How To Calculate Pain And Suffering

December 05 2023 | Personal Injury Lawyer Blog
  • How to calculate pain and suffering

    Personal injury claims often include damages for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering damages can impact a claim and the compensation that a personal injury victim is able to recover. The way that pain and suffering is calculated can be different depending on the calculation methods, individual circumstances of the injured victim, the type of personal injury claim, and how effective your personal injury lawyer is at proving pain and suffering damages, either through settlement negotiations, or by arguing a case in front of a judge or jury.

    In this article, we’ll discuss what pain and suffering is under the law, how pain and suffering is calculated, and how an experienced personal injury lawyer can help ensure that you recover the compensation you deserve for your short-term and long-term damages.

    What is pain and suffering?

    Pain and suffering are complex experiences that involve both physical and emotional elements. Pain and suffering includes the physical anguish or discomfort, emotional pain or distress, mental suffering or mental anguish, mood swings, inconvenience, and trauma. From a legal perspective, pain and suffering is typically associated with an injury due to someone else’s negligence.

    Pain and suffering damages are classified as non economic damages, meaning there is no clear monetary value associated with them, such as medical bills or other expenses where a receipt or bill can be produced. Economic damages are typically much easier to calculate, while placing a dollar amount on someone’s pain or emotional well-being is much more challenging. However, an attorney who is experienced in various calculation methods and negotiation strategies can help victims recover compensation for these intangible costs of an injury.

    When trying to understand pain and suffering damages, it is helpful to think about how pain and suffering contributes to a victim’s loss of enjoyment of life. Loss of enjoyment of life refers to the reduction or inability for a victim to take part in activities or experiences that previously brought them pleasure, a sense of fulfillment, or joy. This can include hobbies, social interactions, recreational activities, or other parts of daily life that may be restricted or impossible due to the physical pain or mental limitations they now suffer as a result of the injury caused by a negligent party.

    Additionally, quality of life can be a component of a pain and suffering claim. This is similar to loss of enjoyment, but is more centered around the new responsibilities and obligations that the victim may have to deal with, such as regular doctor visits, physical therapy, or other activities that they would not have otherwise had to perform if they were not injured due to negligence.

    Can you sue for pain and suffering?

    Yes, individuals can sue for pain and suffering damages as part of a personal injury claim. Even injuries that are less severe can lead to pain and suffering, such as soft tissue injuries, and should not be minimized.

    Proving a pain and suffering claim is often when things become challenging and where an experienced injury law firm can help.

    In a lawsuit, proving pain and suffering often involves presenting evidence of the injury’s impact on the individual’s life, demonstrating medical records that document the extent of the physical injuries and emotional injuries, detailing the medical treatment the injured victim has received or medical care they may require in the future, expert witness testimonies, and other supporting evidence to substantiate the claim.

    A personal injury law firm with the proper resources and experience can help prove pain and suffering claims to recover the most compensation possible.

    Pain and suffering claim calculation methods

    Calculating compensation for current and future pain and suffering in legal contexts aims to address the emotional and psychological toll of this loss, and because placing a dollar value on the loss of enjoyment is subjective, insurance companies have established a number of methods to arrive at what they believe to be fair compensation for pain and suffering claims.

    However, as you’ll learn, these methods are often meant to benefit the insurance company, which is why Tennessee personal injury lawyers or Kentucky personal injury lawyers should always be consulted before agreeing to any settlement offer from the insurance company based on their calculations.

    Method 1: Multiplier Method

    A common method that insurance companies will use when calculating pain and suffering damages is the multiplier method. This method is based off of the victim’s actual economic damages (medical bills, lost wages, property damage, etc.). For the purpose of a simple explanation, let’s assume the victim suffered $50,000 in economic damages in a car accident.

    After the economic damages have been established ($50,000 in this case), a multiplier is chosen based on the extent of the injuries and other factors. This multiplier typically will range from 1.5 to 5, with 5 being the most serious injury. Once the multiplier is established, the economic damages are multiplied by the chosen multiplier to arrive at the value of the non economic damages. Let’s assume the multiplier in this case is 3.

    In this scenario, the pain and suffering damages would equate to $150,000 ($50,000 in economic damages times a multiplier of 3).

    Method 2: Per Diem Method

    The per diem (for each day) method calculates pain and suffering damages by multiplying a daily dollar value that the insurance company has assigned to the pain and suffering. This value can be based on medical assessments, expert opinions, or the nature of the injury. This dollar value is then multiplied by the estimated number of days the individual is expected to endure pain and suffering due to the injury caused by negligence.

