How to Calculate What You’re Owed For Pain and Suffering
Please keep in mind, there is no set or approved system of calculating pain and suffering. Juries are even instructed that there are no definite standards for calculating pain and suffering. This article is an example only.
One important part of a personal injury claim is the calculation for compensation. Some calculations are quite simple, such as the repayment for documented medical costs. However, pain and suffering can be very difficult to calculate because injuries affect each person differently. Therefore, it is vital that individuals work with reputable injury attorneys who will fight for damages on their behalf.
Calculating Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering are different from medical bills and property damages in that they are usually quite subjective. These non-economic damages refer to all types of physical, mental, emotional and relational pain. Therefore, while it certainly refers to ongoing physical pain, such as what might be experienced after a whiplash case, it can also refer to depression and similar concerns.
Per Diem Calculations
Per diem calculations are made by the day and are based on a specific dollar amount for each day of pain and suffering experienced. The amount can vary based on the individual’s injuries, the amount of money he usually makes each day at his job or the expected time for full recovery. Although the per diem method may seem simple to use, it is actually rarely taken into account by insurance adjusters who tend to look at numerous variables. However, setting this per diem amount can give the plaintiff and his attorney a good place to start as they come to terms with the defendant.
Most people including jurors believe that there should be some multiplier when calculating pain and suffering. However courts consider these to be attorney opinion and not evidence and advise jurys of such. With this method, the plaintiff’s actual costs and damages are figured based on objective evidence, such as medical bills and receipts for correcting damage or restoring property. Once this amount is figured, it is multiplied by a number from one through five based on the extent of the pain and suffering and how long it is anticipated in the future.
An attorney will look at a variety of factors before determining whether or not a high multiplier should be used. For example, he will look at the extent of objective injuries, the level of fault of both parties, the expected length of recovery and the number of permanent physical problems that are expected. A high multiplier is most often justified when the medical team determines that the individual will likely experience persistent or degenerative problems from the injury. In some cases when each of these qualifiers comes into play, an attorney will actually ask for more than five times the amount of medical bills and other costs.
However, insurance adjusters are typically loathe to pay pain and suffering damages for certain types of injuries that are most difficult to back up medically. Therefore, the multiplier will probably be quite low for soft-tissue injuries and other minor injuries. Moreover, adjusters usually try to lower the multiplier if they can determine that the plaintiff has prior injuries or did not seek quick medical treatment. Therefore, any numbers given by an attorney before the case is settled are not definite.
Calculating Pain and Suffering in Arizona and Nevada
Another way of calculating pain and suffering is through past Jury and Settlement data research. Often good research of similar cases injuries and surgeries can give one some parameters of a good settlement, result, and or award.
Obviously, calculating pain and suffering is a difficult process because it relies mainly on subjective data. In addition, because each state has different laws for dealing with personal injuries, it is vital that one works with an attorney in his own state. Attorneys from Lloyd Baker Injury Attorneys practice in both Arizona and Nevada.
As a comparative fault state, Arizona assigns each party a percentage of the blame. Therefore, pain and suffering compensation may be decreased based on the percentage of fault of the injured party.
In Nevada, which is a modified comparative fault state, the plaintiff must be found to be less at fault than the defendant to receive damages for pain and suffering. Nevada also makes use of several caps to limit the amount of damages that any party is required to pay. For example, pain and suffering damages from medical malpractice are capped at $350,000.
Because it can be so confusing to calculate damages for pain and suffering and because damages can always vary, you will want to work with a knowledgeable attorney who can fight for your rights. In Arizona and Nevada, Lloyd Baker Injury Attorneys have your back. Be sure that you do not accept any injury settlements before consulting with us.