Pain and Suffering Damages

How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated in a Personal Injury Case?

When you’re injured through no fault of your own, you may look into pursuing a personal injury claim. This is often a viable option when you can prove that another party was responsible for your injuries—but what can you receive compensation for? Depending on the details of your accident and injuries, you may be compensated for medical bills and expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.

The term “pain and suffering” may seem vague if you’ve never filed a personal injury claim before. Learn more about what qualifies as pain and suffering and what types of compensation you may receive. When you’re ready to take the first step in your Chatom car accident claim, call Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough & Howell at 251-336-3411.


Types of Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering is a broad term that allows victims to recoup compensation for a wide range of physical and mental losses experienced because of another person’s negligence. In general, it’s broken down into physical pain and emotional or psychological distress.

Physical pain is pretty straightforward. Compensation for physical pain aims to make you whole for the physical discomfort and suffering you experience as a result of your injuries. Of course, money cannot ever give you back the time you spent in agony—but it is the only type of compensation a personal injury claim can give you. You may receive compensation for the immediate pain you feel after an accident and the ongoing pain you experience as you go through treatment and rehabilitation.

Compensation for pain and suffering may also include emotional and psychological distress. People often suffer significant psychological trauma after a serious accident—research indicates that many people experience both distress and dissociation in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. Psychological trauma can have a permanent impact on your quality of life and your ability to live independently, and it is crucial that you receive fair compensation for it.


Different Calculations for Pain and Suffering

Your attorney will walk you through their calculations for your pain and suffering. In general, though, there are two ways that you can determine how much your pain and suffering is worth. Keep in mind that this can be challenging for victims—if you’ve suffered greatly because of your accident, reducing it to a dollar amount may feel insulting. Remember that it’s just another step of this process and not meant to discredit your pain.

Many insurance companies use the multiplier method to calculate how much they are willing to pay for pain and suffering. The multiplier method involves adding up all of the actual financial losses you have suffered because of the accident. This includes medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and any other tangible financial losses. They then assign a multiplier as high as five to your claim.

Your actual damages times the multiplier equals the amount you receive for pain and suffering. In general, the more severe your injuries are, the higher your multiplier is. For example, you may only have a multiple of one or 1.5 if you suffer a broken arm that heals completely without residual issues. On the other hand, if you have a severe traumatic brain injury that leaves you paralyzed and unable to communicate, your multiplier maybe five.

The other method is the per diem method. The insurance company assigns a daily rate for your pain and suffering and then multiplies it by the number of days it took you to recover. This is not quite as common.


Proving Your Pain and Suffering

How, then, do you maximize your compensation? You must take extra care to document your pain and suffering from the very beginning of your case. Ensure that you keep thorough medical records of your treatments, pain medications, and therapy sessions. You may also want to get personal statements from close family members and others who see you struggle with your pain every day. Some people find it helpful to keep a personal injury journal in which they document their pain levels each day, the activities and tasks they cannot do alone, and any shortcomings they suffer because of their injuries.


Considering a Personal Injury Claim? Contact Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough & Howell

Are you ready to fight for the compensation you deserve? The team at Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough & Howell is here to advocate for you. Call our Chatom office at 251-336-3411, call our Bay Minette office at 251-336-3697, or reach out online to set up a consultation.

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