Being involved in a car accident can severely disrupt your life. You may be unable to work or function regularly while stressed about your injuries and medical bills. It is only natural to want to know how much compensation you can receive from this unfortunate turn of events.
What is pain and suffering?
Car accidents can cause victims intense physical pain and mental anguish, such as depression or PTSD, which can lower their quality of life. These intangible losses fall under the umbrella term, pain and suffering, a category encompassing non-economic damages.
Limitations for seeking damages
Because Kentucky is a no-fault state, it limits who can collect damages for pain and suffering. To be eligible for compensation, you or a loved one must have:
- Incurred medical expenses of at least $1,000
- Sustained a permanent disability, injury, bone fracture, loss of bodily function, or amputation
- Been wrongfully killed
The value of pain and suffering
Kentucky has no formula for calculating pain and suffering. The best course of action is to get the opinion of a certified public accountant or an economist to estimate how much your non-economic damages are worth. They will typically resort to one of two methods when trying to arrive at a number:
The expert will consider the gravity of your injuries and other factors, then assign a multiplier ranging from 1.5 to 5. The more severe your pain, the higher the multiplier is. The insurance company or the jury will take this number and multiply it by your economic losses.
For example, if the expert assigns a multiplier of 2.5 and you have $20,000 in economic losses, your total damages, including pain and suffering, will amount to $50,000.
Per diem method
The expert will consider the amount of non-economic losses you suffer daily. Then the insurance company or jury will multiply this figure by the number of days you suffered.
If an expert values your losses at $550 per day and you suffered them for 60 days, your non-economic damages would be $33,000.
Because the court cannot see pain and suffering, fighting for compensation will not be easy. Victims may have to provide a mental health evaluation or collect witness statements about how the accident has negatively affected their life to back their claim. Before accepting a settlement offer, make sure it is enough to compensate for all your losses.