If you’re considering filing a personal injury claim after an accident, it’s likely you’re trying to figure out how much compensation you’re owed. You may take into consideration things like medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. Those are all considered economic damages because they can be totaled based on their monetary value. But what about the damages that are not as easily calculated?
Damages that cannot be calculated exactly are referred to as non-economic damages. Pain and suffering is the most common non-economic damage that personal injury victims seek. Since a total cannot be calculated using other figures, you may be wondering how these damages are calculated at all. To explain how pain and suffering is totaled, we’ll go over how it’s defined, what factors are taken into consideration, and the possibility of damage limits.
Defining Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is subjective, so it can be difficult to define. In order to scale the matter easier, there are some factors that are taken into consideration. The most common ones include:
- How severe the injuries are – physical and mental
- How much pain the person has experienced
- The ongoing consequences
- The economic losses
- The effect on family members
- Interference with everyday activities
- The inability to enjoy daily tasks
- Limitations of movement
- Medical bills
Not all of the factors discussed above are required for a person to recover pain and suffering damages. Any one of the factors could be enough to receive compensation. The severity of the individual factors will affect the total amount a person is awarded.
It’s important to note that pain and suffering does not only refer to the harm a person experienced during an accident. It may also apply to any harm or injury a person could experience in the future as a result of the accident. It will be crucial for your lawyer to speak with economic experts to accurately determine the cost of your present and future accident-related expenses.
Measuring Pain and Suffering
Because pain and suffering damages cannot be directly calculated, there are two common methods insurance companies use. The first method is the multiplier method. This is the most common approach to determining pain and suffering costs. It involves taking the economic damages and multiplying them by 1.5 on the low end and four or five on the high end. The second number depends on factors related to the case, which include the severity of your injuries, suspected recovery, the impact of your injuries, and the other party’s fault percentage.
The second method is called per diem. This is the Latin phrase for per day. The idea of this method is to demand a specific dollar amount for every day you’ve had to deal with the pain and suffering as a result of the accident. The most difficult part of this method is determining what daily rate to use. Typically, they’ll take into consideration how many days it took you to recover and multiply that by how much money you make on any given working day based on your salary or hourly wage. This method is not as common as the multiplier method because it doesn’t work as well for permanent or long-term injuries.
Understanding Damage Limits
Some states impose limits on certain damages. This limits the amount of compensation a person can collect for certain damages, like pain and suffering. These caps exist to manage the high cost of doing business, that would ultimately be passed on to the consumer. If, for example, a doctor makes a catastrophic mistake and a patient was given millions in pain and suffering, the insurance company would have to pay those damages and costs would increase all around.
In Georgia, there are no caps on any damages; however, a person’s compensation could be reduced based on the modified comparative negligence rule. The law states that a plaintiff’s total recovery will decrease if they are found to be at fault for a percentage of the accident. If they are at fault for more than 50%, they are barred from receiving any compensation at all.
As you can see, calculating pain and suffering damages is complicated and different for every personal injury claim. If you’re looking to receive full and fair compensation for what you were put through, it’s in your best interest to work with a lawyer from Bey & Associates.
While it’s ultimately up to a judge or jury to decide the total amount of non-economic damages, we’ll work to build a strong case on your behalf that proves you’ve wrongfully suffered. To learn more about pain and suffering damages or to get help with your personal injury claim, get in touch with our lawyers today.