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Calculating Pain & Suffering Damages

If you or a loved one have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation for all the damages. While medical bills (and other economic damages) have a clear cost, non-economic damages (i.e., pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life) are not as clear cut. How do you quantify non-economic damages like pain and suffering?

How Is Pain & Suffering Damage Calculated in California?

There are two ways that pain and suffering damages are typically calculated: the multiplier method and the per diem method. (These calculation methods are typically used by lawyers and at times, judges and juries, not necessarily by insurance companies.)

The multiplier method involves combining the cost of your economic damages and multiplying that total by a number from 1 to 5. More severe cases and losses will be multiplied by a higher number. For example, a victim of a pedestrian accident has $15,000 of economic damages, and for their pain and suffering, a multiplier of 1.5 is selected. Then the damages would be $22,500.

With the per diem method, a daily rate is assigned for each day you have suffered and potentially will suffer in the future. That daily rate is then multiplied by the total number of days you suffered from your injury and may continue to suffer. For example, the daily rate may be set at $150. If the accident victim suffered for 100 days, then the damages would total $15,000.

Every case is unique, and each method will give you a different number. An attorney will know how to best calculate your non-economic damages and ensure you are fairly compensated.

It is important to note that: non-economic damages are limited to no more than $250,000 in medical malpractice suits. Additionally, you cannot claim compensation for personal injuries sustained during a felony (California CIV § 3333.2, CIV § 3333.3).

Is Emotional Distress Included in Pain & Suffering Damages?

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be suffering beyond a visible physical injury. You may be suffering from emotional distress (i.e., anguish, grief, anxiety, worry, shock, depression).

Your emotional distress can be included in damages, and in some cases, you can receive compensation for emotional distress without a related physical injury (see California Civil Instructions No. 1600-1624). Personal injury suits are nuanced, though, and you will need evidence to substantiate your case, which is why you should speak with an attorney.

Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney?

When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you should have an experienced attorney fighting for you. They will know how to best support you and ensure that you may receive the compensation you deserve. Every case and client is different, and a reliable personal injury attorney will tailor their legal counsel to best suit you.

Looking to file a personal injury lawsuit? At Singleton Smith Law Offices, our clients’ needs are our priority. Our Murrieta personal injury lawyers provide our clients with expert, individualized legal aid, and you might be eligible for compensation. Contact our firm today at (951) 779-1610 or reach out online.
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