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How do you calculate pain and suffering damages?

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

The basic idea behind your personal injury lawsuit is to restore you to the position you would be in had the accident never happened. No one can turn back time, and so the only avenue the law provides for this is to make the negligent party compensate you monetarily for all you have lost. This includes compensation for your pain and suffering.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss some common ways to calculate pain and suffering. First, we must explain the concept of damages.

Economic and noneconomic damages

Massachusetts law uses the word “damages” to refer to your losses. Furthermore, these damages can be economic or noneconomic.

Your economic damages include costs like medical bills, replacing your car (in a car accident case) and the wages you lost because you were unable to return to work. When calculating these damages, be sure to consider future costs. If your injuries will require long-term treatment, you should be compensated for the future costs of those treatments. If your injuries mean you will no longer be able to earn the kind of wages you earned before the accident, you should be compensated for this future lost income.

Noneconomic damages include other compensable ways your injuries have negatively affected your life. These include the pain and suffering you have experienced — and will continue to experience — as a result of your injuries.

Pain and suffering: Two approaches

With economic damages, you can base your calculations on something concrete like a medical bill or a paystub. That’s not possible when calculating your pain and suffering, but there are certain points on which you can base your calculations.

When insurance companies calculate damages, they typically use two methods known as the pain multiplier approach and the per diem approach.

The per diem method is based on how many days you have experienced pain. It can also how many days you expect to experience pain in the future.

Under the pain multiplier approach, you calculate pain by taking your medical expenses or other economic damages and then multiplying that total by a number. Typically, the number ranges from 1.5 to 5, depending on the seriousness of the injuries. For instance, if your medical expenses total $100,000, you can multiply that number by 2, meaning that $200,000 can serve as compensation for your pain.

Whether you use one of these methods, a combination of them or another method altogether, remember that the point is compensate you for all you have lost as a result of your injuries.

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