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How Do You Calculate Pain and Suffering?

Posted In On March 5, 2019

If you suffered injuries from an accident in Georgia, you can file a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim to recover compensation for your losses. These damages can cover medical expenses, lost wages due to recovery time, property damage, and even punitive damages, if applicable. However, another damage that you may claim that you cannot easily quantify is known as pain and suffering. Simply put, pain and suffering damages are compensation for the lasting physical and emotional impacts of your accident.

What is Pain and Suffering?

While accidents may happen in a single moment, the lasting effects can stay with you for years to come, or even the rest of your life. From permanent disability to mental impacts, you may be able to secure compensation in these areas the same way that you need reimbursement for your medical bills. As a result, courts may award pain and suffering damages.

  • Physical pain and suffering damages refer to damages awarded for the physical suffering associated with your accident. Not only does this include the pain you experience to date, but also the pain that you will experience in the future. Physical pain and suffering can include permanent impairment, chronic pain, and disability.
  • Mental pain and suffering damages refer to damages that are a by-product of the accident and the injuries you suffered. Mental pain and suffering can include mental anguish, emotional distress, humiliation, anxiety and fear, shock, anger, and loss of enjoyment of life. Severe mental pain and suffering may include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and sleep disturbances.

However, you cannot quantify pain and suffering damages the same way you can calculate medical bills or lost wages. How do the courts and insurance companies decide how much to award in these cases? Usually, experts utilize two methods to calculate this amount: the multiplier method or the per diem method.

The Multiplier Method

The multiplier method is a common method used by insurance companies to calculate your pain and suffering. The method works by summing up all of your special damages and multiplying them by a single number determined by the insurance company. Your special damages are your economic, quantifiable damages, such as medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages.

For example, say that you get into a car accident and suffer $20,000 worth of special damages. Your insurance company assigns a multiplier of two. Using the multiplier method, you receive $40,000 in pain and suffering damages on top of your special damages.

Your multiplier number can range from one to five, and the insurance company will assign the number based on the severity of your accident. For example, a small fender bender may have a multiplier of one, while a more serious motorcycle accident that leads to traumatic brain injury may receive a four. However, it is important to note that it is in the insurance company’s best interest not to award the highest amount of damages possible. Obtain the services of an attorney to receive a second opinion on your damages and argue for a higher multiplier.

The Per Diem Method

The second pain and suffering calculation your insurance company may use is known as the per diem method or the daily rate method. The insurance company gives you a certain amount of compensation per day that you suffer from injuries. Usually, the company calculates this amount based on how many days of work you miss. The per diem amount you receive will depend on your insurance company. You can usually estimate your per diem based on your daily wage.

For example, say that you suffer from a slip and fall on unsafe premises and break your legs. You miss work for four months to fully recover. Your insurance company assigns you a $200 daily rate for the 120 days you took to recover. As a result, you receive $24,000 in pain and suffering damages.

Using these calculations, you can estimate how much in pain and suffering you could receive from your insurance company. Contact an  Alpharetta personal injury attorney to help establish pain and suffering for your personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim.