If you are injured as a result of someone else’s actions or inaction, you may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to collect damages from the other party. Medical bills and wage loss are two of the most common types of compensation you can receive, and these are pretty easy to calculate by simply tracing your expenses or reviewing your salary history. Another type of compensation you can receive is for “pain and suffering,” and it’s a little more complicated than the above damages. Below, we explain what factors play into a pain and suffering award and how these damages are calculated.
Pain and Suffering Factors
There are a variety of factors that can be used under the pain and suffering umbrella to determine a compensation award. Some of those factors include:
- Mental anguish
- Physical pain
- Emotional pain
- Decrease in quality of life
- Loss of spousal consortium
This is far from a complete list, but it paints a picture of what types of factors can be used in determining an award under the pain and suffering category.
Now that we know what factors help determine an award, let’s take a look at the equation for determining an award amount. As you might have guessed, it’s easier to put a price on wage loss benefits than it is to appropriately gauge a payment for physical pain or a diminished quality of life. There is no one-size-fits-all equation for determining these amounts, but some standard ways that lawyers ballpark these numbers are by using one of the equations:
Times Three – In some instances, a general pain and suffering award is determined by taking the total economic damages (from wage loss and medical expenses) and multiplying that number by three. For example, if you incurred $12,000 of medical expenses, you may try to ask for $36,000 in pain and suffering.
Per Diem – Your lawyer may also recommend that you are paid on a daily basis until you reach maximum medical recovery. For example, they may ask for $150 a day until you’ve recovered. If you are cleared to return to work and resume normal activities after 30 days, you may be eligible to collect $4,500 in pain and suffering damages.
These are just basic examples that convey a general sense of how your pain and suffering award may be calculated. Individual factors will drive the true cost, but these methods can help provide some semblance of what you can expect to receive. It will also come down to how well you can prove these damages, which is why we recommend strengthening your case with things like a professional and independent medical exam, expert witnesses, personal injury journaling and statements from friends and family who can testify to the changes they’ve seen in your life.
If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit and are wondering if you are eligible for pain and suffering damages, reach out to Dean and the team at Margolis Law Firm to see what we can do for you.