According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 31 million people injured across the country each year require medical treatment. The US Department of Justice reveals 52 percent of the injuries are due to motor vehicle accidents, 15 percent relates to medical malpractice, and 5 percent is a result of product liability.
If you suffer injuries due to another person’s carelessness or negligence, you can recover damages by pursuing a personal injury claim. In addition to other compensation such as medical expenses and lost wages, the insurance company should also provide you with some compensation for your general pain and suffering.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
The phrase “pain and suffering” is an integral part of many personal injury cases. There are two types of pain and suffering from a legal perspective:
- Physical pain and suffering: these are the plaintiff’s actual physical injuries. It encompasses both the pain and discomfort suffered and the adverse effects they will likely endure in the future due to the defendant’s negligence.
- Mental pain and suffering: this form of pain and suffering is a by-product of the plaintiff’s bodily injuries. Mental pain and suffering can include emotional distress, anxiety, shock, humiliation, anger, fear, and loss of enjoyment of life. It may also include loss of appetite, depression, a lack of energy, mood swings, sexual dysfunction, and sleep disturbances.
In a nutshell, mental pain and suffering constitute any negative emotion that you suffer after enduring physical pain and trauma. It includes all the emotions you have to deal with both now and into the future.
How is a Pain and Suffering Multiplier used in a Personal Injury Case?
The pain and suffering multiplier is an equation that insurance companies use to calculate pain and suffering damages. The method adds up all the actual damages and multiplies it by a number between 1.5 to 5. The number by which you multiply is referred to as the multiplier.
The multipliers indicate the degree of seriousness of the pain and suffering and other general damages suffered. Typically serious injuries have a multiplier close to 5. However, some severe injuries have a multiplier as high as 6 or 7.
Pain and Suffering Multiplier Equation
If you get into an accident with a negligent driver and sustained a broken nose and teeth, you may need surgery. You will not only suffer from chronic pain, but you will also lose the ability to eat and speak.
You may also endure some feeling of sharp pain and discomfort long after the surgery. Your special damages covering medical expenses lost wages, and other bills may amount to $10000. Due to the severity of the injuries, your multiplier will be close to 5.
To calculate estimated damages, including pain and suffering, you multiply the actual damages by the multiplier, i.e., $ 10,000 (special damages) x 5.0 (multiplier) = $50,000. If you were to use a multiplier of 6 for the same case, you would ask for $60,000 in non-economic damages.
Will the Insurance Company Accept My Calculations?
The insurance company will always argue for the lowest possible multiplier. Consider working with an experienced attorney who can build a solid case to justify the highest possible multiplier. You should also remember the amount that you calculate with your preferred multiply method is just an estimate. It doesn’t guarantee that the insurance company will pay that amount. An insurance company can deny your claim if you apply a high multiplier without justification. It is, therefore, crucial to support your calculations with accurate facts. Besides, when determining the appropriate multiplier for your pain and suffering, consider the following factors:
- The seriousness of your injuries
- The period of recovery
- Clear proof of the other driver’s fault
- Proof of pain and suffering based on verified documents
Limitations and Exceptions to Pain and Suffering
The statute of limitations in personal injury cases is different from state to state and can range from one to six years. However, most states have a discovery rule exception to the standard statute of limitation deadlines. Notably, the discovery rule prolongs the filing deadline in one of the following situations:
- If the defendant left the state for any period after causing the accident that led to your injury
- If the injured person didn’t know that they suffered an injury or that the defendants’ actions may have caused the injury
- If the plaintiff is a minor (i.e., under age 18), disabled, or mentally ill, or insane.
For details on the statute of limitation law where you live, check the statute of limitations in your state.
Proving Pain and Suffering
Recovering compensation for pain and suffering damages can be challenging. Ideally, even when two people suffer the same injury, each person “suffers” differently after an injury. Before you start calculating your pain and suffering damages, keep in mind that you must support your claims.
If you suffered minor injuries, you might require just a doctors’ medical records. However, for severe injuries, you may be asked to provide other supporting documents such as witness testimonies, expert testimonies, police reports, medical treatment bills and photos of injuries, psychiatric records, and medical prognosis.
Don’t Settle For Less. Get Legal Help
If you are injured in an accident or workplace and want to file a personal injury lawsuit, you could be wondering how much your personal injury case is worth. Our personal injury attorneys will not only help calculate the right amount of your damages but will also fight for you to get the compensation you need to cover your bills.
Our highly experienced personal injury lawyers have helped thousands of injured drivers, passengers, and workers before, and you are not an exception. We work on a contingency fee basis, and you won’t have to pay for our services unless your case wins or settles.