Motor vehicle accidents are among the most common causes of serious injuries in our region. According to data published by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS), 60,566 people were injured in crashes in the state in 2017 alone. The road to recovery after a serious accident can be long and frustrating. Through an auto accident claim, you can seek financial support to help pay your medical bills, cover your lost wages, and compensate you for pain and suffering.
This raises an important question: How much pain and suffering compensation can be recovered after a car accident? Unfortunately, there is no quick or easy answer to this question—it always depends on the nature and severity of your injuries. Here, our Greenwood car accident lawyer explains what you need to know about how pain and suffering damages are calculated in South Carolina.
No Clear Bright Line Rule: Pain and Suffering Must Be Reasonable
As defined in Black’s Law Dictionary, pain and suffering refers to a person’s inability to live a normal life due to mental or physical trauma. As it is an inherently intangible concept, it is difficult to put a precise dollar figure on the value of pain and suffering damages. Of course, difficult to value damages are still real damages. They must be compensated.
South Carolina case law instructs judges and juries to award damages that are “reasonable” given the specific circumstances of the case. There is no ‘bright line’ rule or ‘formula’ for how these damages will be calculated. Instead, judges and juries consider the nature of the accident and the severity of a victim’s injuries.
Economic Damages Help to Establish the Basis for Pain and Suffering
In most cases, a car accident victim’s economic damages will be used to help establish the basis for pain and suffering damages. As a general rule, South Carolina courts will use the multiplier method to calculate the value of pain and suffering damages. The total value of a person’s economic damages—medical bills and lost wages—will be multiplied by a number between ‘1’ and ‘5’ to determine the appropriate value for pain and suffering damages.
As an example, if you had $10,000 in medical bills and $5,000 in lost wages after a crash, that would be $14,000 in total economic losses. With a multiplier of ‘1.5’, a car accident victim would be eligible to recover an additional $21,000 for pain and suffering on top of their economic recovery. Under this type of system, it is imperative that your actual economic losses are properly documented. An experienced South Carolina auto accident attorney can help.
Maximizing Compensation Depends on Proving Liability
Finally, it is important to note that South Carolina operates under a comparative fault standard. Under state law (S.C. Code § 15-1-300), a car accident victim’s level of compensation can be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault for the crash. For example, if a motorist was deemed 20 percent liable for their own accident, their financial compensation would be reduced accordingly—this includes their recovery for pain and suffering.
Contact Our South Carolina Auto Accident Attorney for Immediate Assistance
At Powers Law, LLC, our South Carolina car accident lawyer seeks the best result for injured victims. We will help you recover full and fair financial compensation for your pain and suffering. For a no fee, no obligation review of your case, please contact our legal team today. From our office location in Greenwood, we represent injured victims throughout Upstate and the midlands of South Carolina.