calculating pain and suffering in a personal injury case

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

If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may have looked into a personal injury suit. In addition to the obvious and measurable costs that come with an injury, such as medical bills and lost wages, you may also be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. This is not a cut-and-dry expense, since you’re essentially putting a price on your subjective experience. Learn more about how insurance companies calculate this to understand how much you may receive.

Ready to take the next step in your personal injury case? The team at Burns, Cunningham & Mackey is here for you. Call us at 251-432-0612 to learn more about your options.

What Pain and Suffering Covers

This type of compensation covers a wide range of different types of pain and suffering. It includes compensation for the physical pain you suffer from an injury, whether that’s a mild concussion, an amputation that requires months of physical therapy, or something in between the two extremes. However, it also covers the mental and emotional suffering you go through as a result of your injury.

You may experience a significant decrease in your quality of life if your injury leaves you with PTSD or an anxiety disorder. If your injury limits your physical capabilities and independence, you may also suffer depression and grief. This category of compensation should make you whole for these losses.

Multiplier Method

One common method used to calculate pain and suffering damages is the multiplier method. This involves adding up the calculable losses you have suffered because of your accident, including lost wages, medical bills, and property damage. The insurance company then uses that number as the basis for your pain and suffering. They multiply it by a number that’s typically between 1.5 and 5, based on the severity of your injuries and the extent to which they affect your life.

For example, someone with a broken arm would have a lower multiplier than someone whose injuries leave them paralyzed. If the liable party was extremely negligent or careless in their actions, this could also affect your multiplier.

Per Diem Method

Although this method is less common, it is still the preferred calculation for some insurance companies and attorneys. Per diem, which translates to “per day,” compensates you a set amount for each day that your injury causes pain and suffering. Determining a daily rate for your pain and suffering is challenging, which is why many prefer the multiplier method.

Even if your attorney suggests a completely reasonable amount, you can expect the insurance company to say that it’s too much. Your attorney may base your per diem rate on how much money you earn in a typical day at work and adjust the number based on the severity of your injuries.

Documenting Your Pain and Suffering

Getting a fair payout for your pain and suffering requires thorough documentation and proof of your injuries. Your attorney can help you track your pain levels and prove how your injuries affect your life. You may keep track of days you have to leave work due to pain, note household chores you can’t do because of your pain level, and report hobbies you can no longer do. Many attorneys recommend that victims maintain a personal injury journal. This helps verify economic damages, such as lost wages, as well as pain and suffering.

You might note your pain level on a scale from 1 to 10 each day, keep detailed notes when pain changes your plans, and record negative changes in your mental state due to your injury. Having friends and family testify to changes in your personality and behavior can also be beneficial. When you provide enough proof for your pain and suffering, it is much more difficult for the insurance company to claim that you are asking for too much.

Choose Burns, Cunningham & Mackey for Your Personal Injury Claim

You’ve been injured because of someone else’s neglect or carelessness. What’s your next step? At Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, we strive to make this challenging time as easy as possible for you and help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Take the first step now by calling us at 251-432-0612 or getting in touch with our team online.

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