Being in a car accident is definitely not a joy ride. Being in a car accident that disables you for life is far worse than most people can imagine. When you are in constant pain from that accident, you need to see lots of doctors and specialists, all of which cost money. You should not be the one that has to pay for it all. As any car accident lawyer will tell you, "pain and suffering" is a legal phrase used to acquire additional compensation in a lawsuit. The extra compensation is meant to alleviate your pain and suffering as much as it possibly can, but how does the legal system calculate long-term pain and suffering compensation? The following provides some insights to this complicated calculation/process.
Lost Wages Multiplied By Years Unable to Work
Doctors reports and expectations for how "quickly" you can return to work are taken into this calculation. If your doctor says that there is no way you will ever do the job you were doing (before the accident) again, that is part of the calculation. It is the loss of wages over the number of years you have left until retirement. So, for example, say that you were making fifty thousand a year, and you have twenty years to go before you can retire. That would equal one million dollars in lost wages, assuming that, had you not been in an accident and never left your job for something else, you would make that much money in that time.
Your lawyer will also ask doctors and physical therapists to attest to how much you can move, and what kinds of jobs you might be able to do with adaptations. If you are not totally disabled (i.e., you are not paralyzed from the neck down and you can move your upper body), your lawyer has to look at the highest possible wages you could make if you are able to return to work in the distant future. This is the new calculation of wages that will also be used to determine just how much compensation you should receive for pain and suffering.
Expected Expenditures to Live a Pain-Free (or Nearly Pain-Free) Life
Everything from physical therapy appointments not covered by health insurance, to all of the medications you will need to purchase to live with less pain are part of this calculation. Again, the experts in medical fields are consulted, and the amounts generally charged for all services are tallied by year and by treatment plan. This is added to the above amount for your lost wages.
For more information, you will want to contact a professional, like one found at Siben & Siben LLP.