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How Are Pain & Suffering Damages Calculated in a Personal Injury Case?

how to calculate pain and suffering

An accident caused by someone’s negligence or wrongdoing may result in pain and suffering for the victim in the form of physical injuries, lost earnings, property damage, and trauma. The victim is legally entitled to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent individual or entity and claim financial damages for their pain and suffering.  

Typically, there are two types of damages in a personal injury case: economic and non-economic. Economic damages like medical expenses, lost income, and property damage, are quite straightforward and easy to identify and calculate. On the other hand, non-economic damages like emotional pain and mental suffering can prove to be complicated to determine and calculate.

Let us take a look at the legal definition of pain and suffering, and the role of an experienced personal injury attorney in proving it, either by negotiating an insurance settlement or by bringing a lawsuit in a court of law.

How Does the Law Define Pain & Suffering?

Under the law, the term “pain and suffering” encompasses the complete range of injuries that a victim may have suffered in an accident, including not only physical injuries, but also emotional and mental suffering like anguish, fear, anxiety, grief, and loss of enjoyment in life. The law grants the plaintiff rights to seek and recover damages in a personal injury case, however small or large, for pain and suffering.

How to Prove Pain & Suffering?

While the law entitles you to claim and recover financial compensation for your pain and suffering, you will still need to prove your injuries and damages in a court of law if you decide to go to trial. Conclusively establishing your injuries, losses, and damages, needs expert legal guidance and due diligence in gathering evidence to determine your claim.

Evidence for establishing your pain and suffering claim may include photographic evidence, personal journals that document your feelings, accounts from family about the negative impact of your injury on your life, documentary evidence of treatment, and visits to a mental health care professional for anxiety or depression.

How to Calculate Pain & Suffering in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Physical pain, which may include traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, fractures, broken bones, and lacerations, is quite obvious and visible. However, emotional and mental suffering, which may include sleep disorders, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression, is not easily discernible or quantifiable.

While there are no specific methods to accurately calculate financial damages for pain and suffering, the law usually uses the following two mechanisms to arrive at a conclusive compensation amount in personal injury lawsuits:

The Multiplier Method

The multiplier method is the more established and widely utilized process to calculate pain and suffering compensation. This method adds up all the economic damages and multiplies their sum by a number between 1.5 and 5. Number 3 is the multiplier that is often used to calculate the final figure, being closer to the median.

The economic damages in personal injury litigation include medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. The circumstances surrounding a case, the extent of injuries, and their effect on future medical costs, are the factors that determine what number between 1.5 and 5 should be used as the multiplier. The extent of the defendant’s negligence and misconduct is also a factor when deciding the multiplier number to calculate pain and suffering damages.  

The Per Diem Method

Another method employed to calculate pain and suffering damages is the per diem (Latin for “per day”) method. This method aims to press for a specific amount of financial compensation for every day that the victim endures pain and suffering due to their injuries.

Usually, your attorney uses your daily earnings or wages before you met with the accident, as the basis to demand financial compensation for your injuries and damages. However, there are much higher prospects of a challenge by the defense lawyer or insurer in this method.

What Is a Reasonable Settlement for Your Pain & Suffering?

First, calculate an approximate figure using one of the methods above. Also, bear in mind any additional circumstances that might affect the final amount. If the settlement offer by the at-fault party’s insurance company is reasonably close to your calculation, your attorney may have a chance to successfully negotiate the settlement.

Personal Injury Attorney in Louisville, KY, Can Help You Recover Maximum Damages for Your Injuries

Skilled personal injury attorneys at John H. Ruby & Associates will work resolutely to protect your legal rights and maximize your financial compensation claim. Our seasoned and competent Kentucky personal injury lawyers can adeptly negotiate with the insurance company or take your case to trial if needed.

A committed and competent attorney can substantially enhance your chances of recovering full and fair compensation for your injuries, and if the accident occurred in Kentucky, John H. Ruby & Associates is ready to go to work for you. To schedule your free, no-obligation consultation, message us online or call today at (502) 373-8044.