How to Calculate Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case

Serious injuries can severely disrupt a person’s future and quality of life. When a person is severely harmed, they may require expensive and ongoing medical care, may be unable to work and earn an income, and may be prevented from doing the things that they love and the things that are necessary for basic self-care, such as eating or grooming on one’s own. 

When injuries are the result of another’s negligence, the injured party maintains the right to bring forth a personal injury claim for damages. In addition to seeking compensation for economic losses—that is, compensation for actual financial losses—the injured party can also seek compensation for noneconomic damages in the form of pain and suffering. 

What Is Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering in a personal injury claims refers to damages for the value of a person’s noneconomic losses, such as the value of their:

  • Physical pain;
  • Physical and emotional suffering;
  • Diminished quality of life;
  • Emotional anguish; and 
  • Psychological harm. 

Methods for Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages

Pain and suffering is intangible; there is no objective dollar amount that represents its value. There are two common ways for calculating pain and suffering in a personal injury claim.

  • Per diem. One way of calculating damages is called the per diem, or “per day” method. Using this method, a dollar amount is assigned per day, and then multiplied by the number of days for which a person experiences pain and suffering. For example, if the per diem rate is $100 and the claimant experiences pain and suffering for 500 days, the value of their pain and suffering damages would be $50,000 ($100 x 500 = $500,00). 
  • Multiplier method. The multiplier method works by assigning a number one through five to a claimant and then multiplying that number by the total amount of economic damages suffered. The multiplier is based on the severity of injuries and for how long pain and suffering is expected to last. For example, if a person is assigned a multiplier of two and they suffer $100,000 in economic damages, then their pain and suffering damages would be $200,000 (2 x $100,000 = $200,00). 

Factors that Impact the Value of a Pain and Suffering Settlement

Multiple factors can impact the multiplier that’s assigned or the per diem amount, thereby impacting the total award for pain and suffering damages. Factors that may be taken into consideration when calculating a settlement for noneconomic losses include:

  • The victim’s age;
  • The severity of injuries;
  • The expected long-term impacts;
  • For how long disability is expected to last;
  • The necessity of ongoing medical care;
  • The type of injury suffered;
  • The victim’s relationships (for example, are they married or do they have kids?); and
  • The victim’s quality of life and activities they engaged in prior to the accident.

If you have questions about how pain and suffering is calculated, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. 

Get Help from a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney Today 

At the law office of Deborah Gold-Alexander, Attorney at Law, our lawyer understands how much loss you’ve suffered and how uncertain the future must feel. When you call our law firm, Attorney Deborah Gold-Alexander can start working on your case immediately and will advocate for your right to your full settlement amount. With more than 30 years’ experience, Deborah Gold-Alexander is an attorney you can trust. Call our law firm today to schedule your free consultation and learn more.