What Is Pain and Suffering? | How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated?
When you have been hurt because of the carelessness, negligence or wrongful act of another person, you have a right to seek compensation (also known as “damages”) from the at-fault party. The damages available are generally categorized as “economic” or “non-economic” damages. Those that are tangible and easily calculated, such as lost income or unreimbursed medical expenses, are considered economic losses. Those that are more subjective are referred to as non-economic damages. Examples of non-economic damages include loss of companionship or consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering.
What Are Damages for Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering includes both physical and mental/emotional distress resulting from an accident or injury. It can refer to any type of discomfort, ache, soreness, chronic or intermittent pain, misery, anguish, throbbing, stinging, irritation or tenderness stemming from the wrongful acts of another person.
What Are Some Examples of Pain and Suffering?
Some classic examples of compensatory pain and suffering include:
- Pain around a cut, bruise, scar, tear, fracture, contusion or laceration
- Pain or discomfort caused by herniated, bulging or slipped discs sustained in an auto accident
- Mental anguish or fear after an attack by a vicious dog
- Mental or emotional trauma caused by permanent scarring, disfigurement, amputation or loss of limb
- Depression, anxiety or other mental distress while recovering from injuries, or because of the inability to engage in normal activities of daily living
How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated?
One of the challenges with determining the extent of damages for pain and suffering is that they are intangible and highly subjective. With lost wages and medical expenses, there’s typically documentation to establish the full extent of those damages. Because of the uncertainty of damages for pain and suffering, courts take a variety of approaches:
- Many courts will use a “multiplier” to calculate compensation for pain and suffering. With this approach, the jury determines the full amount of economic damages (for lost wages and medical expenses) and multiplies that amount by some factor, usually between 1 and 10, to determine compensation for pain and suffering. For example, if the total lost wages and medical costs are $500,000, the jury may multiply that by 3 (just an example) and award $1.5 million for pain and suffering. The multiplier used typically varies, based on the severity of injuries, the prospects for a complete recovery, and the effect the pain and suffering has on the injured party’s daily life.
- Some courts use a “per diem” approach—With this method, the jury attempts to identify a daily dollar amount for pain and suffering
- Some courts will instruct the jury to use their discretion to identify an amount that is “fair and reasonable”
Contact the Proven Personal Injury Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law offices of Bailey & Galyen, we understand the devastating impact any type of personal injury can have on every part of your life. We’ll aggressively protect your rights throughout the legal process, acting as your intermediary with insurance companies and as your voice in all meetings, hearings and legal proceedings. Contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.