Personal InjuryUncategorized

What Constitutes Pain and Suffering and How Insurance Companies Determine Damages

By January 1, 2018 No Comments

In almost every personal injury case, the injured party should be able to recover financial damages for pain and suffering. However, there are no hard and fast rules for putting a dollar value on this type of loss. At the Law Offices of Patrick S. O’Brien in St. Louis, we possess the legal knowledge, experience, and skill to accurately assess the extent of your damages and help you pursue a full and fair settlement.

What Is Pain and Suffering in a Legal Sense?

“Pain and suffering” is a legal term that refers to certain types of damages a victim of personal injury can suffer. A personal injury is physical injury done to a person’s body, as opposed to property or reputation. Pain and suffering in a personal injury case includes a wide array of physical, emotional, and mental injuries, such as:

  • Emotional anguish
  • Stress
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Fears
  • Physical pain
  • Inconvenience
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium (deprivation of the benefit of a family relationship)

Proving Pain and Suffering Damages

Pain and suffering damages are recoverable, and the more evidence you have, the better your chances of achieving a high value settlement. Medical documentation of the extent of your injuries and the pain and suffering you have experienced can serve as a powerful form of evidence to support your claim. This may include:

  • Photographs
  • Personal journals recording your physical pain or emotional state
  • Documentation provided by friends and family about how the injuries have negatively impacted your life

How Do Insurance Companies Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages?

There are no strict, established rules for calculating the value of pain and suffering damages. Commonly one of two methods may be employed to help determine a reasonable figure for these losses.

The Multiplier Method

With the multiplier method, the plaintiff’s actual measurable damages, such as medical bills and lost wages, are multiplied by a number between 1 and 5, depending on the severity of the injuries suffered. For example, a person who has $50,000 in medical bills and lost wages due to a car accident that was another party’s fault might multiply that figure by 3 to arrive at $150,000 as a reasonable amount for pain and suffering damages.

The Per Diem Method

“Per diem” means “per day.” With the per diem method, a certain amount is assigned for every day from the day of the injury until the day the injured person reaches maximum recovery. For example, if $100 is the amount assigned per day and it takes 90 days to recover from the injuries sustained, pain and suffering damages could be calculated at $9,000.

How Do You Know What Is a Fair Settlement?

If the insurance company offers a settlement that includes pain and suffering damages, the multiplier or per diem method may help you determine whether the offer is fair. Added factors such as visible scars, impairment, loss of limb, or any other permanent injury will significantly increase the amount you should receive in a fair settlement. Our knowledgeable personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Patrick S. O’Brien will engage in negotiations with the insurance company to protect your right to fair compensation. This includes pursuing an appropriate amount for pain and suffering. We are a nationally-recognized personal injury firm, listed in “Best Law Firms 2017 and 2018.” We have dedicated our practice to protecting the rights of the seriously injured in St. Louis, St. Louis County, and beyond. Contact us today to learn more.