How can you be compensated for pain and suffering?

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2024 | Personal Injury |

When you file a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident, you are seeking compensation for everything you have lost because of your injuries. This means not only your medical expenses and lost wages, but also your pain and suffering.

If the idea of putting a price tag on your pain strikes you as strange, you’re not alone. The situation is definitely strange, but it’s a necessary step in securing the compensation you deserve and need.

Economic damages

In legal terminology, your losses as a result of your accident are known as “damages.” Damages can be economic or noneconomic. Economic damages include verifiable losses such as medical expenses and lost wages.

Some kinds of damages are easier to calculate than others.

Calculating your medical expenses can be fairly straightforward: You can collect all your medical bills related to your injuries and add up the total. To make sure you are fully compensated, you should also estimate how much your related medical expenses will be in the future. For instance, if you expect to need rehabilitative care for several years after your lawsuit concludes, you should include an estimate for those costs.

Depending on the extent of your injuries, calculating lost wages can be trickier. If your injuries stem from a car accident that caused you to lose a month of work, it’s easy enough to calculate one month of wages. But if you were seriously injured, your earning power may be reduced for the rest of your working life. You should be compensated for this loss, and that means estimating how much future income you will lose as a result of your injuries.

Noneconomic damages

The pain you have suffered falls under the category of noneconomic damages. The measure of these losses is, by nature, subjective. You are the only person in the world who knows what your pain means to you. Still, you must find some way to put a number on this loss.

The two most common methods of calculating pain and suffering damages are known as the per diem approach and the multiplier approach.

Under the per diem approach, you add up the number of days you experienced pain and then demand a price per day. If you expect to have pain for years into the future, you can multiply that amount by the estimated number of days you will continue to have pain.

Under the multiplier approach, you measure your pain as related to your economic damages. You begin by totaling your medical expenses related to your injuries, and then multiply that total by a number. Typically, the number is between 1 and 5, depending on the seriousness of your injuries. In other words, the total of your damages for pain may be equal to or greater than the total of your medical expenses.

As we noted above, this concept can seem strange, but it is necessary for you to recover all the compensation you deserve.