Pain and suffering is a legal term which refers to an array of injuries a plaintiff may suffer due to a car accident, truck accident, slip and fall, or any type of personal injury. Not only does it encompass physical pain, but also emotional and mental anguish such as depression, anxiety, grief, fear, insomnia, and even the loss of enjoyment of life.
In nearly every personal injury case, the plaintiff is eligible to recover some amount for pain and suffering damages. But how are these non-economic damages calculated?
It is not so simple to put a dollar amount on pain and suffering, but there are a few ways that insurances companies calculate these damages as part of an injury settlement. The two most common are the multiplier method and the “per diem” (daily rate) method.
The multiplier method entails adding up all the special damages (economic) and multiply those by a number between 1 (low end) and 5 (high end). The second number depends on several factors related to your injury, including the severity, your prospects for a quick and full recovery, the impact of your injury on your day-to-day life, and whether or not the other party was clearly at fault for the accident.
On the other hand, the per diem method is determining a certain dollar amount for every day you had to live with the pain caused by the accident. An effective way to ensure your daily rate is “reasonable” is to use your actual, daily earnings because having to deal with the pain caused by your injury every day is at least comparable to the effort of working each day.
However, insurance companies are not obligated to consider these types of methods in determining pain and suffering. Many providers use computer programs to calculate what amount of any settlement offer should be allotted for pain and suffering.
Proof of pain and suffering may take many forms, such as medical records and witness accounts from your family. The more evidence you have to support your claim, the better your chance of recovery a favorable amount.