There is a common misconception in the public that if you are injured in a car accident in Georgia, your claim for pain and suffering is worth two times the medical bills or three times the medical bills. This is simply not true. It may be been in the early 1980s but those days are long gone.
We have many anxious car accident victims who call trying to earnestly and honestly find some objective way to compute what a “fair settlement” is. The short answer is that each case is different; each injury is different.
In another article, we discussed the factors that go into deciding the value of a claim:
1. Liability: Whether responsibility is clear
2. Venue: The County in which the at fault driver lives and whether it is conservative(rural) or liberal(urban)
3. The Amount of Insurance Coverage in the Policy and the Character of the Insurance Co. and their Adjuster.
4. The Total of the Medical Bills and Whether they were incurred clearly as a result of the crash.
5. The nature of the injury, permanent or temporary.
Examples of Injuries With High Bills But Not Much Long Term Effect.
Multiple CT or MRI scans from the hospital cause huge emergency room bills in excess of $15,000.00 and yet if they are negative and there is not much follow up care, you may not see a case value that is even twice the medical bills.
Broken Noses sound and feel terrible but after a month or two there are few residual effects.
Soft tissue injuries with an emergency room visit and chiropractic care can have bills in the $5,000 to $7,000 range and yet you will find that insurance companies will only pay the medical bills or marginally above. This is primarily because they are aware that most chiropractors will reduce their bills by 50% to 70%.
Injuries with Smaller Bills but Seriously Painful Side Effects where the Pain and Suffering Can Be Manyfold the medical total
Broken Ribs are notoriously painful for months on end and yet there are few medical bills associated with them because there is no cure or surgery. Even with $1,000 in bills, these cases are worth $10,000.00.
Broken Legs- Surgery can be reasonably priced even with rods and screws. For example in two cases from 2011, one client had a compound femur fracture with a rod inserted and yet her medical bills only came to $29,000.00 with only physical therapy as follow up. We were able to settle her case for the available policy limits of $250,000.00.
In another example our client fractured both her tibia and fibula and had rods, plates and screws installed. Her medical bills only came to $61,000 despite three surgeries as the surgery was done at Erlanger Hospital in Tennessee, Her case will be settled for $350,000.
The message here is that there is no easy formula by which you can calculate pain and suffering. It will always be on a case by case basis.