Physical pain and mental suffering often make up the bulk of recoverable losses in civil cases built around severe injuries. Because these losses are “non-economic,” their financial value can’t be calculated through bills, receipts, or invoices.
Instead, you and your attorney must make an estimate based on multiple types of evidence. There are two common methods for calculating a pain and suffering settlement. To learn how to strengthen your claim, discuss your case with the knowledgeable lawyers at Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers.
Calculating Pain and Suffering “Per Diem”
“Per diem” is Latin for “per day.” In the context of calculating a pain and suffering settlement, it means figuring out the approximate daily value of your pain and suffering. Then, you multiply that amount by the number of days you experience that pain and suffering. There are several ways to land on a fitting “per diem” value for pain and suffering, but it’s common to calculate how much money you make at work per day, based on the assumption that dealing with your pain takes approximately as much effort as a day at work.
This approach works best if there’s a specific start and end date to your pain—for example, if you suffered a broken arm in an accident that took six months to heal. In addition to demanding money for your medical bills and missed work income during that time, you could also calculate your pain and suffering “per diem” by multiplying your average daily pay by the number of days it took for your injuries to heal completely.
Multiplying the Value of “Special Damages”
If you suffer an injury that will last for years, decades, or the rest of your life, calculating pain and suffering “per diem” will be more difficult. In this type of situation, it may be better to calculate these damages based on how much you received in “special damages”—in other words, for objective economic losses like medical bills, property damage, and lost work wages.
Depending on the severity of your injuries and their negative impact on your life, you could multiply the total amount of special damages you are requesting by a set amount—for instance, 1.5 for less severe injuries or five or more for life-changing catastrophic harm—to get an estimated value of your pain and suffering. However, this should be treated as just an estimate, since your lawyer may need to increase or decrease that number based on the circumstances.
The Importance of Communicating with Doctors
Regardless of what method you use to calculate a pain and suffering settlement, it’s vital that you have some kind of “objective” proof of the pain you experienced. This means being as open and honest as possible with your doctors about how you’re feeling and how much your pain is interfering with your life. Insurance adjusters will trust the word of a medical professional much more than they trust you, often to the point that they won’t challenge your claim as diligently if your medical records back up your subjective complaints. To learn more about strengthening your claim and getting the most out of your pain and suffering settlement, call Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers for a free consultation.