Pain and suffering does not include medical bills, if you were injured in a motorcycle accident. However, you could recover damages for pain and suffering in addition to medical bills.
Our motorcycle accident lawyers can help you recover pain and suffering damages, as well as payment for your medical bills.
Understanding Pain and Suffering Damages
Motorcycle accident injuries typically result in two kinds of compensatory damages: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages include medical bills, repair bills, and other specific economic losses. Pain and suffering, on the other hand, is considered a type of non-economic damage. It is not tangible and therefore can be more challenging to prove.
Examples of Pain and Suffering
In our experience, the lines between physical and emotional suffering are difficult to separate. If you broke your arm in a motorcycle accident, you would certainly have physical discomfort. You may also have emotional distress that your broken arm prohibits you from working or taking care of your child.
Common examples of pain and suffering include:
- Weight gain or loss
- Loss of consortium
- Embarrassment or distress from disability or disfigurement
- Diminished quality of life
- Temporary or permanent limitations on daily activity
- Distress over a possible reduced life expectancy
These are some examples of mental anguish, and this is not an exhaustive list or a substitute for a lawyer’s opinion of the non-economic damages you could recover.
Proving Pain and Suffering
A lawyer who accepts motorcycle accident cases will collect evidence to establish pain and suffering so that you may recover these losses.
This evidence may include:
- Proof of your injuries, including imaging tests, photos, and statements from your healthcare provider(s) about the extent of your injuries and their impact on your physical and emotional health.
- Testimony from physical and emotional health experts (separate from your own doctor) as supporting evidence of pain and suffering.
- Proof of liability against the other party that they caused the injuries that led to pain and suffering.
Nearly 80% of motorcycle accidents result in serious injury or loss of life to the rider, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
How Pain and Suffering Damages Are Valuated
It is easier for an insurance company or jury to valuate economic damages. Economic damages are tangible. For example, a hospital bill for $10,000 should be valued at $10,000.
It becomes more complex for non-economic damages, because pain and suffering is intangible. This means there is no one true measurement amount to valuate pain and suffering. Every case is different, so it is important you speak to our lawyers about your case.
Multiplier Method for Pain and Suffering Damages
According to the Sacramento County Public Law Library, insurance adjusters often use a mathematical formula called a multiplier. A multiplier considers your injuries, expected prognosis, general damages (including pain and suffering), and special damages to valuate a settlement offer.
Factors That Affect Pain and Suffering Damages
Insurance companies (and juries) should consider several factors when valuating pain and suffering damages, including:
- Severity and extent of your injuries
- Duration of treatment and recovery
- Temporary or permanent disability from your injuries
- Disfigurement (like scarring) from your injuries
- Other long-term medical consequences from your injuries
- Reduced earning capacity or not being able to work at all
Liability for the accident may also play a role in valuating pain and suffering damages. Although you may still recover damages despite contributing in a small way to the collision, this may prejudice the insurance company when they are determining damages.
“Perceived Pain” Factor
Insurance adjusters also consider the perceived pain of your injuries. For example, pain and suffering damages for a broken foot may be valued differently than if you had your foot amputated.
Reaching a Settlement for Pain and Suffering
The total sum of your special damages (such as medical bills) is multiplied by a range of numbers, usually from one to 10. Long term or life-altering injuries have a higher number. Minor injuries are multiplied by a smaller number.
This is not a perfect science with the same formula applied to every accident. There is also the human element to consider if you and your lawyer take your case to court: the jury.
Juries are not insurance adjusters. They might have a more generous view of your pain and suffering—or they might not. That is why you can consult a motorcycle accident lawyer to help you understand your legal options.
Call Today to Learn More
If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, please call D. Miller & Associates, PLLC ™ for a free case evaluation. You could recover damages, including for pain and suffering. Call (713) 850-8600 today.