How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated in a Car Accident Case?

If you experience a catastrophic car accident due to the negligence of another driver, you naturally expect to receive compensation for the physical damages and injuries you sustain. What you might not realize immediately is that you may also be eligible to receive substantial compensation for any pain and suffering you endure.

At Cellino Law, our team of personal injury attorneys is ready and eager to represent you in securing the full amount of compensation you deserve for damages sustained in a car accident case, including pain and suffering damages. This starts by helping you understand how exactly insurance companies calculate pain and suffering.

Defining Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident

Pain and suffering refers to the physical, emotional and mental turmoil a person might experience after an accident. These are non-economic damages, placing them in a separate category compared to medical expenses and lost wages that are clearly and demonstrably measurable. It can be difficult to tie pain and suffering damages to a specific dollar amount, which is why it is so important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can advocate for a settlement you deserve and ensure that insurance providers do not lowball your compensation.

Calculating pain and suffering can be a complex and seemingly vague process, but it is necessary to pursue these damages as part of your claim to ensure you recover everything owed to you by the at-fault party. Achieving success in this process entails understanding different types of pain and suffering and determining how they might apply to your claim.

Physical Pain and Suffering

You can pursue compensation for any physical pain or discomfort you experience as a result of your accident in addition to any monetary medical expenses you incur for your injuries. Examples of physical pain and suffering include:

  • Neck and back pain
  • Nerve damage
  • Sprained or pulled muscles
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Permanent disabilities

Mental or Emotional Anguish

Car accidents are traumatic events that can commonly cause mental or emotional damage that may affect your quality of life for many years to come. If you experience any of the following conditions, they may contribute to your pain and suffering claim:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Psychological trauma
  • Cognitive damages
  • Fear, frustration or excessive stress, particularly pertaining to driving

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

The aftermath of a car accident can affect your enjoyment of life in ways that are observable and verifiable either legally or medically. You might experience symptoms of depression due to your pain and your inability to work or participate in hobbies. If your injuries put you in a position in which you must rely on external help for day-to-day tasks, that can also lessen your overall enjoyment of life.

Loss of Companionship

Loss of companionship or consortium is another type of pain and suffering that either you or your loved ones can claim. If an accident caused the wrongful death of your spouse, for example, you have every right to pursue compensation for that tragic loss of companionship. Conversely, your family members might be eligible for pain and suffering damages if your injuries render you unable to provide the same level of companionship or support as you did prior to the accident.

Determining Pain and Suffering in a Car Accident Case

Determining the overall pain and suffering of an individual after a car accident starts by acknowledging the factors at play which contribute to a person’s degree of anguish. While every incident is unique, factors that your legal team can present as contributors to your suffering include:

  • Your age
  • Nature and severity of your injuries
  • Expected recovery time
  • Effect on your enjoyment of life
  • The possibility of future problems to arise 
  • Notable effects on your mental health or well-being

When considering those factors, one method that the court will accept when calculating final pain and suffering damages is the “multiplier” method. This entails determining the overall economic damages that a claimant sustains, such as medical bills and lost wages, and then multiplying that figure by a factor ranging from 1.5 to 5 based on the severity of the accident itself.

The other widespread method for calculating pain and suffering is the “per diem” or “per day” method. This entails negotiating with the insurance company to establish a monetary amount of compensation that the claimant will receive for every day that they deal with the pain and suffering resulting from the accident.

Ultimately, the amount of compensation you can expect to receive for your pain and suffering will depend greatly on the severity of your accident. Some individuals receive several thousands of dollars for their pain and suffering, while victims of particularly severe pain and suffering might receive hundreds of thousands. Our team at Cellino Law can leverage the expertise at our disposal to calculate the value of your pain and suffering and strive for the best possible settlement.

