Compensation for Pain & Suffering - St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
When you are in a car accident in Missouri, you may be entitled to two different types of damages: noneconomic and economic. Economic damages are things like medical bills and lost wages, which are documented and may be easily calculated. Noneconomic damages are different. They include things like pain and suffering and emotional distress. The problem with noneconomic damages is that no two people experience pain and suffering or emotional distress in the same manner.
That makes it difficult to put a clear and concise price on something so subjective. For noneconomic damages, it comes down to trying to use different methods and formulas to come up with a price that a plaintiff’s hardships are worth. That is why noneconomic damages are all over the board and can sometimes seem unfair or completely exorbitant.
This is also the reason that having an experienced St. Louis car accident attorney in your corner is of great benefit, whether you intend to settle out of court or escalate your case to go in front of a judge and jury. If you don’t have an expereinced attorney on your side to help you calculate what you deserve, you may not be getting all that you deserve.
How Insurance Companies Calculate Pain and Suffering and Noneconomic Damages
There are various ways that an insurance company will calculate your pain and suffering damages. The two main ones are the “multiplier” method and the “per diem” method.
The multiplier method is used when an insurance company adds the total cost of a plaintiff's economic damages. Then they determine the severity of their injuries based on a number from one to five. The company then takes the multiplier, and they multiply it by the total cost of your economic damages to reach a pain and suffering cost.
For instance, if you had a slip and fall injury and needed stitches that cost about $1000, then if you didn’t have any other economic damages related to the case, the severity of your injuries would probably be determined at about a one. Therefore, the insurance company would take the $1000 and multiply it by one, and your noneconomic damages would equal $1000.
The per diem method uses the same legal thought process as compensating for lost wages. Per diem means that the insurance company sets a price for pain and suffering that you felt per day, and then they take that amount and add up the days that you needed medical care. When using the per diem calculation, insurance companies will assign a higher daily cost for more serious treatment. For example, a surgical procedure and recovery period will carry a bigger factor than going to see a chiropractor.
In the end, however, the insurance company’s main objective is not to compensate you fairly; it is to minimize their own costs. This is why it is imperative that you have a St. Louis car accident attorney help you through the negotiation phase and help you to decide whether you are better off settling or going to court to get the noneconomic damages that you deserve.
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