Every year in the United States, there are many thousands of personal injury claims filed across the country. Personal injury claims stem from someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, leading to injuries, property damage, pain and suffering, and more.
If you’ve been in an accident that was someone else’s fault and suffered damages of any sort, you may be able to get compensation.
Compensation for economic damages like medical bills and property damage is simpler to set a number to, but what about non-economic damages like pain and suffering? Learn more about what you can expect and how to calculate pain and suffering damages.
What Is Pain And Suffering?
When speaking about personal injury claims, pain, and suffering damages refer to a wide array of emotional and physical consequences that occurred because of the injury. These damages do not cover medical bills or lost wages. Instead, they focus on the physical and mental pain you’ve dealt with in the past and will continue to deal with in the future.
The pain that a physical injury causes is difficult to describe or to put a value to. Medical professionals can recognize indicators of pain, but they have no way of knowing the pain level itself. Many types of physical injuries come with an expected level of pain.
Some injuries, especially those that are not immediately obvious, can be harder to gauge. These include whiplash, soft tissue injuries, and more.
Mental health concerns that come as a result of the injury also pertain to pain and suffering damages. All kinds of injuries can leave mental scars, leading to:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Fear and phobias
Many people experience PTSD after suffering a severe injury in an accident. PTSD can interfere with all aspects of life, affecting relationships, careers, and more.
To be able to get pain and suffering damages, you have to demonstrate that the injury you received as a result of someone’s negligence has led to these kinds of issues. If you seek damages for the pain of a physical injury, you will have to prove the accident caused it or that the accident led to medical procedures resulting in the pain you feel.
Evidence for Pain and Suffering Claims
To be able to make the connection between your pain and suffering, you will need to present evidence. Your personal injury lawyer can offer some guidance on the kinds of evidence you can offer.
It’s easy to prove property damage and medical bills for injuries, but how do you prove mental distress and pain? Some of the options you have are:
- Pain journal documenting your experience
- Evidence of psychological treatment received
- Expert analysis and testimony
- Photographs showing your injuries and the accident scene
- Testimonials from family and friends
For example, if you suffered severe facial scarring after a car accident, you can include photos of your face before and after the accident. This can paint a clear image of the type of mental anguish and physical pain you’re going through.
Common Methods for Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages
It’s not easy to determine how much your pain and suffering is worth. When dealing with medical bills, property damage, and lost wages, it’s easy to decide what your compensation can be. With pain and suffering, most courts rely on two methods: the multiplier method and the per diem method.
The multiplier method relies on your economic damages. It involves taking these damages, which have a clear economic value, and multiplying them by a factor of one to five.
The factor chosen depends on the severity of the injuries, the effect of the injuries on your quality of life and mental state, the length of your recovery, and much more.
Pain and suffering settlement examples to consider that use the multiplier method:
- If your medical bills added up to $20,000 and your injuries were severe, leading to a multiplier of four, you could get $80,000 in pain and suffering
- If your total economic damages added up to $100,000 and the multiplier the lawyer or insurance company used is two, then your pain and damages would be $200,000
Keep in mind that insurance companies are more likely to choose a lower multiplier, but your personal injury lawyer will work hard to get you as much compensation as possible.
Per Diem Method
The per diem method starts with the length of your recovery time. Then, an amount is chosen per day. Similar factors that influence the multiplier in the multiplier method will influence the amount of money per day. If your injuries were particularly severe, the per diem would be higher.
Your lawyer then multiplies the days it took you to recover by the per diem amount, counting from the day you received the injury to the day your doctor released you from care.
Pain and suffering settlement examples to consider that use the per diem method:
- If your per diem is $100 and your doctor released you from care after 30 days, your pain and suffering amount would be $3,000
- If your per diem is $250 and your doctor released you from care after 60 days, your pain and suffering amount would be $15,000
Your lawyer will work hard to get you the maximum per diem possible so that you can get fair compensation for what you’ve been through.
Get Help With Your Pain and Suffering Claim
If you’ve suffered an injury because of someone’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions, you may be able to get pain and suffering damages.
Because of the complexity of personal injury laws in Texas, it’s essential that you reach out to an experienced Laredo personal injury lawyer.