Visitor Question

Back injury from rear-end accident…

Submitted By: Anonymous (Camp Hill, PA)

I was rear ended while stopped on the highway by car which had good following distance (except she was texting). I refused medical treatment at the scene, but two days later I went to orthopedic urgent care for back/neck pain.

I got X-rays and an MRI which showed an L5- S1 injury. My neck/arm pain is more or less gone after therapy. My back pain is lingering, which affects sleeping and any sort of long term sitting/crouching. I also had two international trips canceled due to the sitting issue, and I’m unable to ride motorcycles for more than an hour or so. I don’t have any lost work, but I’m in pain/uncomfortable.

Now it’s 6 months post-accident and I’m going in for a second round of back shots next week. What pain and suffering amount could I expect to be agreed to? Thanks for any information you can give.

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 Anonymous,

Pain and suffering refers not only to the physical pain resulting from an accident, but also to the emotional and psychological injuries, such as fear, insomnia, grief, worry, inconvenience, and even the loss of the enjoyment of life.

While today many insurance companies rely on sophisticated proprietary software to determine settlement offers, victims of personal injury claims must rely on much less sophisticated methods. For victims, there is no algorithm, table or other tangible method to determine the amount of compensation a victim should demand from an insurance company.

For victims, a traditional method of approximating a reasonable amount to demand from the insurance company is the Multiplier Method. This method takes the amount of actual damages, also called “Specials,” and multiplies them by a specific number. The result of the multiple represents a starting amount of compensation to demand from the insurance company. The compensation demand represents the actual monetary damages and pain and suffering.

Actual damages can include medical and chiropractic bills,  out-of-pocket expenses (for such items as prescription and over the counter medications, nursing costs, wheelchairs, costs of travel to and from treatment, crutches, etc.) and lost wages.

For soft tissue injuries, the multiplier will be lower than more serious injuries. Soft tissue injuries can include sprains and strains to ligaments, muscles and tendons, minor burns and abrasions, whiplash, and similar injuries.

In a soft tissue injury claim the multiple might be 1 – 3x. In most of these types of cases, insurance companies will not pay more then 2 times actual damages. However, demanding 3 times actual damages would not be inappropriate.

For example, let’s say you were rear ended and sustained whiplash and a sprained ankle. Your actual damages, including your medical and chiropractic bills, including MRIs and X-rays, equaled $2,000. Your out-of-pocket expenses for such items as medications, wheelchairs, costs of travel to treatment, and crutches equaled $500. Your lost wages for the time you were treating or otherwise unable to work while recovering equaled $3,000. The total of your actual damages then equals $5,500.

Using a multiplier of 3 would amount to $16,500. Subtracting the actual damages of $5,500 from your demand of $16,500 equals $11,000 , which would be considered the amount for your pain and suffering.

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: October 19, 2017

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