Calculating Pain & Suffering Damages in a Personal Injury Claim

When a party caused harm to another party due to negligence or recklessness, they can be targeted by a personal injury claim or lawsuit. The groundwork of an injury claim is an attempt to recover economic damages, such as medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. Economic damages are easy to calculate in most cases because insurance companies and attorneys only need to collect receipts and bill stubs.

Noneconomic damages are a different story, though. For most personal injury claims, the plaintiff is also permitted to pursue noneconomic damages related to their pain, suffering, inconvenience, and general loss of enjoyment of life due to an accident. How can you know how much you are owed for your pain and suffering? How is a dollar amount ever even affixed to something like that?

Typical Method of Calculating Noneconomic Damages

Many insurance companies and personal injury attorneys use a somewhat standardized method of calculating noneconomic damages that takes the known economic damages and multiplies it. The multiplier will range greatly depending on the details of the case – like contributing negligence – and the amount of pain the plaintiff is reportedly living with due to their injuries. The worse the pain, the higher the multiplier.

For example: Someone is hit by a distracted driver and suffers a broken arm. Medical bills and vehicle repairs total $25,000. They report moderate pain and frequent day-to-day disruptions due to their arm injury. In such a case, they may ask for $100,000 in noneconomic damage, or four times the economic total. If the injuries were more extensive, they might ask for up to 10 times the amount; if the injuries were less, perhaps only twice the amount.

Noneconomic Calculations Can Be Contested

This method is not entirely universal, though. In fact, do not be surprised if this method cannot be used for your claim, or if it is not recommended by your lawyer. Nuances of a claim can make it difficult to use the pain multiplier method.

Insurance companies are notorious for contesting noneconomic damage totals due to the arguable subjectivity of this method. They might try to play down the pain and suffering you have experienced, and therefore reduce the multiplier used on your economic damages. Having an experienced injury attorney on your side to act as a negotiator during settlements or a litigator during trial is crucial if you want your noneconomic damages to be fairly valued.

Let Habbas & Associates Manage Your Claim!

The last thing we want to hear at Habbas & Associates is someone being shorted on damages, noneconomic or economic, at the end of their personal injury claim. We fight tenaciously for our clients and know how to press the opposition if they contest that our proposed compensation amount is fair. With close to two centuries’ worth of collective legal experience at our firm, you can trust in our abilities and dedication during your time of need.

Contact our team of San Jose personal injury lawyers by calling (888) 387-4053 and asking for a free initial consultation.

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