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Calculating Damages for Pain and Suffering After an Accident

Woman With Ongoing Neck Pain After An Accident

An auto accident can leave you with severe injuries and resulting expenses. You may face high medical costs, lose time at work and suffer a great deal of pain. If another person was at fault for the accident, you might be entitled to financial compensation for what you are going through. How much money you recover depends on proving your monetary losses as well as other impacts of the injuries, including the pain and suffering you endure now and in the future.

There are two forms of compensation available in a personal injury case: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are based on quantifiable losses such as medical bills, accident-related expenses, lost income and lost earning. Calculating these damages is rather straightforward. Your personal injury attorney gathers documentary evidence and testimony about the value you lost and expect to lose because of the accident. These proofs are presented in settlement discussions or at trial.

Non-economic damages, however, are based not on ascertainable losses but on other negative effects of the accident. The most common of these damages are for pain and suffering, which are difficult to reduce to a specific figure. In evaluating claims of pain and suffering, insurance companies typically use one of these two calculation methods:

  • The multiplier method — Your provable medical expenses are multiplied by a certain number, which is usually between 1.5 and 5 depending on factors specific to your case. These may include the seriousness of the injuries, the time it took to recover and how the injuries affect your day-to-day life and your ability to earn a living.
  • The per diem method — This method assigns a daily value rate to the number of days you were in pain. Many companies use the amount you would earn at work in a particular day to set the per diem rate. The proposed settlement is then based on the number of days you were in pain multiplied by the daily value of your suffering.

If a claim can’t be settled and the case goes to trial, juries are given wide discretion in determining how much you are owed in pain and suffering damages. They can look at such factors as these:

  • The extent of the car accident injuries
  • Whether you will suffer long-term pain or disfigurement
  • How the injuries have changed your life temporarily or permanently
  • The emotional distress you have gone through because of the accident

Juries are permitted to rely not only on trial evidence but also on their own judgment.

Calculating and proving pain and suffering damages requires experience and knowledge. Kevin T. Kutyla, Esq. in Succasunna has the wealth of experience needed to fight for the compensation you deserve. Call 973-940-8970 or contact me online for your appointment. I represent accident victims in Morris and Sussex counties and throughout New Jersey.