How much is reasonable for pain and suffering? 19 Answers as of April 29, 2013

I was involved in a car accident at April 10 2013. The lady admitted that it was her fault. I was treated and released at the nearest ER, bruises to my chest and ribs and several lacerations and my left hand and both legs were cut by glasses. I have polio, my left side is the good side, and my right side only have 50%. I depend on my left side al the time. I just want to know what's reasonable when the injuries are minor but the side effects have been large.

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Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
You should be compensated for all of your damages and resultant side effects. Most settlements for pain and suffering are pegged to the amount of medical bills, lost wages and disability. You may be an ?eggshell plaintiff? whose damages are severe even if the impact was minor. You should be compensated for the damages resulting from your condition.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 4/29/2013
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Your case is worth whatever you can prove to a jury. No broken bones? No permanent scars? Small case.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 4/17/2013
David F. Stoddard
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
It is hard to tell because you de not explain what the side effects are or whether they are permanent. Here are some things to consider: I am often asked by individuals who have been injured in an accident to give an opinion as to what would be a fair settlement in their case. Often, they give me a brief description of their injury, such as, I suffered two broken ribs, or I am now suffering back pain, or I hurt my leg and had to have surgery and give no further details. I cannot possibly give an opinion as to the value of their case without more information. I find myself repeating over and over some of the information set out below. The information below is an attempt to shed some light on what an accident injury victim should consider in determining a fair settlement. However, presenting damages to an insurance adjuster, and ultimately to a jury, is an advanced and complicated task. It not adequate to simply say I'm hurt, describe your injury, and then hold out your hand and ask for money. I have practiced law since 1985, and still attend seminars and read books on the subject of presenting personal injury damage claims to juries. The information below will not be enough to make you a personal injury attorney, but hopefully will enlighten you regarding some factors that should be considered on evaluating your claim. Maximum Medical Improvement First, one needs to understand the concept of Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). MMI is the point at which the condition of an injured person is stabilized. No further recovery or improvement is expected even with additional medical intervention. Basically, a condition is at maximum medical improvement if it is not believed that the condition will change or progress. In laymen's terms, this is often referred to a being released by the doctor. This term is most often used in the context of a worker's compensation claim. An inquired employee usually receives temporary benefits until reaching maximum medical improvement. However, it also has significance in general personal injury cases. Insurers for at fault drivers, manufacturers of unsafe products, owners and operators of unsafe premises, and doctors guilty of malpractice do not normally make incremental payments as medical bills and lost wages are incurred. Rather, these insurers normally settle claims with one payments, which represents the final settlement. For this reason, the accident victim must have evidence of all past and future damages to present to the adjuster. This means it is premature to begin evaluating your claim before you reach MMI because you do not yet know how much your medical bills will be, nor do you know how severe the injury will ultimately be - which is the main factor in damages for pain and suffering ? until after you have reached MMI. After you have reached MMI, four basic factors that should be considered in evaluating your case are 1) special damages, also known as tangible damages, 2) severity of the injury, 3) duration of the injury, and 4) insurance coverage. Special Damages Special damages which are also sometimes called tangible damages include the cost of medical treatment (medical bills) and lost wages. Special damages are somewhat objective and easily ascertainable. You simply add up your medical bills and determine what wages you would have earned had you not been out of work due to your injury. The insurance adjuster or opposing attorney may quibble over some of your numbers, claiming that you have been overcharged by your doctor, or that some medical procedures that you are including in damages were not caused by the accident. The adjuster or opposing attorney may argue that you missed more work than was required based on your injury. Nonetheless, both sides can at least agree that you were actually billed x number of dollars by medical provides, and that you would have earned x dollars had you been at work. A personal injury settlement demand should begin with the amount of special damages, that is, medical bills and lost wages. Intangible Damages Intangible damages are often the most important component of your damages case. Intangible damages include such things as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of quality of life. Two important factors influence a fair settlement: the severity of your injury, and the duration of your injury. Severity of the Injury By severity of the injury, I am talking about the degree of pain and discomfort you suffer, along with how the injury affects your life and ability to engage in activities. On one end, you have relatively minor injuries that result in moderate pain and do not significantly interfere with your ability to do things. On the other end, you have injuries that result in severe pain and significantly interfere with your ability to engage in activities. An injury that is moderate in pain and its affect on your life would indicate a settlement on the low end of the range of fair settlements. An injury that results in a great deal of pain and significantly interferes with your ability to do things would indicate a settlement at the high end of the range of settlements. The low end might be in the thousands of dollars whereas the high end might be in the tens of thousands of dollars (at this point, I am only talking about severity of the injury, not the duration).
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 4/17/2013
Robert Butwinick | Robert Butwinick
Its sounds like you have a promising case, however it also seems far too early to assess the value. The important thing for you is to obtain all the necessary medical treatment to get better and to document your injuries and condition. Given the significance of the injuries, I would also recommend consulting with an experienced injury lawyer to ensure that you are fully protected and obtain the proper compensation.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 4/16/2013
Gary L. Platt, Attorney at Law | Gary Platt
The fact that you have a pre-existing condition complicates things. Even when it's not complicated, an attorney CANNOT, and must not, render an opinion on the likely or even approximate value of your case without examining a lot of details which are absent here, including the amount of your medical bills, the nature and extent of treatment you have already received, whether you need more treatment and, if so, how much, what kind, how long such treatment will take and what your condition will be after you receive it. There are a great many other questions that MUST be answered before an attorney can give you a reasonable, responsible, estimate of your case's value. DO NOT attempt to settle your claim for at least 6 months from now, even if you get an offer from an insurance company adjustor or attorney for the responsible party. You have TWO YEARS from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit if you need to do so, so there is absolutely no hurry, and anyone who tries to pressure you to settle earlier rather than later is NOT acting in your best interest. I strongly advise you to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/16/2013
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    Nothing, in the absence of a permanent injury, a permanent impairment, or significant and permanent scarring.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    The Law Offices of Russell Gregory, P.C.
