In the blink of an eye, a commute from work can turn into a life-altering car accident. The aftermath is not just about the visible physical injuries. It’s also about the emotional trauma that lingers long after the wounds have healed, the sleepless nights filled with replaying the incident, and the newfound fear that grips you every time you consider getting back behind the wheel.
As a Los Angeles personal injury attorney will tell you, these are aspects of what’s known as ‘pain and suffering’ in personal injury cases.
But how exactly is this pain and suffering calculated?
Factors in Calculating Pain and Suffering: More Than Meets the Eye
When you hear the term ‘pain and suffering,’ it’s easy to think only of physical pain. But it’s so much more than that. It’s the emotional distress that comes with the injury, the effect on your quality of life, and even the strain on your relationships.
Pain and suffering can include things like:
- Chronic physical pain
- Emotional distress
- Anxiety and fear
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Insomnia and other sleep disorders
Imagine being an avid hiker, but after an accident, you can no longer climb those trails you once loved. Or picture the strain on your marriage when you can’t participate in activities you once enjoyed together. These are the intangible losses that are considered when calculating pain and suffering.
The Calculation Process: Translating Pain into Numbers
So, how do we put a price tag on something as personal and subjective as pain and suffering? It’s not an easy task. In fact, it’s one of the most complex aspects of a personal injury case.
Typically, attorneys and insurance companies use one of these two methods: the multiplier method or the per diem method.
The Multiplier Method
The multiplier method involves adding up all your tangible expenses, like lost wages and medical bills, and then multiplying that total by a number between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of your suffering.
For example, a “1.5” on the multiplier scale might be a minor injury, such as a sprained wrist from a slip and fall, which heals relatively quickly, causes minimal disruption to daily life, and leaves no lasting emotional trauma.
On the other end of the scale, a “5” could be a severe injury, such as a traumatic brain injury from a car accident, which leads to long-term or permanent disability, drastically alters the person’s quality of life, and results in significant emotional distress, such as depression or PTSD.
The Per Diem Method
On rare occasions, the per diem method is used. This method assigns a certain dollar amount for each day you’re in pain, from the date of the accident until you reach maximum recovery.
Let’s say you were in pain for 200 days, and a value of $200 was assigned per day. Your pain and suffering compensation would then be $40,000.
Sounds straightforward, right?
But remember, determining that daily rate is a complex process that takes into account the severity and impact of your injuries along with other factors, like your attorney’s track record for winning these types of lawsuits.
Your Pain Matters
In the aftermath of an accident, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unclear about what to do next. But remember, your pain—both physical and emotional—matters. It’s important to work with a skilled personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the complex process of calculating pain and suffering.
If you’re in need of a Los Angeles car accident attorney who understands the intricacies of personal injury law and is committed to fighting for your rights, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact us today for a free consultation. Your journey to recovery and fair compensation starts here.