In personal injury claims, obtaining compensation for lost earnings and medical costs is not the only goal. They also involve compensation for the pain and suffering endured due to the accident or injury. Although it can be a difficult and subjective procedure to calculate, pain and suffering are an important component of any personal injury settlement. In this article, we’ll explore what pain and suffering mean in the context of personal injury claims and how it’s calculated.
Understanding Pain And Suffering
Legal jargon for the physical and psychological anguish a person endures following an accident or injury brought on by the carelessness of another is “pain and suffering.” It encompasses a wide range of negative effects, including:
- Physical Pain: This includes the immediate and ongoing physical discomfort caused by the injury. It can be the pain from a broken bone, chronic headaches, or any other physical ailment stemming from the accident.
- Emotional Distress: Emotional suffering can manifest as anxiety, depression, fear, sleep disturbances, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a traumatic event.
- Loss Of Enjoyment Of Life: When injuries limit a person’s ability to engage in activities they once enjoyed, it can result in a profound sense of loss and unhappiness.
- Loss Of Consortium: This aspect refers to the impact the injury has on personal relationships, including a spouse’s loss of companionship, intimacy, or assistance with household chores.
- Scarring And Disfigurement: If the injury causes visible scars or disfigurement, it can lead to emotional distress and a reduced quality of life.
Calculating Pain And Suffering
In contrast to financial losses like medical expenses or missed income, pain and suffering are difficult to measure. There is no fixed formula for calculating these non-economic damages, making it a challenging aspect of personal injury settlements. However, several methods are commonly used:
- Multiplier Method: Using a multiplier based on the severity of the injuries is one such strategy. Insurance adjusters or juries may assign a multiplier (typically between 1.5 and 5) to the economic damages (medical expenses and lost wages) to determine the non-economic damages. For example, if the economic damages amount to $50,000, and a multiplier of 3 is applied, the pain and suffering compensation would be $150,000.
- Per Diem Method: In this method, a specific daily rate is assigned to the injured person’s pain and suffering. The number of days the person is expected to experience these effects is then calculated. For instance, if the per diem rate is $200 and the person is expected to suffer for 300 days, the pain and suffering compensation would be $60,000.
- “Pain Multiplier” Method: Some attorneys use a more detailed approach, categorizing pain and suffering into various levels of severity and applying different multipliers to each category. This method can lead to a more nuanced assessment of non-economic damages.
- Expert Testimony: In some cases, experts like psychologists, psychiatrists, or medical professionals may be called upon to provide testimony about the extent of the emotional and psychological suffering the injured party has experienced. Their testimony can influence the calculation of pain and suffering.
Factors Affecting Pain And Suffering Compensation
A personal injury settlement’s award for pain and suffering may vary depending on a number of criteria, including:
- Severity Of Injuries: More severe injuries often lead to higher pain and suffering awards. A minor injury may result in minimal non-economic compensation, while a catastrophic injury can result in a substantial award.
- Duration Of Recovery: A person’s recovery period after an injury can have a big influence on how much pain and suffering is determined. Longer recovery periods may result in higher awards.
- Medical Evidence: Detailed medical records and expert testimony can strengthen the claim for pain and suffering compensation by providing evidence of the extent of physical and emotional distress.
- Impact On Daily Life: How the injury affects the individual’s ability to work, engage in hobbies, and maintain personal relationships can also influence the calculation.
- Jurisdictional Differences: Laws regarding pain and suffering compensation can vary by jurisdiction, affecting the final settlement amount.
In a personal injury settlement, determining pain and suffering is a difficult and frequently disputed procedure. It requires a thorough assessment of the physical and emotional impact of the injury, as well as an understanding of the methods used to quantify these non-economic damages. Contacting a skilled personal injury lawyer is crucial if you were hurt because of the carelessness of another person. They can guide you through this difficult part of your claim and make sure you get just recompense for your suffering. Keep in mind that each case is different, and the amount of the settlement will depend on the particulars of your injuries as well as the legal tactics you and your attorney choose to use.