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Pain and Suffering Claim: How is it Calculated?

A third-party claim is traditionally filed to seek restitution for “pain and suffering” losses, but how is this calculated? Here, the legal team at Murnane & O’Neill explain some of the ways that the value of pain and suffering is calculated.

Defining Pain and Suffering

Legally, pain and suffering is a form of general damages (non-monetary losses sustained by the victim), and is categorized in two ways: physical, and mental. Physical pain and suffering constitutes any injury or damage sustained from an accident, as well as any negative effects the victim may have suffered afterward. Mental pain and suffering is a by-product of the physical, and includes such things as mental anguish, distress, fear, humiliation or any other negative mental outcome related to the accident. In severe cases, this can even include chronic depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Multiplier Method

The most common method for measuring pain and suffering is through multiplying special damages (monetary damages such as medical bills and lost wages) by a specific number, depending on the severity of the accident. The multiplier tends to fall between 1.5 and 4, with 1.5 being for minor accidents, and 4 being for major accidents with serious losses.

Many factors will play into determining the multiplier for your claim, including the extent of your injuries, your chances of full recovery, the length of time recovery will take and the impact on day-to-day life. Other factors include medications you take due to injuries sustained, as well as the progress noted by your physician.

“Per Diem” Method

The per diem, or per day, method calculates pain and suffering by demanding a specific dollar amount for every day the victim must live with the detrimental effects of their accident. Typically, this is calculated by the dollar amount you earn each day. For salaried employees, this would be determined by dividing the victim’s base gross salary by an average of 250 days worked. The final number would then be multiplied by the number of days the victim suffers with effects associated with the accident.

Sometimes, a combination of both methods will be used to find the appropriate amount of damages due for pain and suffering. If you have suffered injury at the fault of another, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney, as each case is unique in its details. The skilled attorneys at Murnane & O’Neill work diligently to ensure our clients receive the compensation they deserve.  To schedule a consultation or to obtain more information about personal injury damages, contact us today!