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Two Ways to Calculate Pain & Suffering

Personal injury claims are filed on behalf of injured claimants who need and deserve damages after suffering an injury caused by someone else’s mistakes. The damages that can be pursued in most personal injury claims can be sorted into two broad categories: economic and noneconomic. Economic damage is easily calculated because it represents tangible costs, like those associated with medical treatments, property repair, and lost wages.

Noneconomic damage is where matters get tricky. A cost associated with an abstract form of harm is a noneconomic damage. Most commonly, you will hear about “pain and suffering” when discussing this damage type. To determine a fair amount of pain and suffering damage, a personal injury attorney will usually use one of two methods: multiplier or duration.

What is the Multiplier Method?

The multiplier method is based on the concept that your pain and suffering will always be more negatively impactful than any financial hardship you could experience. It works by taking your economic damage total and multiplying it by a factor that is usually at least 2 but can range much higher. The size of the multiplier increases as your perceived pain and suffering worsens.

Consider these elements of a case that uses the multiplier method:

  • Accident and injuries: You are in a car accident that results in numerous broken bones. Due to the extent of your injuries, you cannot continue to work or participate in your hobbies for months. Your doctor is also worried that you might never be able to walk again without pain.
  • Economic damage: The severity of your injuries has required you to undergo numerous surgeries and hospitalization. You will likely need physical therapy for years, too. Adding together your past and possible future damages reaches $100,000 in total economic damage.
  • Multiplier: Your injuries have put you in chronic pain, taken away your job for the time being, and also made it so you cannot relax. The severity of the situation convinced your attorney that a fair multiplier would be 10.
  • Noneconomic damage result: Taking your economic damage total of $100,000 and using the multiplier of 10 equates to $1,000,000 in noneconomic damage. When considering both forms of damage, the liable driver’s insurance company should pay you $1,100,000.

What is the Duration Method?

The duration method is a somewhat simpler way of calculating pain and suffering damage based on how long you have suffered due to your injuries. Instead of multiplying the economic damage total, your attorney will decide a fair daily value based on the extent of your pain, suffering, and hardships. The chosen amount is then multiplied by however many days you have endured your pain, starting with the day of your injury to the day a settlement or verdict is reached, or the pain subsides.

Consider how the duration method works with these elements of a claim:

  • Accident and injuries: You suffer a slip-and-fall accident while shopping, resulting in a broken wrist. The injury is painful, but not excruciating once you are treated and given painkillers and a brace, but you cannot work for a while.
  • Daily value: Your slip-and-fall attorney uses your normal wages and the new debilitations you are enduring to calculate that a fair daily value of your pain and suffering should be $500.
  • Duration: The store’s insurance provider is unexpectedly responsive when working on your claim. They want to offer a settlement and arrange a meeting 100 days after your accident.
  • Noneconomic damage result: By multiplying the daily value of $500 by 100 (the number of days from the accident to the settlement), your noneconomic damage total would be $50,000.

Talk to a Lawyer to Calculate Your Damages

You can be positive that the insurance company will not like paying you a dollar for pain and suffering damage. Pushing back claims and minimizing damages are cornerstones of the average workday for an insurance company defense attorney. Give yourself a balanced playing field by teaming up with a trustworthy local attorney when it comes time to calculating your damages and pursuing your claim.

If you live in Northern California, The Law Offices of Larry S. Buckley should be the first name you call for legal counsel and representation. Attorney Larry Buckley is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, so it is no exaggeration to say he has achieved impressive case results for our clients throughout the years. Dial (530) 413-0245 or use an online contact form to speak with a member of our firm. All initial consultations are no-cost and no-obligation!