How does State Farm calculate pain and suffering from a car accident?

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How does State Farm calculate pain and suffering from a car accident?


State Farm evaluates a car accident injury claim in much the same way as any other insurance carrier: by examining the specific facts of the underlying accident (how it happened, who was at fault) and the claimant’s injuries (seriousness of injuries, course of medical treatment, prospects for a full recovery).

“Pain and suffering” damages are typically awarded as part of any car insurance settlement, but not everyone who files an injury claim knows what “pain and suffering” is, and how compensation is calculated.    

After a car accident, there are some types of losses that are easy to calculate (and therefore pretty easy to compensate for). A dollar figure can be easily attached to your medical bills, vehicle damage, and even to any time you missed at work (because of the car accident and your medical treatment or rehabilitation). These quantifiable losses are known as “special damages” in the personal injury law parlance.

The other main category of damages in a personal injury case is “general damages.” This includes pain and suffering and other losses associated with the accident that are real, but not so easily quantified. “Pain and suffering” encompasses a lot of the negative ancillary effects of the accident and your injuries -- everything from physical discomfort to stress and emotional distress and anxiety. Learn more about Pain and Suffering in Car Accident Cases.  

So, how does State Farm (and any other car insurance carrier for that matter) go about figuring out how much to offer (and ultimately pay) a claimant when it comes to pain and suffering damages? There are a few different approaches, but the most common is the use of a “multiplier.” In this system, your “special damages” (discussed above) are added up and multiplied by a number between one-and-a-half and four (or five).

This number (the multiplier) will be lower or higher depending on a few common factors -- such as the seriousness of your injuries, the length of your recovery time, whether there will be any permanent health problems associated with the accident, and whether or not any aggravating circumstances exist (the at-fault driver was drunk, for example). Learn more about Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages After a Car Accident.