If you've been injured as a result of an accident that was caused by the negligence of someone else, you may consider filing a personal injury claim in order to receive compensation for your injuries. Your claim will include the cost of medical treatment as a result of the accident, but you may also be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced.
Many people have heard of the term "pain and suffering" but don't necessarily know what it means in relation to a personal injury case. Here's a breakdown of what pain and suffering is and how it's calculated in personal injury cases.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
In a personal injury case, pain and suffering refers to injuries that you suffer as a result of an accident. Pain and suffering encompass physical pain but also emotional and mental injuries. Many people are able to recover some amount of pain and suffering after an accident.
Pain and suffering is often broken down into two categories: physical and mental. Physical pain and suffering is based on the actual physical injuries you suffer. It includes pain and discomfort as well as the effects; you may suffer in the future. Mental pain and suffering is more of a side-effect of your physical injuries and includes things like emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, fear, anger, humiliation, anxiety, and shock. In other words, it's basically any kind of negative emotion that you suffer as a result of having to endure the physical pain of an injury.
How to Calculate Pain and Suffering
It’s not easy to put a dollar amount on pain and suffering damages, and there is no standard rule for how insurance companies calculate pain and suffering. However, there are a few commonly used methods by car insurance companies including the multiplier method and per diem method.
- Multiplier method: In this method, you add up all of your damages and multiply it by a number that's usually somewhere between 1.5 and 4. This number, called a "multiplier," depends on a variety of factors related to your case, including the seriousness of your injuries, who was at fault, and more.
- Per diem method: "Per Diem" is Latin for "per day," and the idea is to request a certain dollar amount for every day you've been living with the pain caused by your accident. This method is difficult to use because you then have to justify the daily rate you request. Often times, people use their actual daily earnings as the daily rate. In this case, the argument is that having to deal with the pain caused by your injuries is comparable to the effort of going to work each day.
Documentation to Prove Pain and Suffering
When you're trying to recover pain and suffering damages, you'll need to provide proof and evidence to support your personal injury claim. Whenever you're receiving medical treatment, it's important that you thoroughly communicate your pain with health care professionals.
Some of the documentation you can use to support your claim includes:
- Medical reports
- Receipts for over-the-counter medications
- Medical bills, including therapy, ambulance costs, x-rays, emergency room visits, and more
- Proof of lost wages or time off from school
- A log of medical treatment, pain, and missed activities
- Photos of your injuries
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