How is Pain and Suffering Determined in a Car Accident?

Motor vehicle collisions are among the leading causes of serious injuries in Eastern Washington. According to data collected by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), there are approximately 6,700 crashes reported in Spokane County alone every year.

If you were injured in a car crash, you may be entitled to financial support to cover your medical bills and lost wages. Beyond that, you also have a right to recover compensation for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering. This raises an important question: How is pain and suffering compensation calculated?

What is Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering is a broad legal term that is used to refer to the physical pain and the psychological and emotional suffering that people are often forced to endure after a serious accident. The Washington Civil Jury Instructions defines pain and suffering as both mental and physical trauma that a person has already experienced and that they are reasonably likely to experience in the future.

Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages in Washington

Non-economic losses such as pain and suffering are inherently difficult to calculate—it is simply hard to put a precise dollar value on a person’s pain. Still, that does not make the pain and suffering any less real or any less harmful. You deserve full and fair financial compensation for your pain and suffering damages.

While Washington state does not have exact guidelines for how pain and suffering will be calculated, most professionals will use the ‘multiplier method’. Essentially, pain and suffering damages will be a multiple of an injured victim’s actual economic damages. In most cases, that multiplier will be between ‘1’ and ‘5’.

As an example, imagine that you were injured in a car accident on a busy road in Spokane. Your medical bills are calculated at $7,500 and your lost wages are calculated $2,500. In total, you sustained $10,000 in economic damages. A reasonable range for pain and suffering would be $10,000 to $50,000—or between ‘1’ and ‘5’ times the value of your direct economic losses.

Which multiple will be selected? It depends on many different factors. Should a car accident case go to trial, the jury must determine how much pain and suffering compensation is “reasonable” given the specific circumstances of the case. Unfortunately, insurance companies often try to undervalue pain and suffering damages. If you are bringing a car accident claim, it is imperative that the full extent of the pain and suffering that you experience is comprehensively documented.

Get Help From Our Spokane, WA Car Accident Lawyers Right Away

At‌ ‌Albrecht‌ ‌Law‌ ‌PLLC,‌ ‌our Washington motor vehicle accident attorneys fight aggressively to protect the rights and interests of injured victims. We can help you maximize your recovery for pain and suffering and other damages. To get a free, strictly confidential review of your case, please contact our law firm right away. Located in Spokane, we represent injured clients throughout Eastern Washington.

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