Calculating Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury Claims


Calculating pain and suffering in personal injury cases is one of the most complex aspects of pursuing compensation for injuries sustained in an accident. Unlike tangible damages like medical bills and lost wages, pain and suffering encompass the physical discomfort and emotional distress experienced by the victim. In California, understanding how economic damages vs. non-economic damages are assessed can significantly impact the outcome of your personal injury claim. In this article, we'll explain how a pain and suffering calculation works, including the factors that influence these calculations.

What is Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering in personal injury claims refer to the physical discomfort and emotional distress that a victim endures as a result of an injury caused by another party's negligence. This can include acute pain following an incident, chronic pain that persists over time, and any disabilities resulting from the injury.

As you can see, this concept goes beyond easily quantifiable economic damages like medical expenses and lost wages. It can even include the loss of enjoyment of life, which refers to the reduction in a person's ability to enjoy the day-to-day activities they once did before the injury.

What is Pain and Suffering

How is Pain and Suffering Calculated?

How to calculate pain and suffering in personal injury cases can be challenging due to their subjective nature. However, there are several commonly used methods to arrive at a fair compensation amount. In California, the two primary methods are the Multiplier Method and the Per Diem Method.

The Multiplier Method involves multiplying the victim's actual economic damages (such as medical bills and lost wages) by a certain number, known as the multiplier. This multiplier typically ranges from 1.5 to 5, depending on the severity of the injury and its impact on the victim's life. Factors that influence the choice of multiplier include:

Severity of the injury

Duration of recovery

Impact on daily life

Clear evidence of pain and suffering

For example, if a victim has $10,000 in medical expenses and the chosen multiplier is 3, the pain and suffering damages would be $30,000, making the total compensation $40,000.

Let's look at the other pain and suffering formula—the Per Diem Method. In this method, a daily monetary value is assigned to the victim's pain and suffering, then multiplied by the number of days the victim is reasonably expected to experience these non-economic damages. The two factors that are considered here are the daily rate and the duration of the suffering. The daily rate can be based on the victim's daily earnings or a reasonable amount determined by the court. The duration is the number of days the victim is expected to endure pain and suffering, which is calculated based on medical records, expert testimony, and the nature of the injury.

For instance, if the daily rate is set at $200 and the pain and suffering are expected to last for 300 days, the pain and suffering damages would be $60,000.

How to Prove Pain and Suffering

How to Prove Pain and Suffering

Proving pain and suffering requires a multifaceted approach, combining objective medical evidence with personal accounts and expert testimony. Here are some effective strategies for proving pain and suffering:

Comprehensive medical records (diagnosis and treatment plans, records of hospital stays, surgeries, and prescription medications).

Physician testimonies that can explain the severity and expected duration of the pain, prognosis and long-term effects, including any permanent disabilities or chronic conditions.

Personal journals that may include daily pain levels, physical limitations and emotional struggles, such as anxiety or depression.

Testimonies from expert witnesses, such as psychological experts, vocational experts, and rehabilitation specialists.

By documenting the physical and emotional toll of the injury and enlisting the help of professionals, victims can build a strong case for receiving the compensation they deserve.

Injured in North Hollywood or Sherman Oaks?

If you need legal help, contact Yepremyan Law Firm to speak with our North Hollywood personal injury attorneys or request to be connected to a personal injury attorney in Sherman Oaks.

Our law firm in North Hollywood offers free case evaluations to help injured victims receive the guidance they need from a local personal injury attorney who cares. Book your consultation today and let us know how we can help.

*No Legal Advice Intended. This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. These materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for legal advice pertaining to any particular legal matter. Use of and access to this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader, user, or browser and Yepremyan Law Firm and any of its attorneys, employees, or associates.


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