We hear a lot of talk about “pain and suffering” in lawsuits. Essentially, this is extra financial compensation that someone receives for their injuries. Of course, no amount of money can fix pain of an injury, but pain and suffering rewards can offer some relief. They give someone breathing room, allowing them to rebuild their lives with fewer financial woes.
Determining a specific amount of money for pain and suffering damages is not an exact science. With other forms of compensation, you ask the defendant to pay you back for your losses. Attorneys need a usable standard to justify the pain and suffering amounts they request.
Here are the two methods attorneys use to calculate pain and suffering requests.
The Multiplier Method
The multiplier is a complicated system. Initially, an attorney totals all medical expenses related to the injury. This includes any visits, prescriptions, surgeries, therapies, and so on. After calculating this sum, the lawyer multiplies it by a number between one and five.
This number is based on the severity of the injury. If you weren’t badly harmed, and you recovered quickly, your attorney might use the number one. Therefore, if you won your case, you would be compensated twice for your medical expenses. Let’s say you spend $100,000 on treatment. If you were awarded pain and suffering damages, you would receive a total of $200,000, your medical expenses multiplied by one.
For more severe injuries, like a spinal or brain injury, the medical expenses are multiplied by five. Going back to the above example, that totals $600,000. This amount represents your original expenses plus your pain and suffering compensation. Of course, there are varying degrees of severity between one and five, and your pain and suffering request will reflect that.
Pain and suffering amounts are not automatically accepted. Your attorney must negotiate the amount before moving forward. The severity of your injury will the cause of much debate. What appears to be a minor injury for one person could be a catastrophic injury for another.
Imagine someone hurting their thumb, eventually losing sensation and mobility in the appendage. If you are a teacher, this might not be life-altering. You can still do your job, but you may have a harder time writing. Imagine, however, that you work on circuit boards, or you are a surgeon. These occupations require precise, fine motor controls. Losing even the smallest amount of dexterity could make you incapable of continuing this work. In that case, your injury would qualify as a “catastrophic,” or life-altering. Your attorney would probably use the number five when employing the multiplier method.
The multiplier is effective for more extreme injuries, especially those leading to a disability or disfigurement.
The Per-Diem Method
This method is much more straight-forward, and it often works for smaller injuries. It is focused on the amount of time you were in pain. “Per-diem” is a Latin term translating to “per day.” The per-diem method attempts to compensate you for each day of that pain.
The easiest way to determine your per-diem is by using your daily income. Let’s your job pays you $165 per day. For 10 days of misery, you could receive a total of $1,650 in pain and suffering damages.
Other Forms of Compensation
Pain and suffering is considered a “non-economic” form of compensation, as it’s not directly covering financial expenses. Personal injury suits can also compensate you for the money you spent on your injury. For instance, you could be paid back for your medical bills. You could also be repaid for any property damage associated with your injury.
You can also recover income you lost. If recovery caused you to miss work or lose your job, you may be able to have that money repaid. Furthermore, you could recover “potential” lost income if your injury forced you to miss out on a promotion or a career change.
In very extreme circumstances, the court could award you punitive damages. This compensation is designed to punish someone. If the defendant’s actions were willfully malicious, a civil court cannot throw them in jail. It can, however, force them to pay a much higher amount of damages, sending them a message.
If you’ve been harmed by another’s negligence, reach out to our firm today. We may be able to help you seek financial justice to compensate you for your pain and suffering. Our number is (607) 228-8404, and you can also contact us online.