Maximizing Your Chances for a Favorable Outcome for Your Claim

In the moments, hours and days following a motor vehicle accident, there are certain steps you should follow not only for your personal well-being but also for strengthening your personal injury claim. Your top priorities after a major collision might include:

  • Calling 911 and waiting at the scene for police responders
  • Seeking immediate medical attention
  • Documenting the accident with photos and videos if possible
  • Exchanging information with the other driver and any witnesses
  • Reporting the accident to your auto insurance provider

It is important to keep in mind that insurance companies will review items such as medical records, receipts and records of lost wages from your employer when calculating your pain and suffering. Maintaining your own documentation and having a legal professional on your side will help ensure that the evidence is in your favor.

Involving a personal injury attorney and starting the claims process soon after your accident can also be a good idea. The state of New York enforces a statute of limitations of three years for filing a claim after a car accident, but waiting too long can reduce your chances of receiving full compensation due to the loss of evidence over time.

Seeking Help From a Personal Injury Attorney

There are many complex facets to a personal injury case, particularly when it comes to calculating and pursuing pain and suffering damages. Insurance adjusters have more experience and resources at their disposal when it comes to negotiating such settlements, but having a personal injury attorney in your corner can level the playing field.

Our attorneys at Cellino Law can help your case by:

  • Investigating the circumstances of your accident
  • Submitting a personal injury claim on your behalf
  • Leading the negotiations with insurance providers
  • Representing you in court if necessary
  • Providing support at every step of the process

Contact Cellino Law for a Free Consultation

Pain and suffering is difficult to define in a car accident case, but working closely with an experienced personal injury attorney can help ensure that you have every advantage available in proving your damages and calculating your possible settlement no matter what calculation method the court chooses to use. When you need support, guidance or practiced advocacy in the wake of a devastating motor vehicle accident, the team at Cellino Law is only a phone call away. Call us today by dialing (888) 888-8888 or fill out our online form for a free consultation.



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  • Cellino Law is an amazing firm with a great team. I worked with Greg Pajak and his assistant, Tracey Falconer. I cannot express enough how dedicated they are. The personal attention I received was excellent; they were always available to help with questions and concerns and put me at ease in the unknown territory I found myself in. I highly recommend them to anyone needing representation. A huge thank you to them for all they accomplished for me!


  • Cellino Law was a great company to work with. From the beginning they came out and met with my uncle and myself and assured us that everything would be taken care of from beginning to end our lawyer state and constant contact with us to make sure that everything would go smoothly and it did. I would definitely recommend anybody to go to Cellino Law for whatever help they need. And specifically please ask for the lawyer that we had Mr. Alan Silverstein. He was amazing and his staff was always attentive. Please go with them for your next law needs.


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  • I am so grateful for your expertise, patience, and perseverance which resulted with such a successful settlement regarding my car accident. I also want to let you know how impressed I was with you and your firm and I won't hesitate to recommend you to anyone who needs assistance from an accident. I truly appreciated your care and professionalism. Thank you again for your kindness and support


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  • Choosing the right attorney to represent you after an accident can make all the difference. This is no cliche. I recently experienced these words to live by first hand. After a tractor trailer rear ended me at high speed in 2017 I retained Allan Silverstein to handle my case. I quickly realized that bringing a lawsuit rapidly snowballs into a mountain of details that can make or break your results. Documents, case histories, doctor visits, bills, and lots of phone calls all need to be accurately kept track of if a successful outcome it to be attained. To complicate matters I reside in New York and the incident took place in New Jersey. Luckily, Allan was licensed in multiple states. I was fortunate to find Allan to handle this matter from the New York area. Armed with an accurate account of the facts Allan went to work on the difficult job of negotiating with the defending insurance company as well as my no fault carrier in order to obtain the best possible outcome for my set of circumstances. In a lawsuit communication is key and and events can be of a timely nature. Allan never failed to return my calls - usually the same day! He fought skillfully and respectfully to get me the best possible settlement. He is easy to deal with and a likeable down to earth guy. He always listened with compassion and respect to my issues. He guided me with objective understanding as well as a realistic analysis of the merits of my case. When we finally settled Allan got me a fair agreement beyond my expectations and negotiated with my doctors to make sure all my bills were paid. It was a great experience having Allan represent me. Quality work in any aspect of life is hard to find. Quality is what I got with Allan Silverstein. I highly recommend him if you find yourself in need of a personal injury attorney.