How Do Lawyers Calculate Pain and Suffering?

The term “pain and suffering” often refers to non-economic damages that typically result after a serious injury. These damages are payable to injury victims in compensation claims and lawsuits, but calculating them can be a challenge in some cases because they have no intrinsic monetary value. So how do lawyers calculate pain and suffering? Two methods are discussed in this piece.

What Counts as Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering damages in personal injury cases include a variety of intangible losses that result from personal injury matters. They are consequences that affect the emotions and minds of injury victims and their family members.

Common forms of pain and suffering damages, also known as non-economic damages, include:

  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium.

The existence of pain and suffering damages is proof that the law considers emotional and mental injuries and impacts to be real and compensable. The problem, however, lies in the fact that damages within this category simply have no price tag like economic damages do.

Another important point is that pain and suffering damages are not typically awarded without an accompanying injury. Put another way, you can’t experience pain and suffering without being injured.

Tyroler Leonard Injury Law is ready to help ensure that you receive the damages you deserve. Contact our office for a free consultation with our team. Call 651-259-1113 today!

Methods for Determining Pain and Suffering

In the absence of built-in price tags and intrinsic monetary value, attorneys use formulas to calculate proper damages amounts. The two most commonly used methods are the multiplier method and the per-diem method.

Multiplier Method

The multiplier method takes the total dollar amount of an injury victim’s economic damages and multiplies that number by a number between 1.5 and 5. The more serious the injury, the higher the multiplier.

Economic damages compensate injury victims for their pecuniary losses related to their injuries, such as:

  • Medical treatment expenses and fees
  • Medical device and equipment costs
  • Prescription medication costs
  • Lost work opportunities and lost income
  • Travel, home help, and other injury-related expenses.

Injury victims need an experienced attorney who will fight hard to get every penny of economic damages included in their client’s compensation payout. The higher the economic damages, the higher the pain and suffering or non-economic damages.

As an example of the multiplier method in action, take a slip and fall accident victim who experiences serious, painful neck and back injuries leading to disability and a year out of work. This injury victim will receive far more economic damages related to medical treatment than a victim who breaks their arm in an identical accident.

The more seriously injured victim would have higher medical bills and a higher multiplier. Whereas the person with the broken arm may get a multiplier of 2 or 3, the victim with the neck and back injury would get a multiplier of at least 4.

Per Diem Method

The per diem method of calculating pain and suffering damages is less common than the multiplier method. Using this approach, attorneys calculate in dollars how much pain and suffering the victim experiences each day. They then determine how many days it will take for the victim to reach their maximum recovery point and multiply this sum by the per diem figure.

For example, an accident victim’s attorney might seek a $200 per diem for their client, who needs 400 days to recover. Based on these numbers, the attorney would be seeking: $200 x 400 days = $80,000.

Your losses matter to Tyroler Leonard Injury Law. We will fight hard to recover the funds you deserve.

Factors Affecting Pain and Suffering Compensation Totals

Regardless of which method is used, the ultimate compensation total is heavily influenced by a number of factors. As mentioned, the seriousness of one’s injuries is almost determinative of what an accident victim will receive. However, other factors also come into play.

Financial Impact on Victim

Injury victims have all manner of different backgrounds and differing levels of employment and wealth. The more an injury interferes with an individual’s income, the more lost income they can demand.

For example, a person who makes $40,000 per year can pursue $40,000 in lost income (or more, with benefits) if their injuries lead to a year out of work. An injury victim with the exact same injuries but a $100,000 per year salary will be able to claim more than double the previous example in lost wages.

Ultimately, the higher lost-wage compensation will affect the total amount of pain and suffering damages. This example shows how injury victims with the exact same injuries can receive substantially different compensation totals.

Insurance Policy Limits

Auto, home, and other types of insurance policies have limits. If a victim’s damages exceed the limits of all applicable policies (personal injury protection [PIP], liability, underinsured/uninsured motorist), the victim may have to seek the remaining unpaid damages directly from the party who injured them. There may also be other insurance coverage available.

Regarding the latter, a defendant might have an umbrella policy that triggers coverage when all other forms of insurance have been exhausted. The defendant might also be an employee who was on the clock at the time of the injury. If so, their employer could be held liable, which would provide access to the employer’s insurance policy.

If no other insurance exists, suing the defendant is usually the only remaining option. Depending on how much compensation remains to be paid, this course of action could be a viable or potentially terrible option.

Skill and Experience of Victim’s Attorney

In every case involving pain and suffering damages, the skill and experience of the victim’s injury attorney factor heavily in the final payout total. Seasoned personal injury attorneys work meticulously to properly calculate and recover every compensable dollar for their clients.

When you hire a Minnesota personal injury attorney to represent you, they immediately focus all of their efforts on one objective: identifying and recovering all forms of compensation for you. Accomplishing this requires:

  • Diligent investigative efforts
  • Learned and in-depth analysis of the evidence
  • Consultations with relevant experts
  • Compliance with legal procedures
  • Effective and aggressive negotiation tactics.

When your multiplier should be a 4 or a 5, your attorney will not settle for the 1.5 or 2 proposed by the insurance company. When you need compensation for six months or a year out of work, your lawyer will reject the two months offered by the adjuster.

Don’t hesitate to contact an attorney after your injury. There is a statute of limitations of six years in Minnesota and three years in Wisconsin. These allotments may seem like plenty of time. However, evidence to prove personal injury cases becomes more problematic as time passes after an injury.

Get the Compensation You Deserve

If you have been in a personal injury accident in Minnesota, you deserve to be represented by a firm that knows how to recover the money you need. Tyroler Leonard Injury Law has the experience and know-how to ensure that you receive proper compensation for your pain and suffering and any other losses you have suffered.

Call 651-259-1113 for a free consultation today and learn how Tyroler Leonard Injury Law can help.

Attorney Isaac Tyroler

Attorney Isaac Tyroler has been a strong advocate for injured people his entire legal career. He has a passion for righting wrongs, and he deeply cares about representing injured clients who may feel overwhelmed or uncertain about how to navigate the legal system. He is compassionate toward clients and aggressive with insurance companies and defendants. He is on the elected Board of Governors of the Minnesota Association of Justice (MAJ), the top personal injury lawyers’ group in Minnesota. And is currently the chair of MAJ’s legislative committee. [ Attorney Bio ]