How much do I ask for due to pain/suffering/inconvenience regarding a car accident?

UPDATED: Aug 15, 2011

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How much do I ask for due to pain/suffering/inconvenience regarding a car accident?

About 4 weeks ago an uninsured/unlicensed driver totaled my car while I was sitting at a red light. I had uninsured drivers coverage on my insurance. My car was looked at by the adjuster and we came to a fair price as to what my car was worth. Now, my insurance agency would like me to come up with a “price” as to what my pain/suffering/etc is worth (all of my medical bills are covered so I am not to include those in this check). I was told that I would get no less than $500. I don’t want to ask for too much. Where should I start? Remember this is my insurance company I don’t want them to later on drop me.

Asked on August 15, 2011 Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There is no simple answer: pain and suffering claims depend as to the circumstances. Generally speaking, the longer-lasting the injury, the greater the disability or inability to do normal life or work things, if there is an disfigurement, what you have been forced to give up (if anything), etc. are all things that would increase the pain and suffering award, if the matter were ever to go to trial (and hence are factors to consider in settlement). Conversely, if there is no disability or disfigurement, if the pain is resolved more quickly, if you weren't prevented from doing normal life or work functions, etc., the award would be smaller.

If you want a quick rule of thumb, a large percentage of pain and suffering awards will be 1 - 3 times what your medical costs would have been (had you paid them yourself).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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