The calculation of economic damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage is fairly straightforward when determining the value of a personal injury claim. However, putting an accurate number on damages like pain and suffering requires the experience and knowledge of seasoned accident injury lawyers. There are several different factors to consider when determining these damages, and understanding how they are calculated can give you a better idea of what your case may be worth.
What is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering damages are compensation for the physical and emotional stress caused by an injury. Although the legal terminology for pain and suffering varies from state to state, generally it may include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
Dealing with the aftermath of an accident can have a serious impact on a victim’s quality of life. That’s why it is critical to have a skilled personal injury lawyer who knows the importance of putting an accurate value on pain and suffering damages.
Important Factors to Consider
There is no set formula for the calculation of damages for pain and suffering, as each case is unique and every injured victim copes with their physical and emotional hardships in their own way. However, accident attorneys take a number of factors into account, including:
- The type and severity of a victim’s injuries
- Whether they have suffered disfigurement or permanent disability
- The impact a victim’s injuries have had on their daily activities
- Whether they will be able to work or do the things they used to enjoy
- The duration of their recovery
- Whether it is possible for a victim to fully recover from their injuries
- The physical pain associated with their injuries
- Any stress, fear, depression, and anxiety caused by their injuries
- The impact a victim’s injuries have had on their personal relationships
A good attorney will know what type of evidence is required to show the extent of pain and suffering. Evidence such as personal journals, medical records, and expert witness testimony can all play a role in building a solid claim for pain and suffering damages.
Methods for Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages
In some cases, pain and suffering damages may be calculated using the multiplier or per diem methods.
When using the multiplier method, your lawyer will take the total amount of your medical bills and multiply it by 1.5 to 5 times to calculate pain and suffering damages. Usually, the more severe your injuries are and the longer it takes to recover, the higher the multiplier will be.
With the per diem method, the number of days from the date of your injury to the date your doctor releases you is multiplied by a daily rate (per diem). For example, if your per diem is $300 and it took you 500 days to recover, you would claim $150,000 in pain and suffering damages.
Your attorney will assess your specific circumstances and consider the facts of your claim and the impact of your injuries to determine a reasonable amount for pain and suffering damages. Before accepting a settlement, it is also a good idea to speak to an estate planning attorney to ensure that any compensation you receive is distributed as you wish in the event of your passing.
Understanding the multifaceted aspects of pain and suffering damages can be challenging. Contact a Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer to find out more about how they can help protect your rights and interests.