If you have a valid accident claim for personal injury, you can generally obtain compensation for several things. These typically include medical bills not covered by insurance, and lost wages. (There are exceptions in some cases.)
Medical expenses and lost wages are usually not hard to calculate. Just add up the relevant medical bills. Then multiply weeks lost from work by your weekly salary. Next, factor in taxes on the lost wages.
However, accident claim victims can also get compensation for their pain and suffering. Such pain and suffering compensation is often the largest amount of compensation that the victim receives. But pain and suffering compensation is not so easy to calculate. There is no “formula.”
In this post, I will discuss how to estimate pain and suffering compensation. I will largely paraphrase the actual rules that juries use in accident claim cases. These rules appear in the instructions that New Jersey judges provide to jurors before they deliberate.
THE STANDARD FOR ACCIDENT CLAIM INJURY COMPENSATION
A jury can compensate you for the pain, physical and mental suffering, discomfort, and distress that you endured because of your injury. Additionally, the jury may compensate you for the loss of enjoyment of life. That means the inability to pursue your normal pleasure and enjoyment in living.
Under the law, the amount of compensation the jury grants you should be what a reasonable person would consider adequate. That’s obviously not a precise standard.
But the law does provide jurors with some guidelines to use when fixing the amount of their verdict. For example, they may consider your age, usual activities, occupation, and family responsibilities.
The jurors can also consider the nature, character and seriousness of your injury. They may consider your discomfort or disfigurement. They must also consider the duration of your injury. Indeed, the verdict must cover any pain that you will suffer in the future.
Ultimately, the final amount of compensation is left to the jurors’ collective judgment.
In sum, the worse your injury is, the longer it takes you to recover, and the more impact your pain has on your life, the more compensation you should receive.
Experienced personal injury lawyers know how to best present an accident claim. Thus, a good attorney can maximize your chances to obtain a good recovery. Indeed, on a valid claim, an accident attorney can usually persuade the other side’s insurance company to pay you a settlement. You won’t even need to go to trial in most cases.