How Much Money Can You Sue for a Pain and Suffering Claim in Louisiana?
Can you put a price on "pain and suffering?" As a matter of fact, you can.
Suppose you or a family member has been involved in an auto accident or are the victim of negligence. In that case, you may be eligible for real financial compensation for your pain and suffering.
You see, Louisiana state laws allow for the recovery of pain and suffering and other "non-economic damages" in personal injury cases.
What's more, there are no payout caps on personal injury claims involving automobiles in Louisiana.
So in addition to any sustained physical injuries, medical bills, and expenses associated with your injury — whether a car accident, a slip and fall, or another accident entirely — you may also be struggling with additional pain and suffering damages from the accident.
As a personal injury attorney, I am often asked, "how much money can you sue for pain and suffering?" If you're an injured person, you can file a personal injury claim and stand to receive significant financial compensation from the insurance company.
To ensure you or a loved one receive the payout you deserve, contact a Louisiana personal injury lawyer today, and schedule your free consultation. Bruscato Law Firm is standing by and ready to provide a thorough case review at no charge to you.
Whether you are interested in suing or settling, Bruscato Law Firm can help you walk the best path forward to resolve your pain and suffering and get well.
What counts as "pain and suffering" legally-speaking?
Most of us understand what pain and suffering mean in the general sense. But in a legal context, the definitions may not be so clear.
"Pain and suffering" in a legal context refers to how an accident affects your day-to-day life. That usually means the physical pain or emotional distress that a victim suffers after an accident.
In Louisiana, as in the rest of the country, "pain and suffering" is a classification within a broader category of "non-economic" damages, also called general damages.
These non-economic damages are subjective losses to the accident victim. They are often difficult to attach a specific amount of money and may include:
- Mental anguish
- Physical pain or impairment
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Traumatic stress
- Loss of a limb or organ (or its use)
- Loss of quality of life
As you can see, the range of non-economic damages or pain and suffering damages is vast.
Economic damages, in contrast, are those that come with an actual price tag and may include:
- Out-of-pocket medical costs (like medical bills, medical treatments, emergency room visits or ambulance rides)
- Lost wages
- The higher cost of living after an accident
- Vehicles and devices for handicaps or mobility
Economic damages tend to be more comfortable for the jury awards to understand, and are certainly more presentable.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to prove, but an experienced personal injury lawyer can help gather the evidence you need to make a compelling case.
How can you prove pain and suffering damages?
Calculating the value of pain and suffering costs may help you determine what your settlement offer is worth... but without ample evidence, it will be much more challenging to defend your position.
That's where a personal injury lawyer can help.
One of the main difficulties in making a defensible case for pain and suffering is collecting adequate proof. An experienced attorney can help you organize your records. With a body of evidence, you can prove your pain and suffering losses and see that your claim gets approved.
In any lawsuit, adequate evidence is essential to prove you've been wrongly harmed and deserve a fair amount of compensation. Because pain and suffering losses are subjective in nature, it helps to have a broad range of evidence to help paint a clear picture.
Forms of evidence may include:
- Medical records
- Police reports
- Photos of the accident environment
- Before and after photos of injuries or property damage
- Eye witness testimonies
- Doctor's notes
- Proof of lost work time and wages
Perhaps the most potent proof you can have is your medical records and bills.
And remember, the information collected at every doctor visit can be used as evidence as well — it is part of your official record.
The doctor will ask you about your pain level — make sure what you say about your pain and suffering is consistent with what you tell the insurance company and or the insurance claims adjuster.
Do insurance companies use a "pain and suffering" calculator?
Now that you understand what pain and suffering damages are, and how they are determined, you're probably wondering how the value of a settlement is calculated.
Indeed, despite what you may have read online, there is no one-size-fits-all calculator or formula. Every insurance company has their own policies and criteria for making those determinations about the value of a pain and suffering claim.
There are several factors used to estimate the cost:
- The strength of evidence
- The type of accident and injury
- The severity of the injury
- The severity and duration of medical treatment
- Impact of the damage on your life (job, relationships, quality of life)
- Your age
In short, insurance companies investigate the economic and non-economic losses resulting from the accident and attempt to assign an approximate dollar value based on several relevant factors.
Two Ways to Calculate Pain and Suffering
Before I continue, let me repeat that there is no simple "formula" to give you a precise pain and suffering estimate. There are too many variables to consider, and every case is unique.
That said, insurance adjusters commonly use two methods to help calculate the settlement value of pain and suffering losses.
The Multiplier Method
The general idea for this method is that the amount of pain and suffering that results from an injury is worth between 1 and 5 times more than the cost to treat the physical injury itself.
To calculate the reasonable value of a case, you would multiply the cost of the economic damages by a multiplier between 1 and 5. The more severe the injury, the higher the multiplier number.
Cost of economic damages for Daniel's broken arm (medical expenses, medical costs): $7,500
Non-economic damages (pain and suffering): $15,000 ($7,500 x 2)
The Per Diem Method
A second way of calculating pain and suffering compensation is with the per diem method.
In this method, insurance companies estimate the daily toll of the plaintiff's pain and suffering and pay a reasonable dollar amount to the injury victim every day until they reach a maximum recovery point.
Suppose someone suffers a slip and fall accident on January 1st and has officially recovered on May 5th. In that case, 125 days will have passed. At $100 per diem, the value would come out to $12,500.
Can you file a pain and suffering claim without a lawyer?
If you're thinking about filing a pain and suffering claim without a lawyer, you should know a few things.
For starters, the statute of limitations to file your claim in Louisiana is one year, so don't wait.
If you're asking yourself, "WHO can I sue for my pain and suffering?" there are a few parties who may be responsible for your circumstance. And thus responsible for providing compensation for your pain and suffering.
- Drivers — Passenger cars, taxi drivers, rideshare drivers, or other drivers are liable for your pain and suffering if they crash into you.
- Trucking Companies — If you are injured in a truck accident, your pain and suffering could be the truck driver's responsibility or the trucking company, depending on the circumstances of the accident and whether federal regulations were abided by.
- Property Owners — If you've suffered a slip and fall, then your pain and suffering could be the responsibility of the landowner.
While you can file a claim against one of the above at-fault parties by yourself, I wouldn't recommend it. In most cases, you'll need to speak with an insurance adjuster to negotiate the terms of your settlement.
Claims adjusters expect a fair amount of negotiation involved (usually with the victim's attorney). But when they realize no attorney is present, well, let's just say I've heard of victims leaving hundreds of thousands (or more) of dollars on the table simply because they weren't effective in their negotiations.
Know this: Unless you're an experienced claims negotiator, your chances of receiving adequate compensation are slim.
If you want to claim the highest pain and suffering payout possible, you must seek the help of an experienced attorney.
Think of it... what is the cost of your peace of mind? Of your time?
How aggressive are you willing to be to get your claim taken seriously and negotiate with those ruthless insurance adjusters to get the settlement offer you deserve?
Bruscato Personal Injury Law can take this burden off of your hands and help you maximize your settlement offer so you can focus on recovering and getting well.
Do not try to be a negotiations expert if you don't have to be!
Let us negotiate for you and focus on getting you the maximum payout for your pain and suffering claim.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Monroe, Louisiana
At Bruscato Law Personal Injury Lawyer, LA, I approach every case evaluation with detail, depth, and determination. My firm has handled countless claims from the likes of car accidents, truck accidents, slip and falls, and much more.
Contact us today for a free case review. Let us maximize the amount you stand to win in your pain and suffering claim. If you're an injured victim, you need someone who will help guide you through the legal process and stand up for your rights.