Visitor Question

How Much Pain and Suffering Should I Claim?

Submitted By: Judy (Rocklin, CA USA)

I live in California and had an auto accident. The other party was found 100% at fault and they had insurance. My vehicle was totaled and I broke 3 metacarpals in my left hand. I am right handed. I was in a cast for 6 weeks and had 3 months of physical therapy. My left hand still isn’t at normal strength (20lbs when normal is 35).

By what number should I multiply my total medical billing to estimate my pain and suffering? If the total medical billing was $5,000, do I multiply it by 2 and ask for $10,000? Or by 3 and ask for $15,000? Is there a minimum amount that should be demanded for pain and suffering? Thanks so much.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Judy,

Judy:

Recovery for Pain and Suffering is never guaranteed whether by law or circumstance. You can certainly demand compensation for your past, present and future pain and suffering as long as you are aware the compensation for all three is paid in one lump sum, normally sans any differentiation among the amounts.

Depending solely on your medical bills, often referred to as “Hard Costs,” and not any out of pocket expenses or lost wages, it would not be unusual to multiply Hard Costs by more than 3.

Your injuries are obviously not soft tissue. Your injuries included broken bones, casting, physical therapy, and permanent injury to your left hand. From the facts you present it would not seem inappropriate for you to multiply by more than 3. Inasmuch as we are not privy to the medical records and communications related to the settlement, we can only apply the facts as you state them.

Additionally, you should know your out-of-pocket expenses and lost wages are not multiplied by any amount. Those costs are simply added separately to the Hard Costs.

You should give great thought to the amount you agree to settle for. Some cases demand much higher amounts than many injured persons think.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: June 2, 2011

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