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How is Pain and Suffering Calculated in a California Car Accident Injury Claim?

If you were injured in a car crash in California, you may be eligible to recover compensation from the at fault driver. Injured victims deserve compensation for the full value of their damages. This includes recovery for all monetary losses, such as past and future medical expenses and lost wages.

In addition, many auto accident victims are also eligible to recover compensation for noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering. This raises an important question: How much is pain and suffering worth in car accident? As with many legal questions, the answer is that ‘it depends’. Here, our San Francisco car accident lawyers explain how pain and suffering is typically calculated in California.

Two Common Methods to Calculate an Injured Victim’s ‘Pain and Suffering’

There is no one specific rule for how insurance companies will try to calculate pain and suffering awards. Indeed, valuing intangible damages like pain and suffering can be somewhat of a ‘black box’. It can be difficult to understand how insurers come to their figures in settlement offers. Though, as a baseline, there are two general methods that are used to calculate pain and suffering damages:

  1. The Multiplier Method: With the multiplier method, the total economic damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) are calculated as a base figure. Then, a multiplier is selected to calculate pain and suffering. For example, if a car accident victim has $10,000 in economic damages and a multiplier of ‘2’ was selected for their pain and suffering, then their pain and suffering would be valued at $20,000.
  2. The Per Diem Method: With the per diem method, a dollar figure for pain and suffering is assigned for each day until the victim has fully recovered from their accident. For example, if a per diem amount of $100 was selected, and the victim took 100 days to reach maximum medical improvement, then pain and suffering damages would be valued at $10,000.

Note: Under California law (California Civil Code 3333.4), certain motorists are prohibited from recovering compensation for pain and suffering. Specifically, uninsured drivers may not be able to bring a claim for pain and suffering. If you find yourself in this position, you should consult with an experienced attorney immediately.

Insurance Companies Often Undervalue Intangible Damages

If you were involved in a car crash, you need to know how to deal with insurance adjusters. This is especially important in cases where the victim has suffered severe injuries or endured considerable pain and suffering. Justice requires that the victim is fully and fairly compensated for these losses.

Unfortunately, insurance companies are generally focused on protecting their own bottom line. They are notorious for undervaluing pain and suffering.

If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries in a San Francisco car accident, it is imperative that you are represented by a skilled car accident lawyer who will ensure that your settlement offer includes fair compensation for your pain and suffering and all other economic and noneconomic damages.

Contact Our Bay Area Car Accident Attorneys Today

At Bracamontes & Vlasak, our San Francisco car accident lawyers are strong, effective advocates for injured victims. We are committed to ensuring that injured victims get the full and fair compensation that they deserve. If you or your loved one was hurt in an auto accident in the Bay Area, please contact our San Francisco law office for a free, strictly confidential legal consultation.

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