Calculating Pain and Suffering Settlement in a Car Accident Case

Did you get hurt in a car accident in Las Vegas caused by another driver? If so, you might have considerable medical expenses from trips to the hospital, diagnostic tests, surgical procedures, and other treatment costs. Chances are your losses go beyond just medical bills.

calculating settlement

Many crash victims experience significant pain and suffering from their injuries after a wreck, sometimes for months or years. If you have an injury claim after a car accident, you should know that you may be entitled to pursue compensation for your pain and suffering in addition to medical expenses and other financial losses.

At Sam & Ash Injury Law, our attorneys believe that you deserve What’s Right. That means pursuing full compensation for all your losses after an accident, including pain and suffering. Contact us today for a free consultation so we can review your car accident and determine how much you may seek for pain and suffering.

Evidence To Prove Pain and Suffering

If you experience pain and suffering due to injuries in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you can develop strong evidence for your injury claim by:

  • Seeking prompt medical attention to make sure a healthcare professional diagnoses, treats, and documents your injuries
  • Following your doctor’s care plan to support the healing process and show the insurance company that you are taking your health seriously
  • Gathering evidence from the car accident scene, including photos of the wreckage, your visible injuries, and statements from eyewitnesses who saw the collision occur
  • Keeping medical records and other documentation of your crash injuries
  • Creating a journal to record daily observations about your pain levels, physical limitations, emotional states, and recovery over time
  • Avoiding posting comments online about the car accident and your injuries while your claim is pending

Who Pays Pain and Suffering in an Auto Accident?

The party whose negligent actions caused the car accident that injured you may be held financially responsible for your injuries. Under Nevada law, the at-fault party or their insurance company is liable for your accident-related losses, including your pain and suffering.

Those who may be financially liable in a Nevada car accident include:

  • A driver or motorist
  • A pedestrian or cyclist
  • A driver’s employer
  • A manufacturer of defective car parts or vehicles
  • A government entity responsible for the maintenance of roads

What Is Considered Pain and Suffering?

In a car accident case, the phrase pain and suffering refers to the physical and emotional discomfort that results from crash injuries. When you seek compensation for your injuries in a car accident injury claim, you can include the value of your accident-related pain and suffering.

Physical pain often lingers after visible injuries have healed. Many car accident victims endure chronic pain for months or years after a wreck due to conditions such as:

The emotional component of pain and suffering can be just as debilitating as physical pain and is often more insidious because emotional injuries are harder to identify and treat. After a car accident, many crash victims experience mental anguish and psychological distress that includes:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Phobias related to driving
  • Insomnia and other sleep disturbances
  • Unusual anger and aggression
  • Grief from seeing others get hurt
  • Cognitive changes due to trauma
  • Reduced enjoyment of life

Nevada Law on Pain and Suffering

If you need to pursue financial relief for pain and suffering after an auto accident, you should know the following Nevada laws and regulations that could apply:

  • Nevada’s jury standards for pain and suffering– According to the instructions Nevada provides to civil jury members, there is no fixed standard for determining the amount of compensation to be awarded for pain and suffering. Instead, Nevada civil courts instruct jurors to use their judgment and common sense to settle on a reasonable award amount.
  • Nevada’s statute of limitations for injury claims– Under Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) § 11.190, you have two years from the date of a car accident to file a lawsuit in civil court seeking compensation for your injuries, including compensation for your pain and suffering.
  • Nevada’s comparative negligence doctrine– If you are partially at fault for a car accident, Nevada’s comparative negligence doctrine could apply. Under NRS § 41.141, you can still seek compensation for your pain and suffering after an accident as long as you are no more than 50 percent at fault for the crash. However, if the insurance adjuster or a court of law determines you were partially at fault, the amount of money you may receive for your pain and suffering will be reduced based on your percentage of fault.
  • Nevada’s damage caps of pain and suffering– Nevada law imposes caps on the amount of money you can get for specific claims. However, Nevada’s $350,000 limit for pain and suffering compensation only applies to medical malpractice claims. There is no statutory limit on the potential value of your pain and suffering from injuries from a car accident.

How an Insurance Company Calculates Pain and Suffering

The most important thing to understand with any car accident claim is that the insurance company is a for-profit business. The insurer will try to avoid paying the full value of your claim. While it can be difficult to dispute verifiable financial losses, such as medical bills, insurers may try to limit the amount they pay for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering.

Insurance adjusters consider numerous pieces of evidence to determine how much to pay for your pain and suffering, such as:

  • Information from your medical records, such as documented reports of your physical pain or recommendations for restrictions on your physical activity
  • Medical bills documenting your visits to medical professionals, including mental health professionals who provide psychological and emotional support
  • Prescription records, especially records of prescriptions for pain relief drugs, anti-inflammatories, and anxiety or depression medications
  • Photos or video footage of visible injuries as they heal over time
  • Statements from family members, friends, employers, and co-workers who can describe how the car accident has affected your day-to-day life

Many insurance companies use opaque computer algorithms to calculate how much they should offer you for your pain and suffering claim, so it’s impossible to predict how each type of evidence could affect your settlement value. However, in general, the more evidence you provide, the more the insurance company will understand how the accident contributed to your pain and suffering, increasing the chances of being awarded more money.

Pain and Suffering Calculation Methods

Every car accident case is different. Placing a dollar value on pain and suffering is challenging. But insurance companies, attorneys, and courts of law generally rely on two methods of calculating pain and suffering compensation for the sake of personal injury claims.

The first and most common method is the multiplier method. The multiplier method works by starting with the full value of your economic losses and multiplying that value by a number between 1.5 and 5. Your economic losses are the accident-related losses you incur with a specific dollar value, such as your medical bills and wage losses. The multiplier increases or decreases based on the severity of your pain and suffering.

The other less-common method is the per diem method. This method uses a daily rate to calculate the value of your pain and suffering. The daily rate is often determined based on the value of the wages the claimant would earn for a typical day’s work. The daily rate is then multiplied by the number of days you endure pain and suffering due to your injuries. Calculating an appropriate per diem rate can be challenging. This method is not ideal for pain and suffering claims involving long-term or permanent injuries.

Contact an Experienced Las Vegas Car Accident Lawyer To Review Your Case

You deserve fair compensation for your pain and suffering and other losses after a car accident. The team at Sam & Ash Injury Law can advocate for your rights and help you seek the financial relief you need. Contact our experienced Las Vegas car accident lawyers today to review your case during a free consultation.