Calculating Car Insurance Damages Due to Pain and Suffering

Calculating car insurance damages isn't easy. Many different factors determine compensation for pain and suffering. Documentation is a key element in calculating car insurance damage assessments, so it's very important to keep records of any experiences related to the accident. If you don't agree with the way your insurance company is calculating car insurance damages, contact an attorney and start comparing car insurance quotes online to find a different provider.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Aug 15, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Many factors go into determining compensation for pain and suffering
  • If you work, and miss work due to an accident, you can be compensated for that
  • A homemaker may suffer financial loss due to pain and suffering if they are unable to take family members to their various activities

It is difficult to give a straight answer to, “How are car insurance pain and suffering damages calculated.” The calculation of pain and suffering after an accident depends on many factors.

One of the biggest factors may be the attorney you hire to represent you.

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If you experienced an accident where you sustained injuries, it was probably traumatic.

Documentation is a key element in these cases. It is important to keep a record or hard copy of experiences related to the accident. Your case may even boil down to a decision strictly based on your documentation.

How are pain and suffering damages calculated for my type of business?


Standards are set by each state; therefore, how your losses, pain, and suffering are calculated is determined by the laws in your state. When people talk about pain and suffering they must first define what it means to them.

  • Pain pertains to the physical consequences of the accident
  • Suffering may pertain to the consequences of lost wages in addition to physical or mental consequences

If you are losing time from work, you may be falling behind on your bills. Documentation of this problem is necessary. Transportation expense tracking is also necessary for reimbursement.

You may be entitled to reimbursement for trips back and forth to your doctor’s appointments.

Lost wages are calculated by your daily wage. This is multiplied by the number of days you lost from work. When experts want to approximate, they say damages are awarded based on three times your medical bills.

Further details are determined by each state.

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The terms of your insurance policy will also be a factor in how much they pay in medical bills versus the co-pays you are responsible for.

Many health insurance policies require the subscriber to pay out-of-pocket and request reimbursement. This could mean tapping into your personal funds until reimbursement is received. This may be taken into consideration.

Here are some other circumstances to consider regarding pain and suffering:

  • Business owners – If you are a business owner, and you have to halt production because you cannot work, this may impact your standing in your particular market. Now your suffering is increased because of the uncertainty and anxiety. Whether you represent yourself or have an attorney to represent you, these are important factors.
  • Employees – They have the additional concern of whether they will have a job to go back to after recuperating from an accident. The longer you are out of work the more your final car insurance settlement should be. If you continue to see the doctor on a regular basis, your award for medical bills will escalate. This information is not guaranteed.
  • Entrepreneurs – You may be an entrepreneur without medical insurance. Your car insurance company will take up the responsibility within the limits of the terms of your policy in no-fault coverage states.

If your policy has personal injury or uninsured motorist protection, your medical expenses may be covered.

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How are pain and suffering damages calculated if I am a homemaker?


How is pain and suffering damage calculated? Homemakers who are victims of injuries from a car accident do not have to have employment to suffer lost wages or pain and suffering. A good attorney may be able to make this case.

This is especially true if you are a mother or father of young children who depend on you to transport them to and from everyday activities.

Anything that changes your lifestyle on some level causes suffering, especially if you experience anxiety as a result.

Obvious pain and suffering resulting from an accident should entitle you to damages in your state. Documentation and pictures of injuries, bruising, and any other evidence of pain will help make your case stand up in court.

How are pain and suffering damages calculated if I am unemployed?


As long as you have car insurance at the time of your car accident, it does not matter that you are unemployed. If your car insurance premium is current, your entitlement to pain and suffering is very possible.

If you are at fault in an accident where the other driver is seriously hurt, then they may receive compensation from your insurance company as well as theirs.

Pain and suffering in the case of a car accident depend on too many factors to speculate. Every accident and the parties involved are going to be different each time.

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