    Let’s now assume that the daily value is determined to be $100, and that the insurance company determines that the injured victim is expected to experience physical pain and emotional distress for one year, or 365 days.

    In this scenario, the total pain and suffering damages calculate to $35,600 ($100 per day times 365 days).

    Multiplier Method vs. Per Diem Method

    As you can see, the method which is chosen to calculating pain and suffering damages, the multiplier, and the value assigned, can have a significant impact on the compensation accident victims may recover in a pain and suffering claim.

    In the prior examples, if using the per diem method, it would need to be established that the injury victim would be suffering for 1,500 days, or approximately 4 years in order to reach the $150,000 settlement amount that would be awarded if using the multiplier method example.

    Why pain and suffering damages should be calculated by a personal injury lawyer

    Pain and suffering damages calculated by the insurance companies should never be taken at face value. Whether using the multiplier method or the per diem method, the insurance company will choose the calculation method that benefits them the most. Most insurance companies also have proprietary software that they use to provide them with the best possible outcome for their bottom line. Remember, the insurance company’s goal is not to award you a fair settlement. Their goal is to pay you as little as possible. The easiest way for them to do this is to manipulate the math in their favor.

    To understand how much compensation may be available for pain and suffering, an injury claim should be handled by an experienced attorney that can ensure you receive maximum compensation.

    An experienced injury lawyer can fight on your behalf towards a calculation that works in your favor, and can also account for details that these calculations may overlook. The pain and suffering component of any personal injury case is a critical piece of the total compensation that you may be entitled to in a personal injury claim, and final settlement amounts in personal injury cases are typically best when negotiated by a skilled personal injury attorney who will account for all of your physical and emotional damages.

    How much is pain and suffering worth in a personal injury claim?

    Pain and suffering compensation can be worth a substantial amount, however there is no set amount. Physical and emotional pain is different for everyone, therefore pain and suffering compensation is also different for everyone. Even though there are calculations involved that make this process seem like a formula, these are simply starting points.

    When represented by an experienced injury firm that has the resources to properly investigate and support a pain and suffering claim, additional details can be uncovered that can dramatically impact the amount that an injury victim is entitled to.

    Are online pain and suffering calculators accurate or realistic?

    Although there are a number of “pain and suffering calculators” available online, they should not be relied upon or accepted as accurate. Typically pain and suffering calculators will be accompanied by disclaimers, which support the nature of their inaccuracy.

    The most reliable way to find out how much your pain and suffering compensation is worth is to speak with a qualified personal injury attorney.

    At Hughes & Coleman, we offer free case evaluations to help you understand how much compensation you may be entitled to.

    Call us today for a free consultation at 800-800-4600.

    What is the average settlement amount for pain and suffering?

    There is no average settlement amount for pain and suffering in car accident claims, however there are variations in different states on what amounts an injury victim may be entitled to, with some states limiting how much an injury victim can recover from non-economic damages. These limitations are referred to as caps, or statutory limits, which means that pain and suffering compensation is “capped” or cut off at a certain amount.

    In Kentucky, there are no caps in place for pain and suffering in car accident claims. Caps are however in place for pain and suffering in medical malpractice claims.

    In Tennessee, as of 2023 the statutory cap for non-economic damages is $750,000 for most personal injury cases.

    Pain and suffering settlement examples

    Although each pain and suffering claim is different, below are a few examples of how Hughes & Coleman has helped injured victims recover pain and suffering and other damages.

    Bowling Green personal injury lawyers obtained a $400,000 car accident settlement – 4 times the initial offer.

    Nashville personal injury lawyers obtained a $725,000 car accident settlement after an initial offer of only $65,000. In this case, the insurance company claimed that the pain was due to our client’s age.

    Nashville dog bite lawyers obtained a $300,000 dog bite settlement for our client’s pain and suffering.

    Lexington truck accident lawyers obtained a $6.7 million jury verdict for a norther Kentucky client due to the negligence of a corporate tow truck company.

    Elizabethtown personal injury lawyers obtained a $250,000 car accident settlement for a client who was injured due to another driver’s negligence.

    Let a pain and suffering lawyer help you recover every dollar you deserve

    If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, a lawyer for pain and suffering can help ensure you recover every dollar you’re entitled to.

    Contact our legal team today for a free consultation.


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