Pain and suffering is an important part of many auto injury settlements. The question of how much do you get for pain and suffering in a car accident in Maryland depends on many factors. It’s a complicated formula and you should consider hiring a lawyer to get it right.
How much you get for pain and suffering in a car accident in Maryland depends on the severity of your injuries but there are other factors. People who deal directly with insurance companies without hiring a lawyer can end up settling for less than they should because insurance companies follow rigid formulas. Baltimore car accident lawyer Randolph Rice explains.
How Insurance Companies Calculate Pain and Suffering in a Car Accident
Many insurance companies use a three-part formula. The insurers:
- Begin with the amount you are already owed: The insurance adjuster adds up your medical bills, car repair costs, and lost wages. These are called economic damages.
- They put a number on the severity of your injuries: The insurance company then rates how severely you are hurt. It usually gives you a number between 1 and 5. While an injury like whiplash that clears up in a few weeks might receive a 1, an injury that leaves you disabled or with long-term brain injuries may be awarded a 5, or higher in extreme circumstances. The number is called a multiplier.
- The multiplier and the costs are combined: If, for example, your medical bills and other costs totaled $80,000 and your pain and suffering was given a 2, the pain and suffering damages would be calculated at $160,000.
This is a clumsy method but it’s hard to put a figure on something as abstract as pain and suffering. Unfortunately, insurance companies often undervalue pain and suffering damages. Some insurance companies use ‘plug and play’ computer programs. Companies like Allstate have come under fire for shortchanging claimants by using these programs. A Maryland pain and suffering injury attorney can advise you whether a settlement offer is fair. A good Baltimore car wreck lawyer can make a real difference in how much you end up with. This is particularly the case with pain and suffering which is more subjective than economic damages.
Factors to Consider in Calculating Pain and Suffering in a Car Accident in Maryland
During a trial, the jury has to consider the victim’s pain and suffering on an individual level. Even if a case doesn’t get that far certain factors should be considered in negotiations with the insurance company. They include:
- The severity of the pain and suffering
- The duration of symptoms
- How the pain and suffering affected the car wreck victim’s life?
- What effect it will have on his or her future.
- The limits of available insurance coverage.
How much you get for pain and suffering during a personal injury case depends on factors including:
- The severity of your pain – Pain and suffering means exactly what it says. The level of pain you suffer should have a bearing on your eventual award. A medical professional can assess your pain;
- Physical and mental effects – A personal injury settlement is meant to make the victim feel as whole again as possible. Any loss in your overall physical and mental health should be reflected in your settlement;
- Any disability or disfigurement and the embarrassment associated with the disfigurement;
- Emotional and mental conditions that are a result of the trauma of your car accident;
- Physical disability or impairment can affect your ability to walk, drive, play sports, or lead the life you had before.
How Much is Your Pain and Suffering Worth in Maryland?
It’s very difficult to put an exact figure on pain and suffering. There is no personal injury calculator and different methods of calculation lead to different results.
If your case goes before a jury, a wide range of factors affects a pain and suffering award including how sympathetic the jury is to the victim, who is sitting on the jury, and which jurisdiction the case is held in.
Often the value of the pain and suffering award will rise after your attorney files a lawsuit. Insurance companies start off with lowball offers. They take your case more seriously when it’s in litigation.
Accident victims who are more patient are more likely to get higher payouts. Usually, the pain and suffering portion of the award will increase more than the economic damages as the case progresses.
It’s important to talk to a Baltimore personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Accidents victims who begin the process in months of negotiations with their insurance companies can make mistakes that invalidate their claims or at least suppress an eventual payout.
A personal injury lawyer is aware of all of the elements of a pain and suffering claim. If you deal directly with the insurance company you may fail to make a claim for things you are entitled to claim for.
Does Maryland Limit Pain and Suffering in Car Accidents?
Yes. Maryland has a cap on pain and suffering damages. In 2019, the non-economic damages cap for injuries was $860,000. The cap rises to $1,290,500 in wrongful death cases in which two or more beneficiaries are involved. There is no cap on economic damages in Maryland.
Hire a Maryland Car Accident Lawyer for Pain and Suffering Today
Pain and suffering is not a factor in all car accidents. However, it’s relevant to most wrecks that involve significant injuries. The pain and suffering element of your settlement in Maryland may be higher than the economic losses you sustain. Even if the insurance company is skeptical about these damages, you may be entitled to claim for them.
At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we don’t believe in plug and play formulas for auto accident pain and suffering claims. We treat our clients as human beings with individual needs. We are aware of the terrible ordeal many drivers and passengers involved in car accidents go through and the long road to recovery. Others like pedestrians and cyclists can also suffer serious injuries in car wrecks. Please talk to our experienced Maryland car accident lawyers today at 410-431-0911.