How Do Courts Calculate Damages For Pain And Suffering?

In personal injury cases, courts award certain damages to compensate injured victims for the economic losses they’ve sustained in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. These can include medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. But depending on the situation, injured parties may also be entitled to non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

However, while pain and suffering are essential to get compensated for the money an injured person deserves, they’re challenging to calculate. Luckily, some methods are used to determine a specific compensation for this non-economic loss.

Continue reading this article to learn how courts calculate damages for pain and suffering.

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What Are Pain And Suffering?

Essentially, pain and suffering refer to any damage a person can get compensated for an injury that isn’t based on receipts. In other words, they refer to anything associated with an injury that costs some money other than the medical bills and lost income.

Some examples of circumstances that warrant the awarding of damages for pain and suffering may include:

  • Emotional distress;
  • Embarrassment;
  • Depression;
  • Inconvenience;
  • Physical pain;
  • Permanent disability or anything that adversely affects one’s life.

Now that you know the components of pain and suffering, it’s time to familiarize yourself with the factors that could impact your compensation. The following factors could help determine what’s a reasonable amount of damages to be awarded to you as the injured party:

  • The gravity of the defendant’s negligent behavior;
  • The severity of the plaintiff’s injuries;
  • The prognosis of your injuries;
  • The negative impact of the injuries on the injured victim’s life;
  • The impact of the injured victim’s employment and overall health;
  • The amount of time it took the injured victim to heal and recover from the injuries;
  • The extent and nature of medical treatments already received and needed in the future.

Some personal injury cases may have aggravating factors that can affect the perceived pain and suffering a victim has experienced. 

An example of an aggravating factor is gross neglect involving extreme recklessness or disregard for the safety of others. For instance, driving under the influence of any addictive substance or alcohol or ignoring safety regulations in a work environment. These can intensify the impact of an injury, leading to increased pain and overall harm.

With these factors, you’ll have an estimated idea of how much compensation you may receive for your pain and suffering. On the other hand, dealing with pain and suffering can be complicated, especially if the injured victim has no idea what to do in the first place. So, if you’ve suffered an injury due to another person’s negligence, it may be best to work with legal professionals like Fasig | Brooks Personal Injury Lawyers. They’re familiar with the ins and outs of personal injury law, so they can improve your chances of getting compensated for the pain and suffering.

Remember, most dedicated personal injury lawyers have valuable years of experience and a good track record of handling and winning personal injury cases. Thus, make sure to choose the one who is the right fit for your situation.

What Are The Methods Used For Calculating Pain And Suffering?

Generally, damages for pain and suffering can be difficult to calculate since there are no receipts or documents on which to base your calculations. However, the courts have found ways to find a figure for pain and suffering. These can include:

The Per Diem Method 

This is one of the common methods used to compute the pain and suffering damages. Generally, the per diem method is intended to provide a specific amount of compensation for each day you, as an injured person, must deal with pain and suffering because of the injuries.

Under this method, the courts will utilize your daily earnings before getting involved in an accident as the primary basis for the computation. However, using the per diem method may not be a good idea if you have long-term or permanent injuries. If you have to experience the adverse consequences of the injuries for the rest of your life, the result of the computation would be so substantial that the courts may deny it.

The Multiplier Method 

Unlike the per diem method, the multiplier method can be considered the most established procedure for computing damages for pain and suffering. It aims to add up all the economic losses and multiply the sum by a number ranging from 1.5 to 5.

Typically, numbers closer to 1.5 are more common multipliers used by the courts. But for long-term injuries, they utilize higher multipliers. For example, if your injuries are severe but don’t result in long-term pain and suffering, a lower number like two may be the appropriate multiplier.

Moreover, courts consider various factors when using the multiplier method. These can include the extent of the injuries, circumstances of the case, the extent of the at-fault party’s negligence, and misconduct.

Algorithm Method 

Generally, the algorithm method is used by insurance companies to figure out settlement offers. Under this procedure, the insurer provides information associated with the injury, and the program assigns a number that will be used for the computation. But like the multiplier method, certain factors are also considered, such as your age and gender, recovery length, and severity of physical damages.

Although insurance companies commonly apply the algorithm method, the courts have the discretion to use it when calculating the pain and suffering damages.

Pain Professional Method 

Compared to other calculation processes, the pain professional method is less common. But despite that, some courts make use of this procedure, depending on your personal circumstances.

Typically, the pain professional method works by setting out the pain and suffering that you have to endure because of the accident. Once you’ve described the suffering, the next step is to determine the amount of money to be paid to cover the non-economic losses. For example, the courts will consider how much you should get paid when you have to be in a wheelchair for a specific period.

Ways To Increase Your Pain And Suffering Compensation  

Awarding compensation for pain and suffering depends upon the evidence you present to prove and win your personal injury claim. Hence, if you want to make the most out of the pain and suffering damages you’ll recover, below are the pieces of evidence you should collect:

  • Medical records;
  • Photos of the injuries;
  • Daily journal about your pain and feelings;
  • Prescriptions;
  • Psychologist’s findings about your emotional suffering;
  • Testimonies from the people who knew you before and after the accident.

By gathering these documents and records, you may be able to prove that someone else’s negligence caused you pain and suffering.

Just note that these cases involve strict deadlines for filing claims and submitting paperwork. A lawyer can ensure that all necessary documents are filed correctly and within the required timeframe, preventing potential issues that could jeopardize the victim’s right to receive compensation.

Insurance companies often try to minimize payouts and may undervalue pain and suffering damages in the process. Fortunately, personal injury lawyers are expert negotiators. They serve as advocates on behalf of the victim and work to secure a fair settlement.

A personal injury attorney can also take the case to court if an amicable arrangement isn’t apparent. They will represent the victim’s interests, provide the necessary evidence, and argue for their deserved compensation.

On the client’s end, they must cooperate with the lawyer to help strengthen their case. Maintain open communication to ensure your interests are prioritized.

Final Thoughts 

Being an injured person is never easy. There are many things to consider, including the financial consequences of the injuries. However, knowing the amount of compensation you’re entitled to may be difficult, especially if you need to include the pain and suffering in the calculation. Fortunately, by keeping the information mentioned above in mind, you’ll have an idea of how the courts calculate damages for pain and suffering. When this happens, you’ll also know how much you’re going to receive from your injuries.