How Are Pain & Suffering Damages Calculated in a Personal Injury Case?
When someone gets hurt that was caused by another party’s negligence, they will often incur high medical bills and lost wages if they are forced to miss a lot of work. In cases that result in permanent injuries, a victim may also sustain a substantial amount in damages for lost earning capacity.
These are all direct monetary losses that are common in personal injury cases, but they are not the only damages that a victim suffers. There are also the intangibles that someone has to go through, such as the physical pain that the injury forces them to endure, as well as the emotional distress and anxiety that comes with having your life disrupted and not knowing when things will return to normal.
Financial losses like medical costs and lost wages are fairly easy to calculate. There should be a record of all the medical expenses you incurred and pay stubs and tax returns can give you a good idea of the amount of earnings you have lost. Pain-and-suffering damages are a different story, however.
How can you put a price on the excruciating physical pain that an accident injury victim has to go through? How do you make up for the countless sleepless nights spent worrying about an uncertain future? How do you account for the loss of intimacy between a husband and wife when one of them suffers a debilitating injury?
The true answer is that no amount of money can ever adequately compensate someone for the pain-and-suffering that they go through after an injury. So, the best the legal system can do in a civil case is to provide monetary compensation.
This is one of the areas of a claim where it really pays off to have strong legal representation. People who are not familiar with the claims process and try to handle it on their own may have a hard time accurately calculating what they should get for pain-and-suffering. But a seasoned attorney will be able to come up with an appropriate figure based on the specifics of your case.
Calculating Pain-and-Suffering during a Personal Injury Claim
There are really no hard and fast rules for determining pain-and-suffering damages that apply to all personal injury cases. How much you will receive depends largely on the specific circumstances of your case and the strength of your legal argument. That said, there are a couple of common ways that can be used to arrive at a ballpark figure for these types of damages:
- The Per Diem Method: Per diem means “per day”, and this method assigns a particular dollar amount for each day that the victim suffers from the time of the accident until they reach maximum medical improvement. The amount used is often a point of contention, and it depends largely on the severity of the injuries, how disruptive they are to the person’s daily life, and how much their quality of life has been diminished.
- The Multiplier Method: Another possible way to calculate pain-and-suffering damages is to take the total amount of the monetary damages and then multiply it usually by a number between one and five. Determining this number, known as the “multiplier”, again depends on the severity of the case. If it is a more moderate injury in which a full recovery is expected, the multiplier might be somewhere between one and three. If it is a permanent injury, however, the multiplier might be five or in some cases even higher.
Whatever method of calculating pain and suffering damages is used, your chances of receiving a highly favorable payout are always increased if your injuries are well documented. Some of the ways that your injuries can be documented include:
- A medical diagnosis.
- Photographs of your injury.
- Notes from doctors, therapists, and mental health professionals.
- The testimony of experts in fields specifically related to the injury who can give authoritative opinions on the amount of pain and suffering involved.
- A personal injury journal kept by the patient that documents their level of pain each day, their feelings and concerns, and other details related to the injury.
Contact Our Experienced Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyers
Calculating pain-and-suffering damages in a personal injury case is more of an art than a science. The more evidence you present and the better your negotiating skills, the more likely you will receive maximum compensation. The best way for this to happen is to work with well-established personal injury attorneys.
If you or someone close to you suffered a personal injury in Atlanta or anywhere in Georgia, Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. is ready to go to work for you! To get started, message us online or call our office today at 678-981-5370 to schedule a free consultation and case assessment.