How is “Pain and Suffering” Calculated?

Symbol of law and justice, law and justice concept, focus on the scalesThe compensation you receive from winning a civil case has several categories. In this article, we’re going to look at a category called “pain and suffering”. Pain and suffering damages can be the largest part of your compensation, so it’s important to know what it is and how it is calculated. We’ll use an example of someone slipping and falling at a store. Our victim suffered a broken hip.

What Is It?

After an injury, there is a financial impact. You have bills. You’re not able to work. Asking for this kind of compensation in your suit is easy. To get you back to how you were before you were injured, your bills have to be paid and, in some cases, you need to get back the money you could have earned during your recovery.

But economic damage is not the only type of damage that you might suffer in an accident. One of these is called pain and suffering. It is the physical pain and distress that you experience that came with your injury. It also includes any limitations on activity due to your injury. In some cases, it even includes scarring, though extreme scarring damage is often calculated in different types of damages. However, it does not cover psychological damage due to your injury. That category is called emotional distress.

Our victim with a broken hip may never get the same function from that hip again. It may ache off and on for the rest of their life. Even after all the bills are paid, the victim is still not made whole. So, the question is how much money would it take to cover that additional hassle?

The Calculation

The final amount is really whatever your lawyer can negotiate from the court, but there are two methods they can use to get a figure to start with. The first is the multiplier method. This is a number between 1.5 and 5. The amount of pain and suffering compensation is calculated by multiplying the number by the amount of economic loss you suffered. Thus, if the hip break cost $50,000 in economic costs and the multiplier was 2, pain and suffering costs would be $100,000.

The second method is a “per diem” or per day method. In this method, the lawyer determines how much you earn in a day and multiplies it by the number of days you expect to be in pain. So, if our injured victim earns $250 per day and is expected to be in recovery for a year (260 working days), pain and suffering damages would be calculated as $65,000. This is a less-common method of calculation and it’s not good for people who have permanent injuries.

Of course, the final number is determined by the court and not your lawyer. The courts will have their own guidelines based on your jurisdiction and past cases with similar injuries. Your lawyer might also have access to this information and adjust their estimate accordingly. The more evidence you and your lawyer can provide of how much your injury hurts and limits your life, the higher your chances of getting a large pain and suffering payment from your lawsuit.

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