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How to Calculate Pain & Suffering

Whether you have been injured in a car accident or on someone else’s property, chances are you’ll file a personal injury claim. Your claim will include the cost of medical treatment as a result of the accident and lost wages if you were forced to miss work to recover from injury; however, you may also be entitled to pain and suffering as well.

Pain and suffering represents the emotional distress, or mental anguish, an individual experiences after being injured by the negligent actions of an at-fault party. Emotional distress includes actual pain and discomfort (temporary or permanent), emotional disorders (e.g. anxiety, depression, insomnia, etc.), physical limitations, loss of consortium, and any other emotional or psychological trauma.

While actual costs (e.g. medical bills, lost wages, and any out-of-pocket expenses) are known as “special damages,” pain and suffering is in a separate category, known as “general damages.” Totaling the amount of your special damages is simple enough since all you need to do is add up all of your bills and receipts. On the other hand, coming up with a figure that fairly represents your pain and suffering can be quite difficult.

There are actually multiple approaches that insurance companies and personal injury attorneys rely on when calculating the financial value of a person’s pain and suffering. The two most common ones are called the multiplier method and the daily rate method.

Multiplier Method

The most common approach is to add up all the special damages and multiply those by a number between 1 on the low end and 5 on the high end. The second number, known as the “multiplier,” will depend on a number of factors, such as the seriousness of the injury, your prospects for an immediate and full recovery, the impact of your injury on your day-to-day life, and whether or not the other party was completely at fault for the underlying accident.

Daily Rate Method

Another approach is called the daily rate method, which is also known as the “per diem” method. “Per diem” simply means “per day” in Latin. The idea is to demand a specific dollar amount for every day you had to endure the pain caused by the accident.

A reasonable daily rate is something similar to your actual daily earnings. After all, living with pain caused by your injuries is at least as challenging as going to work each day.

Calculate Your Pain & Suffering Using Both Methods

It is wise to use both methods to start, and then adjust your demand from within that range. Although you may receive varying results, that is totally fine. Please determine a proper amount using the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.

If you have been injured by a negligent party in Sacramento, CA, request a free consultation with our experienced personal injury attorney at Eliot Reiner, APLC today.

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