What is Pain and Suffering?

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Injuries can lead to significant setbacks. If you or somebody you care about sustains an injury caused by the actions of another individual or business, you will likely be able to cover various types of compensation. In most injury claims, this will include coverage of medical bills, lost wages, property damage expenses, and more. However, injury victims may also be able to recover various types of pain and suffering damages. Here, we want to define pain and suffering in the context of personal injury claims.

Understanding Pain and Suffering After an Injury

Whether your injuries have occurred as a result of a car accident, a slip and fall accident, or a medical mistake, the reality is that there are various types of pain and suffering that you will likely endure. 

When most people think about compensation after sustaining an injury, they think of coverage of medical bills, lost income, property damage expenses, and out-of-pocket losses. Yes, these are certainly losses that individuals should recover compensation for. We refer to these as economic or special damages.

However, there is an entire set of damages that individuals sustain after they are injured that are harder to calculate than the economic costs. We refer to these as general damages or non-economic damages. We say that these are more immeasurable because there are no bills or receipts that can be added up to properly quantify certain types of suffering after an injury occurs.

Some of the most common types of pain and suffering losses injury victims sustain include the following:

  • Physical pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Physical impairment damages
  • Scarring and disfigurement damages
  • Loss of consortium for a spouse or family member
  • Loss of companionship

How are Pain and Suffering Calculated?

As we alluded to above, adding up most losses after an injury occurs is not too challenging. With economic damages, we have bills, receipts, property damage estimates, and other types of quantifiable means of adding up the losses.

Properly calculating pain and suffering damages is not as easy. This is generally done in one of two ways by injury victims and their personal injury attorneys:

  • Multiplier method. Using this method, an attorney will add up all of the economic losses and then multiply the total by a set number (usually a number ranging from 1.5 to 5). For example, if the total economic losses added up to $100,000, an attorney could use a multiplier of “three” to reach a pain and suffering loss total of $300,000. Overall, the attorney would ask for $400,000 for their client.
  • Per diem method. Alternatively, an attorney could assign a dollar figure to each day that an individual is expected to experience pain and suffering as a result of the injury. Let us suppose that $300 is assigned for daily pain and suffering, and a person is expected to take one year to recover. Overall, an attorney would multiply $300 by 365 days to reach $109,500 for pain and suffering damages.

It is crucial for any injury victim to work with a skilled lawyer in California who can help them through this entire process. An attorney can enlist the assistance of trusted medical and economic experts who can assign a value to both economic and non-economic losses.