    The Law Offices of Russell Gregory, P.C. | Russell Gregory
    Given your prior condition, the matter may well be pursuable. It should certainly be looked into. I could definitely help with that.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Cant have your cake and eat it too. if you have what you call "side effects" you must have those side effects as you call them documented by your doctor.otherwise you have a trifling matter and the insurance co will not care to deal with you doesn't matter what your healthy history is if you don't have 4 a doctor on your side.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Gregory M Janks, PC
    Gregory M Janks, PC | Gregory M Janks
    As stated in multiple prior posts, there is no set amount that any particular case/fact pattern is "worth". There are so many factors/variables in each case, that it is best to have local Michigan counsel that handles cases like yours analyze your fact pattern. Further, Michigan law requires that you prove you suffered a serious impairment of a body function and/or permanent, serious disfigurement in order to meet the legally required "threshold" to even make an auto claim for pain & suffering. Proving this requires positive medical testing/treatment/testimony by a qualified physician and a factual showing of how your prior "normal" life has been altered (among other things).
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    Assessment of an appropriate settlement requires detailed analysis of liability and damages, including application of legal principles, evidentiary factors, medical documentation and experience in your jurisdiction as to likely range of prospective jury awards. That being said, from what you have described, in New York you would not have adequate grounds for a personal injury claim.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Conway Law Pllc.
    Conway Law Pllc. | B. L. Conway
    There is no set amount. The Practice of Law is an Art. It is all in the presentation of the case. I would suggest that You obtain a Great Lawyer in order maximize recovery.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
    There is no set rule on that; just that there should be some rational relationship between the injuries and the amount. The injuries you sustained may not be that severe in someone without polio, whereas with you, they could be extremely debilitating. A victim is taken as he or she is found and the person at fault would be responsible for all the damages caused. You need to look to the circumstances of fault and the nature and extent of the injuries as well as the amount of money spent on your care. If there is a need for future care, the nature, extent and cost of that needs to be taken into account. Any future pain and suffering needs to be taken into account. If you decide to consult a lawyer, look for one with knowledge and experience in accident law. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Frank Law Group, P.C.
    Frank Law Group, P.C. | Brett E. Rosenthal
    Until you reach pre accident status you really can't fully evaluate how the injuries affected your life. You have two years post accident to file a claim, so would suggest that you complete whatever treatment you need and then when you reach pre accident status, then and only then determine what impact it has had on your life. Carriers look at general damages (pain and suffering) as a ratio of special damages (medical bills and lost wages) and will typically offer you 1.5 -2 times your medical bills in general damages. For example you have $5,000 in medical bills and lost wages the carrier will offer you $7,500 to $10,000. Because of your prior condition, you would be considered an "egg shell" plaintiff and to the extent you suffered worse injuries because of your pre existing condition the at fault party (or their insurance company) must pay for that. Call me if further questions at the number below for free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Gaubert Law Office, A Prof. LLC
    Gaubert Law Office, A Prof. LLC | Denis J. Gaubert, III
    This is a very difficult question for a lawyer to answer without careful evaluation of your medical records and consideration of the diagnosis and prognosis given by the treating physicians. Because you have a pre-existing condition of polio, it appears that your recovery was hampered or that you have suffered certain complications or "side effects," as you have described. "Pain and suffering" are elements of "general damages," which are damages that cannot be precisely measured in terms of a monetary standard, as opposed to "special damages" (such as cost of repairs to a vehicle.) Although a lawyer can give you an informed opinion on the reasonable range of an award for "pain and suffering," ultimately only you can decide what is reasonable for purposes of settlement. If your claim goes to trial, that decision would have to be made by a judge or jury. In Louisiana, a judge or jury is given "much discretion" in awarding damages for pain and suffering and other general damages. This is because every person is unique, and no two persons' injuries and their effect on the unique person are exactly alike in all respects.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Law Office of Malosack Berjis
    Law Office of Malosack Berjis | Malosack Berjis
    A reasonable amount, for pain & suffering, in just about every personal injury case (including yours), really depends on several factors, which include (but, are not limited to) the following: the nature, extent & severity of your injuries; the amount of medical bills & lost wages you have incurred; your age; and, so on. Using such information, your lawyer (that is, assuming that you have hired one to handle your case) should be able to give you some idea of what would be a reasonable amount for pain & suffering in your case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Lombardi Law Firm
    Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
    I'm not sure how any lawyer can value pain and suffering damages without first meeting the client, interviewing them and reviewing the medical records. Although I would love nothing more than to be able to tell you valuing non-economic damages is as easy as buying a book at a Do-It-Yourself personal injury legal site, it isn't and never will be. Find a good lawyer and let them do for you what you can't do for yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Since there is limited damages ( your left vs. right does no matter here), you are looking at hospital bills, very limited pain and suffering, clothing and inconvenience, you have a small claim for any amount.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
    First of all since your accident happened recently it is too earlier to determine what the case would settle for. In New York you must establish that one has a serious injury to be successful in collecting damages. You should contact an attorney to discuss this matter further.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/16/2013
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