How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?
When a party causes someone an injury, the injured party can seek compensation for their injuries and damages under Georgia personal injury laws. The damages in a personal injury case include compensation for economic damages, such as medical bills, property damage, and lost wages.
An injured party can also seek compensation for their pain and suffering damages. These damages are referred to as non-economic damages because they are intangible damages that do not have a specific value. The value is based on the circumstances of the case.
If you have been injured because of another party’s intentional torts or negligence, a Tifton personal injury lawyer can help you seek compensation for your damages. This resource provides information about pain and suffering damages and how we evaluate those damages in a personal injury case.
What Are Pain and Suffering Damages in a Georgia Personal Injury Case?
Damages refer to the remedy a party requests when they file a civil claim. In a personal injury case, the court cannot undo the harm you sustained because of another party’s actions. The only remedy a civil court can offer is financial damages.
Pain and suffering damages are a term used to describe non-economic damages. They represent the agony, distress, and discomfort caused by an accident or personal injury.
Examples of pain and suffering damages include:
- Physical pain and discomfort, including pain from back and neck injuries, internal organ damage, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, brain injuries, soft tissue injury, and more
- Emotional distress, mental anguish, and other psychological harm caused by the accident, injuries, and recovery
- Loss of enjoyment of life and a decrease in future quality of life
- Disfigurement and scarring, including severe burns, loss of limbs, and amputation
- Long-term impairments and disabilities, including cognitive changes, chronic pain, paralysis, and amputations
Documenting pain and suffering damages can be challenging. Make photographs and videos of your injuries to show the extent of the injuries. It is also helpful to keep a journal detailing your struggles during your recovery, including activities you cannot perform, your mental state, and the pain you experience because of your injuries and medical treatments.
The Types of Personal Injury Cases That Can Lead to Pain and Suffering Damages
Any personal injury or accident can lead to pain and suffering damages. Common reasons for pain and suffering claims include, but are not limited to:
- Injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents, including bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Slip and fall accidents and other premises liability claims
- Medical malpractice and negligence
- Workplace accidents
- Child injuries
- Uber and Lyft accidents
- Boating accidents
- Dog bites and animal attacks
- Defective products (product liability claims)
If you are injured in an accident or sustain an injury caused by another party, seek immediate medical attention. Documenting your injuries through medical records improves your chance of receiving a fair settlement for your personal injury claim.
How Much Are Pain and Suffering Damages Worth?
There is not a specific amount awarded for pain and suffering damages. However, the value of pain and suffering damages typically increases with the severity of your injuries. Other factors that can affect the value of pain and suffering damages include:
- The type of injuries you sustain
- Whether your injuries cause permanent impairments, disfigurements, or disabilities
- The type of medical treatments received
- Whether you can return to work or perform any activities to earn income
- How your injuries impact your daily activities and life
- The availability of insurance coverage for your personal injury claim
- The parties involved in your case
- Whether you are partially to blame for causing your injury (i.e., contributory fault)
- The strength of the evidence proving causation, fault, and liability
Some factors increase the value of your pain and suffering damages, such as the severity of your injuries and sustaining a permanent impairment. However, other factors could hurt your case, such as contributory fault and lack of evidence. Our Tifton personal injury lawyers carefully analyze each factor in your case and work to maximize the value of your damages to increase the amount of money you receive for your claim.
Methods of Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages?
There is no pain and suffering calculator used to determine the value of your damages. Instead, we consider the factors of the case to determine the value of pain and suffering. A common method of calculating pain and suffering damages is the multiplier method.
The multiplier method assigns a number between 1.5 and five as the “multiplier” for the case. The higher the multiplier, the higher the value of non-economic damages. Therefore, if you develop a disability or substantial scarring because of the injury, the multiplier should increase.
For example, the multiplier for a case of whiplash that results in no permanent injury and heals in a few weeks might result in a multiplier of 1.5. However, total lifelong paralysis may result in a multiplier of 5.
To calculate the value of pain and suffering damages, you multiply your economic damages by the multiplier. Therefore, if your economic damages total $300,000 and the multiplier is three, your pain and suffering damages total $900,000.
Economic damages include the financial losses caused by the accident and your injury. They include your medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses. It also includes lost wages, long-term care, and property damage.
Another way to calculate pain and suffering damages is by using the per diem method. A per diem is a daily amount paid for pain and suffering damages. The per diem is based on the same factors we use to choose a multiplier.
The per diem is multiplied by the number of days it took you to reach maximum medical improvement or MMI. You reach MMI when your doctor determines no further medical treatment will improve your condition. MMI can mean a full recovery, or you could reach MMI with an impairment.
For example, suppose it takes 180 days to recover from a car accident, and the per diem is $300 daily. In that case, your pain and suffering damages total $54,000. Per diems are better suited for cases involving minor injuries and quicker recoveries.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Tifton Personal Injury Lawyers
Hiring a Tifton personal injury attorney greatly increases your chance of receiving a fair and reasonable settlement for pain and suffering damages. An experienced attorney understands damages, the law governing damages, and how to deal effectively with an insurance company to negotiate fair settlements.