If you have recently been injured in an accident that was due to someone else’s negligence, you likely have a case and will be eligible to receive pain and suffering damages if you win the case. While there is no published scale, per se, there is a way to figure out an approximate range of what your damages may be. However, before we go over the different ways to calculate these damages, let’s explore a few aspects of a personal injury lawsuit.
Per the Cornell Law School, pain and suffering is defined as:
The physical or emotional distress resulting from an injury. Though the concept is somewhat abstract, the injured person (the plaintiff) can seek compensation in the form of cold, hard cash. How much the defendant owes for pain and suffering is calculated separately from the amount owing for more direct expenses, such as medical bills or time lost from work — although sometimes these amounts are considered to arrive at a logical figure.
General Damages v. Special Damages
When it comes to collecting damages in a personal injury lawsuit, these damages will generally be described as general and special damages.
Special damages are the easiest to define. These are damages where we can apply a fixed monetary value to. For instance, loss of wages (past, present, and future), medical bills, therapy, medication, etc. These types of damages will be key in figuring out how much the case is worth, but they are not the only factor in determining how much your personal injury attorney will try to settle the case for.
General damages have no fixed value, but that does not make them any less of a factor when it comes to a personal injury case. In fact, dependent upon the severity of these damages, they could significantly increase the value of the case. These types of damages are related to things such as loss of quality of life, loss of companionship, emotional damages, etc.
More Examples of General Damages:
- Permanent physical injury or impairment
- Compensation for your pain during the injury and recovery
- Mental pain and anguish
- Lack of mobility resulting in a lower quality of life (this can be very important for athletes or workers that are no longer able to perform their normal duties)
- Loss of career
Proving Pain and Suffering Damages
While it would be nice if the court would just take your word for it, you can surely understand this area of the case would run rampant with fraud were it not for fully verifying the claims being made. As such, there are several ways you will have to document the pain and suffering claims being made in the case:
- Past and present medical documentation of all treatments, procedures, medications, etc. related to the injury
- Written opinion or testimony from an expert medical professional on the injuries
- Written opinion or testimony from a mental health expert
- Your testimony related to the pain and suffering as a result of the injuries
- Testimony from family and friends regarding how the injuries have impacted your life and/or your relationship with them
Calculating Pain and Suffering for a Personal Injury Lawsuit
The most common method to calculate the value of a case is called the multiplier method. In essence, this uses the cost of all medical bills that have been already been accumulated as well as expected medical bills in the future and multiplies it by a number related to the level of pain and suffering associated with the case. That number is then added to other economic damages not included in medical bills, such as lost wages and damaged or lost property.
For instance, if you had a painful injury but would only be out of work with no loss of mobility or no long-term damage, your multiplier would more than likely be less than two. However, if you have an injury that will leave you in pain for the rest of your life and you had some loss of mobility that resulted in the loss of career, your multiplier would probably be on the higher end of the scale, in the four to five range. The more severe the injury and permanent loss, the higher the multiplier.
Another method is called the “per diem” method, which calculates the damages by using a monetary value associated with the injury by the number of days until you are expected to reach full recovery. For instance, if the dollar figure associated with the injury is $150 and you are expected to be fully recovered in 100 days, the lawsuit would be worth $15,000.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
If you have recently suffered an injury due to the negligence of someone else, you may have a case, but you will need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible because there are time limits associated with personal injury cases. To discuss your case with one of our skilled attorneys, please give us a call at 855-633-0888. Your consultation is free of charge and you are under no obligation to use our services just for speaking with a member of our team. If you would like to learn more about our legal services before calling, please click here.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and Injury law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any injuries from vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, and medical malpractice.