What Is "Pain and Suffering?"

When you are injured in an accident, you will sustain different types of damages. One of these types of damages you might hear discussed is “pain and suffering,” which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: the amount of pain and mental anguish along with the amount you suffer from these things as a result of your injuries. Let’s take a closer look at pain and suffering and learn more about how it can influence your case as well as your settlement or verdict.

Types of Pain & Suffering

There are two different types of pain and suffering: physical and mental. Physical pain and suffering is perhaps the most obvious: if you’re hurt in an accident, you experience pain. That pain causes you to suffer, especially when the healing process causes you discomfort for days or weeks on end. In fact, sometimes the pain never actually ceases. While you might be able to recover to the point where you don’t experience lasting pain, some people lose the ability to place weight on certain joints or have to deal with other painful consequences of their injury for the rest of their lives.

Mental pain and suffering takes things a step further. Sometimes a serious accident can cause lasting mental damage that can’t be overcome. If a taxi driver gets into a serious accident to the point where they’re scared to ever get behind the wheel again, this is an example of mental pain and suffering. Those who have been injured will often suffer from bouts of depression or anxiety, especially when they lose the ability to care for their loved ones. While this pain may not be physical, it can be just as debilitating, and you can still claim mental pain and suffering, even if there is no physical pain to go with it.

How is Pain & Suffering Financially Calculated?

While some damages are financial in nature and can the exact loss can be fairly easily calculated (such as medical bills, medications, and more), pain and suffering is a different type of damage which doesn’t necessarily have an easily-calculated value. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be assigned a mathematical value and factored into your settlement demands.

There are two ways in which the value of your pain and suffering can be calculated. The first is using a “multiplier.” The multiplier is a number assigned to the seriousness of the pain and suffering, usually between 1.5 and 4, which is then multiplied by the amount of damages you sustained. While this method is used in some big settlements, it’s most often used in smaller cases where the total damages are less than $50,000.

Let’s look at an example: say you suffered a back injury that kept you out of work for a month as well as led to weeks of sleepless night due to horrendous pain. As the sole income earner in your family, you couldn’t pay your bills, which led to a lot of stress, which was exacerbated by your lack of sleep. Your attorney requests that your pain and suffering multiplier is a 3. If you have sustained $10,000 in damages, then $30,000 would be an appropriate request for your pain and suffering.

The second method, and one that is typically used for larger cases is the “per diem” method. Under this approach, a certain amount is awarded for every day you were injured until you reach your maximum recovery point.

Let’s apply this method to the same example as before. Your attorney decides that $200 per day is a good amount to request. If your recovery takes you a full 30 days, then you would receive $6,000 for your pain and suffering. Seems much lower, right? That’s why this calculation method is usually reserved for bigger cases with damages in excess of $50,000 or more. Often times the injuries that are evaluated using this method are ones which take months or even years to recover from. Say the back injury actually took you a full year before you were deemed to be recovered. At $200 per day, that award would increase to $73,000.

A Tulsa personal injury attorney can help you determine what calculation method is best to use for your case and then help you fight to obtain the amount you deserve. Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC has developed a strong reputation of excellence in the courtroom and in client service thanks to their skill and unwavering dedication to those they represent.

Call Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC today at (918) 347-6456 and request a free consultation now!
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