How Much Money Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering

How Much Money Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering

Written by Dennis Grossman

Attorney Dennis Grossman has managed thousands of cases, obtaining millions of dollars in settlements and jury awards for his clients.

When a person is injured due to another person’s or entity’s negligence and recklessness, then the victim can recover damages for their immediate pain and ongoing health issues, as well as their pain and suffering. These damages are to be paid out by the insurance company of the liable party. For example, if a drunk driver hits another driver so badly that the victim is permanently paralyzed, then the at-fault driver’s car insurance policy will be used to pay enormous damages to the plaintiff. 

Because pain and suffering damages are so subjective, insurance companies tend to fight back against having to pay out large settlements. Our personal injury attorneys can help you get the pain and suffering compensation that you deserve from the insurance company. The injury attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have over 40 years of experience in handling personal injury claims and winning high settlements for our clients’ pain and suffering. We leave no stone unturned when representing you in your pain and suffering case.

What Is Pain and Suffering?

Physical pain is more than just a sensation. There is an emotional component to physical suffering. “Pain and suffering” refers to the emotional distress and mental anguish a person can experience due to personal injury. The law recognizes that the whole person suffers after an accident and that the subjective experience of physical pain and emotional suffering affects a person’s quality of life and ability to pursue what makes them happy. 

Severe injuries cause more mental anguish than minor injuries, especially those that lead to the loss of the use of a limb, amputation, loss of the use of an organ, or the loss of one of the five senses. All of these can be included in a pain and suffering claim. 

The mental trauma of being unable to walk again or needing medical assistive devices or help adds to the emotional pain that the injured person subjectively feels. If you suffered a personal injury that caused you to be blind, paralyzed, or suffer another permanent and disfiguring injury, then you may have a strong pain and suffering claim.

Ways to Calculate Pain and Suffering

In order to understand how pain and suffering compensation is calculated in personal injury cases, you must first understand the two types of compensatory damages: economic damages and non-economic damages. 

Economic Damages

Economic damages are financial damages related to your car accident, including but not limited to medical bills, lost wages, car repairs, and other expenses related to your personal injury. You can financially recover all of your medical expenses related to your fall accident or your car accident, including but not limited to:

  • Your ambulance ride
  • Your hospital stay
  • Surgery 
  • Medical exams, lab tests, and scans
  • All of your medications
  • Medical assistive or therapeutic devices, such as a wheelchair 
  • Follow-up visits with a doctor
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation

Car accidents cause injury victims to miss work, so you could receive compensation for lost wages for days that you have already missed from work. You could also receive compensation for your future lost earning potential in your personal injury claim. If physical injuries prevent you from returning to your former vocation and you need to train for a new field, then those costs can be considered in your personal injury case. If you worked very hard to succeed in your career and spent many years trying to achieve professional accomplishments, then there may be more emotional trauma related to your physical injuries than someone who was unemployed or indifferent about their job. That’s why we fight for you to get the personal injury settlement that you deserve.

Economic damages also include miscellaneous costs related to your accident. For example, if you were involved in a car accident, then you can be compensated for the cost of repairs or replacing your car. If you need to pay for childcare services, household services, public transportation, transportation to a specialist for your medical needs, or to install a wheelchair ramp in your home, these can all be calculated within your economic damages.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-econonmic damages are awarded to victims of accidents to cover the intangible losses from their injuries. Examples of pain and suffering include:

  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of society
  • Loss of consortium
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Despair
  • Humiliation
  • Depression
  • Insomnia

Calculating a Pain and Suffering Settlement

Because non-economic damages are subjective, it is harder for the victim to provide a monetary value for their pain and suffering damages since they may seem immeasurable. However, a personal injury attorney from our law firm can help. There are two ways that pain and suffering costs are calculated: the multiplier method and the per diem method.

The Multiplier Method

The multiplier method of calculating pain and suffering starts by adding up all of your medical bills and other economic damages and then multiplying them by a number between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of your pain and suffering. The multiplier could be as high as 10 in a wrongful death case. 

For example, Mary is in a car accident and suffers head trauma and other severe injuries. The total cost for her medical treatment, including surgeries and rehabilitative care, amount to $80,000. Her lost wages and other expenses totaled $95,000 in economic damages. She was an avid scuba diver before her accident and was civically engaged. She had to give up scuba diving and being on the planning committee for an annual event that she loved. Feeling like she lost herself, she has been going to therapy for depression, which also costs a lot per appointment. Due to her severe injuries and how much the accident has affected her life, her multiplier for her pain and suffering could be three. $95,000 multiplied by three is $285,000. By hiring an experienced personal injury attorney who will fight for her and stand up to the insurance company, she may even be able to recover $380,000 ($95,000 multiplied by four).

The Per Diem Method

The per diem method of calculating a settlement value is based on the daily or weekly toll of the plaintiff’s pain and suffering. Basically, the insurance company assigns a dollar amount to your pain and suffering every day or week you spend recovering from your accident and are likely to continue to experience adverse effects.

It’s important to understand that these are proprietary formulas used by insurance companies to calculate the value of damages like pain and suffering and how they will affect the company‘s overall liability. The insurance adjusters will weigh the risk of going to trial and giving you the offer you request. It is crucial to work with an attorney with experience in calculating settlement values who can give you a professional opinion of what your claim is worth.

How Can You Prove Pain and Suffering Damages?

Now that you understand how your pain and suffering costs are calculated, it’s time to understand how evidence and strong negotiating skills help in an injury claim. The most common types of documents used for evidence are:

  • Medical records
  • Documentation of time you missed from work
  • Records from a psychologist or psychiatrist
  • Photos of your injuries
  • A daily journal chronicling your physical pain and mental anguish
  • Testimony from loved ones, friends and coworkers about changes they’ve noticed in your mood, performance, and personality

Your attorney will learn about the activities that used to bring you joy in life. During your free consultation at Grossman Law Offices, we want to know if you traveled regularly, enjoyed cooking at home, volunteered, played recreational sports, engaged in outdoor activities, or enjoyed gardening or fixing things up around your house. If you find it hard to participate in your kids’ lives, attend events, or enjoy time socializing with friends because of your accident, then call us now to learn how much money you can sue for pain and suffering in a personal injury claim.

Settlements For Pain And Suffering

To learn more about calculating your pain and suffering settlement and how to file a personal injury claim, call Grossman Law Offices. Our law firm has helped others in Fresno recover compensation in the four decades that we have been in practice. We start by offering you a free case evaluation where we listen to you. Then, we advise you of your rights, what your next steps are, and we answer any questions you have about filing a claim for compensation. We continue to communicate with you on the status of your suit and take the time to explain complicated legal strategies in a way that is not overwhelming to understand. Call Grossman Law Offices in Fresno at (866) 982-5094 now.