When you suffer serious injuries in a motorcycle accident, your financial losses will typically include property damage, medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages and maybe even the cost of paying someone to do things (like mow your lawn) that you would ordinarily be able to do on your own. However, in addition to these financial losses, you may also suffer what is known in legal terms as “pain and suffering.”
Understanding Pain and Suffering
There are two primary types of pain and suffering: (i) physical pain and suffering and (ii) mental pain and suffering.
Physical pain and suffering is just like it sounds. It refers to the actual physical pain you feel as a result of your motorcycle accident injuries. If you suffer a broken leg because of the accident, it will likely hurt. Since you wouldn’t have experienced this pain if it weren’t for the accident, the law entitles you to financial compensation.
Mental pain and suffering refers to the emotional and psychological effects that victims often experience after suffering catastrophic injuries. If you experience shock, mental anguish, emotional distress, anxiety, depression or humiliation, these are all conditions that can be compensated under the law. If you are now afraid to ride your motorcycle or you experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), these can be classified as compensable forms of mental pain and suffering as well.
Calculating Financial Compensation for Pain and Suffering
In personal injury lawsuits, pain and suffering are referred to as “non-economic damages.” This is contrasted with the “economic damages” listed in the first paragraph of this article, which are the actual, out-of-pocket expenses you incur as a result of your motorcycle injuries. Lawyers, courts and insurance companies can take a number of different approaches to calculating non-economic damages for pain and suffering, but two of the more common approaches are:
- Using a Multiplier – With this approach, pain and suffering damages are estimated based on a multiple of the victim’s overall economic damages resulting from the accident. For example, if your monetary losses are $10,000, your pain and suffering damages could be calculated at anywhere from $15,000 (a 1.5 multiplier) to $50,000 (a multiplier of five). Depending on the facts at hand, a different multiplier may be appropriate as well. Determining the multiplier requires consideration of the unique circumstances involved in a particular case, and may be a point of negotiation during the settlement process.
- Using a Daily Rate – Another common approach is to apply a daily rate (a “per diem”) to the victim’s pain and suffering, and then multiply that by the number of days that the victim experiences pain. The daily rate itself can be calculated in a number of different ways. If you take an example of a $200 daily rate and a victim who experiences pain and suffering for a year, the victim’s non-economic damages would come to $73,000 (200 multiplied by 365).
Just like compensation for medical bills and other financial losses, your claim for pain and suffering will include not only pain and suffering you have experienced to date, but also the pain and suffering that you are reasonably expected to suffer in the future. As a result, to make sure you receive maximum compensation for your motorcycle accident, it will be critical to seek an expert opinion regarding the long-term consequences of your injuries.
Speak with a Fort Walton Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
To learn more about your right to compensation after being injured in a motorcycle accident, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation. Our attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience, and we are committed to helping our clients fight for the compensation they deserve.