In a personal injury case, it’s common for victims of negligence to experience pain and suffering. The physical, emotional, and mental toll of the injury is often traumatic, especially during the initial recovery.

As a result, many victims seek non-economic damages to compensate them for the difficulties they have healing. 

If you’ve been injured due to the negligent actions of another, you may be wondering how to calculate pain and suffering. Here is everything you need to know about the calculations typically used by personal injury lawyers.

Methods for Calculating Pain and Suffering

Unlike calculating other types of damages, calculating pain and suffering is highly subjective and varies from case to case.

While there isn’t an exact way to measure pain and suffering, there are two common methods used by attorneys: the multiplier method and the per diem method. 

Multiplier Method

Calculate Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident

The multiplier method is one of the most common approaches used by personal injury attorneys.

To determine non-economic damages like pain and suffering, the attorney multiplies the amount of economic damages by a “multiplier.”

The multiplier is usually a number between 1.5 and 5, but may go higher depending on the severity of the injuries.

Here’s an example of the multiplier method in a car accident case.

Jayna got into a car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. Before her injury, Jayna was an avid hiker and spent most of her time exploring the outdoors. She no longer has the ability to enjoy her favorite hobby and has difficulty taking physical care of herself. She also has issues with chronic nerve pain in her back because of the injury. Jayna has a total of $300,000 in economic damages, and her attorney decides to pursue a multiplier of five for pain and suffering. In total, Jayna sues the other driver for $1.8 million ($300,000 in economic damages and $1.5 million in noneconomic damages).

In this case, since the injury led to a decrease in the victim’s quality of life and requires lifelong care, the multiplier was high. If the victim suffered a less permanent injury, such as a broken bone or lacerations, the multiplier might be lower.

Per Diem Method

Another common method for calculating pain and suffering is the per diem, or per day, method.

Instead of multiplying the amount of economic damages, the per diem method determines a dollar amount owed to the victim per day of suffering. This daily rate is more likely to be used in cases involving short-term injuries.

For example, if the victim suffers a fractured shoulder and has around 180 days of recovery time, their attorney may find a per diem rate of $200 appropriate based on their daily earnings. This means that the total amount of pain and suffering damages is $36,000.

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Need Help Calculating Pain and Suffering for Your Case?

At Cottrell Law Firm, we know how difficult it is to handle a personal injury claim during recovery. Suing for pain and suffering after a car accident or other event is often too stressful to deal with after a serious injury.

Our personal injury attorneys have over 30 years of experience helping clients pursue the compensation they need to recover and restore their peace of mind. 

To schedule a consultation, call us today or contact us online. We proudly serve clients throughout the states of Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.

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