Tag Archives: car accident cases

How is Pain and Suffering Valued in a Car Accident Case ?

If you find yourself in a car accident the costs can go beyond just repairing or replacing a vehicle. If injuries are involved there are the medical treatment costs, and other losses of income that could fall into pain and suffering categories.

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Pain and Suffering Explained

Pain and suffering is the legal term for bodily injury and mental or emotional anguish resulting from the actions of another. Sometimes that can be hard to quantify, while doctor’s bills and diagnoses show what kind of injury was caused and how much they charged to treat it that doesn’t adequately describe the pain you feel. Pain is invisible when looking at a person, as only they can feel the consequences of an injury. Mental suffering is even harder to accurately describe because the stress one individual feels or suffers from is different from others in similar situations. This makes proving pain and suffering challenging, but in most cases there are two ways of estimating the cost incurred from the injuries.


Daily Rate Method

One way to calculate the pain and suffering is to use a daily rate method, or what is commonly referred to as the Per Diem Method. Basically this is a way to break down the cost incurred for each day of recovery, though sometimes the calculation can be based on a weekly rate instead. As a general baseline, the daily rate might be what you would usually earn in that day. If the injuries prevented you from working and you normally received $100 a day, then you could claim that because you could make $100 a day then that is what you are owed on top of any covered medical treatments.


Multiplier Method

Insurance companies often use this method by assigning a multiplier to the actual damages. Say the damages were $10,000, the multiplier could be a 3, so the pain and suffering would be $30,000. The multiplier is created based on the severity of the injury, 1 being minimal and normally only going up to a 5 for serious harm. For more debilitating injuries exceptions can be made to use a multiplier greater than 5.


When making a final decision on what cost the pain and suffering incurred, using a combination of both methods above can be the most effective way of arriving at an appropriate value. Contacting an experienced attorney can help you determine what you’re most likely going to be able to receive and begin the settlement process to make yourself whole again, reducing the stress of having to take the case on alone.

Paying a Lawyer Who Handles a Car Accident Case

If you’ve been involved in a car accident and have considered hiring a legal representative, no doubt one of the first questions you’ve asked yourself is, “How much is this going to cost me?” While this question can’t be answered with 100% certainty (situations and locations may vary enough that these guidelines don’t apply in some instances) in most cases the answer falls somewhere along the lines of, “It depends on how much money you get to begin with.” This is because, in most cases, lawyers will charge what is called a contingency fee.

Car Accident Cases

What is a contingency fee?

A contingency fee is a fee that is charged to the client only if money is actually won. So, if you go to trial and end up not winning your case for whatever reason, then in most situations you don’t have to pay your lawyer anything.


If you win, on the other hand, then your lawyer takes a percentage of however much you are awarded by the jury. The amount that a lawyer is allowed charge for a contingency fee can vary from state to state, but it typically falls somewhere between 25 to 40%. The usual fee is right around one-third, or 33%.


Of course, this is a number that is subject to change. For example, the actual amount of the fee might change depending on whether a case actually goes to trial. If, for example, the other party decides they would rather settle out of court, then the allowable contingency fee might decrease a little, since the full extent of your lawyer’s services were not needed. However, if the case ends up going to trial, then that percentage may also increase.


What other fees might get charged?

In some instances, a lawyer might also charge a small retainer fee — a small amount of money paid upfront. In these circumstances, the retainer fee is usually rolled into the final contingency fee (so, for example, if you pay your lawyer $1,000 up front, and then win $100,000 in a case, the fee that goes to the lawyer — $33,000, maybe — will already include your initial $1,000, so you don’t end up paying more than you should).


In all cases, though — and this is the most important thing — fees are typically negotiable and should be discussed up front. Don’t wait until halfway through your trial preparation before you decide you’re not willing to pay what is being asked. Save everyone time and hassle and be honest with each other about what is expected. That way, you can get the unpleasant discussions about money out of the way early, and focus on winning your case.