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How Is Compensation for Pain and Suffering Calculated?

Salerno & Leavitt Oct. 2, 2018

When you have to sue another party for compensation after you've been injured, some calculations are easy. For example, adding up the costs of your medical bills or lost wages due to an injury is mostly a matter of compiling the stack of bills you've received.

However, determining what your level of pain and suffering is over a matter of weeks, months, or even years can be much trickier. To help you seek the most appropriate compensation in your personal injury case, learn about a few ways that damages can be calculated.

Multiplier Method

The so-called multiplier method of calculations looks at how much your medical and recovery bills have already been. The plaintiff or company involved will consider this as a base rate for future expenses, adding a multiplier (an amount multiplied by the base rate) to account for the length of time you may deal with the problem.

Generally, the multiplier method uses a multiplier between 1.5 and 5 for its calculations. For example, if your medical bills came to $10,000 for an average workplace accident, then the jury may apply 1.5 times to this number to come up with $15,000 additional funds for the suffering you experienced.

This method takes into account the severity and complexity of your injuries, as the medical and property bills will be higher if the injury is more complicated.

Per Diem Method

Per diem, as many workers know, is a set amount of money per day. This method uses a set amount of compensation - such as $100 - per each day that you have spent recovering from your injury. If you spent 60 days recovering from a puncture wound, the per diem method may indicate $6,000 (60 times 100) as an appropriate compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced in the past as well as a reasonable compensation for the near future.

The per diem method, though, has its downsides. For example, it doesn't take into account complicated injuries that may require special attention for years to come or the possibility of future complications as you age or as years go by. It also doesn't particularly allow for emotional aspects of the case - such as a grandparent who loses an arm and won't be able to play as well with future grandchildren.

Additional Factors

Sometimes, neither of these general math rules is particularly applicable. For example, if you have to change jobs or not work at all - even temporarily - as a result of an injury, how much will you lose as a result of this change?

In this case, you or a jury may take into consideration your job description, duties, and wage structure, and how your future earnings are impacted. This type of calculation can yield a more accurate idea of the impact on your financial life outside of the actual bills.

In addition, some juries may treat the injury like a job that should be appropriately compensated. If you were to pay someone to use nothing but their left hand all day, how much should they be paid, for instance?

Depending on the type of injury and its inconvenience factor, this might require much more compensation than a more traditional calculation method. Think about a worker who uses a wheelchair versus one who can use a prosthetic but remain more mobile. The first would have to be paid more to complete the same work.

Whether your injury is relatively simple or a complicated and life-altering event, the legal pros at Salerno & Associates can help. We have experience in deciding on a reasonable amount of compensation in personal injury cases. Make an appointment for a consultation today.