While the term “pain and suffering” is familiar to most, its legal implications may not be widely understood. In the context of a personal injury lawsuit, pain and suffering plays a crucial role, aiming to provide compensation to the plaintiff for losses stemming from physical pain and emotional distress resulting from an injury. This legal concept falls under the category of non-economic or “general” damages, which is not exactly meant to cover losses from expenses like medical bills or lost income due to missed work. It seeks to quantify the loss of life’s pleasures, satisfactions, and overall well-being that individuals experience independently of their earnings.
Pain and suffering Categorized into Two Main Types
Physical pain and suffering pertain to the actual physical discomfort and suffering resulting from the plaintiff’s injuries. This encompasses not only the pain and discomfort endured up to the present but also the adverse effects anticipated in the future due to the defendant’s negligence.
Mental pain and suffering, on the other hand, encompasses a wide range of emotional distress, including mental anguish, loss of life’s enjoyments, fear, anger, humiliation, anxiety, and shock. In severe cases, this may even manifest as conditions such as depression, sleep disturbances, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Essentially, mental pain and suffering encompasses any adverse emotional experience that an car accident victim endures as a consequence of enduring physical pain and trauma from a accident.
Quantifying pain and suffering pose a significant challenge, as there is no standardized scientific formula, chart, or table for reference by juries or insurance companies. Each injury, injured individual, accident, and case is unique and necessitates a comprehensive evaluation. Various factors come into play when determining the compensation for pain and suffering, including:
- The nature of the injuries sustained.
- The intensity and duration of the pain experienced.
- The impact of the injuries on the individual’s quality of life and their ability to engage in hobbies and activities.
- Potential future challenges resulting from the injuries.
- The strength of the evidence supporting the individual’s claims of pain and suffering.
- The endorsement of the plaintiff’s assertions by medical professionals.
Calculating Pain and Suffering: Methods and Considerations
Pain and suffering represent a form of non-economic harm, making it challenging to assign a precise monetary value. This differs from economic damages, which are quantifiable and straightforward to assess.
For instance, in the aftermath of a truck accident, you can tally up your medical expenses, project future healthcare costs, and calculate the wages you’ve already lost or anticipate losing in the future. This enables a clear determination of suitable compensation for medical bills and income loss.
However, valuing experiences such as back pain or the agony of a broken bone isn’t as straightforward. Insurance companies have developed two distinct approaches for estimating pain and suffering damages, which can aid in determining appropriate compensation when resolving your case through a settlement: the multiplier and per diem methods.
Although these methods serve as useful guidelines, if you opt for a civil lawsuit to settle your case, the court will ultimately decide on the appropriate amount for pain and suffering compensation. This amount may differ from what either of these approaches suggests.
The Multiplier Method: Estimating Pain and Suffering
The multiplier method employs a specific numerical factor to determine pain and suffering damages by multiplying the quantifiable economic losses. Typically, this multiplier falls within the range of 1.5 to 5, contingent on the severity of your injuries.
For instance, if your documented economic losses due to partial paralysis amount to $200,000, you may be eligible to receive five times that sum as compensation for pain and suffering. This reflects the profound and life-altering impact of paralysis.
The Per Diem Method: Compensation for Ongoing Pain
The per diem method entails providing compensation at a daily rate for the duration of pain and suffering. Usually, this rate corresponds to your daily wages, although it could be calculated using a different figure.
To illustrate, if your daily earnings amount to $100, and it’s estimated that you will endure pain for 100 days, you would multiply $100 by 100 days, entitling you to $10,000 in pain and suffering damages.
Seek An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Given the complexity of this evaluation, seeking the assistance of a personal injury lawyer is often advisable when dealing with pain and suffering damages. An attorney can provide guidance on presenting your case to the court and offer representation during legal proceedings, ensuring that your interests are protected.