It’s fairly well-known that “pain and suffering” is a common factor in calculating the damages in a personal injury settlement. A reliable legal advocate will take your emotional damage and reduced quality of life into consideration when pursuing a settlement on your behalf. However, the layperson may find this confusing. Other common damages like medical expenses and lost wages come with dollar amounts already attached, making calculation of damages far easier. But how are internal factors like chronic pain and emotional trauma transmuted into dollar amounts? Today’s blog will explain the methods employed to attach figures to feelings. Read on to demystify this complex aspect of legal compensation.
Given that pain and suffering are inherently intangible concepts, you may be unsurprised to learn that there are no hard and fast rules to calculate pain and suffering. Every personal injury situation is going to be unique, impacting the life of the injured party in different ways. “Pain and suffering” is an umbrella term to group all non-monetary damages under one label. These may include:
Given that there are relatively broad guidelines for calculating pain and suffering damages, the amount of damages will be defined in large part by the severity of the case and the skill of the negotiating attorney. The strength of the argument composed by your legal representatives will be instrumental in determining the level of compensation you may expect.
While factors will always be different, there are several tried and true calculation strategies used to transmute the pain and suffering of individuals into a quantifiable dollar amount. Let’s review some of the major ones.
The most common and approachable method to calculate pain and suffering damages is known as the multiplier method. To begin, take the total amount of monetary damages owed to you. This includes medical bills and lost wages. Next, multiply that figure by a number between 1.5 and 5, based on the severity of your pain and suffering. The figure you arrive at through this equation is the value of your pain and suffering.
When selecting a multiplier, keep in mind that lower end multipliers around 1.5 are far more common. A multiplier of 5 would indicate a permanent, life-altering degree of pain, disability, and reduced quality of life.
The major issues with the multiplier method arise from opposing negotiators disagreeing on the severity of the injury. Indeed, given that this scale is mostly arbitrary it can be very easy for one side’s 1.5 to be a 3 or 4 when viewed from the other side. The multiplier model also runs into problems with debilitating injuries that may not be considered “severe” in medical terms. Treating a disfiguring scar may be cheap, but it may still account for a serious reduction in the scarred person’s quality of life.
In situations where your recovery period can be estimated with a high degree of accuracy, it may be more efficient to employ the per diem method in calculating damages. This method simply assigns a dollar amount to be paid out daily throughout the course of your recovery. Usually this amount of money is calculated in relation to the injured person’s salary. For obvious reasons, per diems are usually unworkable for chronic, life-long injury.
While these basic models may give some idea of how calculations of pain and suffering are conducted, it’s important to keep in mind that the exact method for calculating the value of pain and suffering. Insurance companies also maintain proprietary models for conducting these calculations based around algorithms. These algorithms take a wide variety of factors into account to arrive at the final figure owed to the injured person. Keep in mind that this model will generally be created to save the insurance company money. Their valuation of your pain may vary vastly from the estimate of a personal injury attorney.
Average, every day people may be put off by the idea of assigning monetary value to their pain. This is understandable. Part of reaching maturity is the ability to minimize pain and go on with your day to day. But you should not let the insurance companies minimize your pain to protect their bottom line. If you or a loved one has been injured through another party’s negligence, Malloy Law is here to help. Our dedicated team of attorneys is ready to fight for maximum compensation on your behalf. We’ll accurately assess the value of your case free of charge and aggressively negotiate on your behalf. So don’t wait, contact Malloy Law today to get started.