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How are car accident pain and suffering damages calculated?

While motorists attempt to drive safely, collisions unfortunately occur and are often caused by negligent, distracted, reckless or intoxicated drivers. The damages suffered in a car accident can be quite extensive. The most obvious harm that befalls car accident victims is the physical pain and suffering that is unjustly thrust upon them. While the pain and suffering in some accidents may be relatively minor, in others it can be excruciating and devastating.

This pain and suffering can lead to other damages, too. Medical expenses and therapy costs can quickly mount, and one's injuries may lead to missed work and lost wages. In total, then, a car accident victim can face a very challenging road on their way to recovery.

Fortunately, those whose injuries have been caused by the negligence of another may be able to recover compensation for these damages. As easy as that sounds, it can actually be quite complicated. Putting proving liability aside, merely calculating damages can be arduous. Sure, it may be somewhat easier to calculate a ballpark figure for medical expenses and lost wages given that there are built-in numbers to work with, but how does an individual put a price tag on pain and suffering?

In many instances, the parties involved in a personal injury claim turn to an equation to help them determine the economic value of pain and suffering. Depending on a number of factors, including the severity of the accident, an individual's economic damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages, are multiplied. More severe cases have a higher multiplier, sometimes as high as six or seven.

Of course, this is a gray area that is ripe for argument at both the negotiation table and in the courtroom. Car accident victims therefore need to be prepared to not only argue their position, but understand the leverage they have on the other side. An attorney who is experienced in this process may be able to help a car accident victim develop a strong legal strategy that furthers the victim's efforts to secure the full compensation he or she deserves.

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John McCabe wrote "The Investigation and Analysis of Personal Injury Cases" in the best-selling book Personal Injury Practice in North Carolina. This is the book that other lawyers follow in handling personal injury cases.

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