easily calculated by looking at invoices and receipts. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are more subjective in nature.

"Pain and suffering" damages are an example of the latter, as it's hard to put a dollar value on the victim's physical and emotional distress.

Examples of Pain and Suffering

There are several ways that pain and suffering damages may be classified, including:

  • Mental anguish: This refers to the emotional distress and trauma that a victim may experience as a result of an accident. For instance, if a victim is so stressed out that they need to take time off work, or suffer from bouts of depression or insomnia, these can be considered as mental anguish damages.
  • Physical pain: The physical discomfort and agony experienced due to the accident may also be compensated for. This could include any sort of chronic pain that persists long after the accident has taken place.
  • Loss of enjoyment: This refers to the inability to take part in everyday activities that a victim may have once enjoyed, either because they are unable to physically do them or because their mental state has been affected by the accident.
  • Traumatic injury: This may be applicable for car accident victims who suffer from serious physical or psychological injuries due to the incident.

Methods of Calculating Pain and Suffering Damage Value

Because pain and suffering damages are nuanced by nature, their calculation methods can be as well. There are two primary such methods generally used:

Per diem method: The more common method today is the per diem method, which involves assessing a set daily rate for pain and suffering damages. This daily rate is calculated by estimating the amount of money the plaintiff is losing daily due to the effects of the accident - some of this may be determined by the plaintiff's income, though other factors can be present as well.

Multiplier method: In this method, plaintiffs determine their economic damages first - and then multiply this by a given number for additional pain and suffering damages. This multiplier will often be three, but can also be different numbers. However, insurers today are becoming more and more reluctant to accept this model, and the per diem model is more often used.

Proving Pain and Suffering Damages

Finally, it's important for plaintiffs to be able to prove that any pain and suffering damages they are claiming are legitimate. There are several ways they can do so, most involving documentation:

  • Medical records: This is one of the most reliable ways to prove pain and suffering damages, as it provides a clear record of how an injury has affected someone over time.
  • Mental health records: Mental health records can be used to prove mental anguish damages, as they document any psychological trauma that a person has experienced.
  • Testimony from family members: If available, testimony from close family members can help flesh out the story behind the victim's pain and suffering.
  • Photographs or videos: If applicable, such photos can be used to demonstrate the physical effects that an injury has had on a victim.

At William Rawlings & Associates, our experienced attorneys are well-versed in all types of damages related to car accidents, and can help you secure the compensation you need for your recovery. Contact us today for more information on any of our services around SLC, Draper, Provo and other parts of Utah.

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