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How Is Pain & Suffering Measured in a Personal Injury Case?


When you suffer an injury because of someone else’s negligence, you can sue them for the damages that you have incurred because of their actions. There are two main types of damage claims available to the injured party, economic and non-economic damages. These two damages are sometimes referred to as “special” damages and “general” damages, respectively.

Special damages are easy to tabulate because essentially all that is needed is to account for losses like medical bills, lost income from missing work, property damage, and other out-of-pocket loses. General damages are reserved for pain and suffering and includes discomfort and physical pain, as well as emotional distress, anxiety, and stress that was caused by the accident and injuries.

Determining a dollar amount for pain and suffering damages is not a simple task, but there are a few approaches that insurance companies use to calculate these damages as part of an injury settlement. The multiplier method and the "per diem" (daily rate) method are the two that are most commonly used by insurance companies.

The Multiplier Method

Usually, insurers will add up all the special damages and multiply them by a number between 1.5 and 5. The multiplier number that is used, will depend on the severity of your injuries, your potential for a quick and complete recovery, the effect of your injuries on your day-to-day-life, and if the other party was at fault for the accident.

Daily Rate

The per diem method demands a dollar amount for each day that the injured party had to deal with their pain and suffering. The hard part of using this method to calculate pain and suffering is justifying the daily rate that will be used. This method is not one that should be used for permanent or long-term injuries. In these cases, the injured party should hire a lawyer to help them decide the best approach to calculate pain and suffering damages.

 A smart approach for calculating pain and suffering damages, is to use both methods, and then adjust the demand using the range between the two. Even if you get drastically different figures, you can always negotiate a number that is ideal for you. All injury cases are unique, but the main thing is that you justify your damage amounts in your demands letter.

Medical Records

Whenever you suffer an injury, it is important that you communicate honestly and openly with your physician about any pain and discomfort you experience. Adjusters will usually accept your report of pain and discomfort if the doctor documents it in your medical records.

Have you been injured in an accident? Need help getting compensation for your pain and suffering? We can help. Contact our team of Quincy personal injury lawyers to talk about your case today. We are here to assist you 24 hours, 7 days a week.