How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated?
Posted on Thursday, September 1st, 2022 at 2:11 pm
Calculating the value of something intangible, like pain and suffering, is complicated. You know the pain and suffering you endured after the accident entitles you to compensation. However, determining the amount you should receive can be challenging.
Pain and suffering differs significantly from expenses, such as lost wages and medical bills. You can refer to a billing statement or physical report for these losses. Monetizing pain and suffering requires careful preparation and a specific formula.
An Overview of Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury
Besides medical treatment, property damage, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses, many personal injury cases also involve pain and suffering. In a personal injury case, pain and suffering refers to the physical and emotional pain of getting hurt in an accident someone else causes. If you pursue legal action against the at-fault party, you could recover compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced.
Two types of pain and suffering exist in personal injury: physical and emotional.
Physical Pain and Suffering
Physical pain and suffering is the physical effects of an injury. Common injuries and conditions that can qualify for compensation for physical pain and suffering include:
- Nerve damage
- Spinal cord injury
- Diseases from exposure to toxic chemicals
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Different forms of cancer
Some injuries have long-lasting consequences. Even after seeking medical treatment, symptoms can continue and interfere with a person’s daily life. Permanent damage, impairment, or disability affects the accident victim’s physical abilities.
Emotional Pain and Suffering
The emotional, mental, or psychological distress from an accident constitutes emotional pain and suffering. Chronic psychological issues or mental anguish can linger long after the physical wounds heal.
Common types of emotional pain and suffering include:
- Anxiety and stress
- Reduced quality of life
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Diminished or loss of enjoyment of life
Calculating Pain and Suffering Compensation
Your personal injury attorney might use a formula to calculate the compensation you should receive for your pain and suffering. With the multiplier method, you first calculate the value of financial losses, such as lost wages, medical costs, and other expenses. Then, you multiply that number by a multiplier between 1.5 and 5.
The severity of the injury often determines the appropriate multiplier to use during calculations. For example, a minor injury, such as a muscle sprain, might result in a 1.5 or 2 multiplier. A more severe injury, such as a permanent disability, could justify using a 4 or 5 multiplier.
Another method of calculating pain and suffering compensation is a “per diem” model. Talk with your attorney to learn more about whether this method of calculation would be right for your case.
How to Prove Pain and Suffering
You can’t prove you are entitled to pain and suffering compensation by saying you experienced pain and suffering. You must have physical proof. The evidence you submit to the insurance company should show how your injury affects your physical or emotional well-being.
Evidence commonly used to support a claim for pain and suffering includes:
- Pictures – You can provide pictures of visible injuries. Show your recovery progress by taking photos on the date of the accident and at regular intervals during your treatment. You could also use photos from the accident scene to show the seriousness of the traumatic event.
- Medical records – Your medical records can help prove your emotional and physical pain and suffering. It might be a good idea to ask your doctors for written statements regarding the type of injury you sustained and how it affects your physical or mental abilities.
- Statements from family and friends – You could ask your friends and family to write statements about the accident. They could explain how the injury has changed your routine and quality of life. They can also speak to any challenges you face, such as driving, showering, or dressing independently.
- Therapy notes – If you need to see a therapist or counselor to discuss a psychological issue you developed after the accident, those records can show the impact of the accident on your mental health.
- Letter from an employer – You could ask your employer to write a letter if your injury prevents you from returning to work or earning your regular income. Maybe you had to take time off while recovering or transfer to a less demanding position. Your employer could include a copy of your prior job description and your current one to show how your limitations affected your work.
Contact Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP Today
At Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP, our Alabama personal injury lawyers have a stellar reputation for the work we do in the legal community. We have a proven track record of success in the personal injury cases we take. You will be our top priority and receive the quality representation and services you deserve when you hire our team.
If someone’s negligence caused your injuries in an accident, call Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP for your free consultation at (205) 324-1212 today.