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Determining Compensation for Pain and Suffering

Chad West Oct. 30, 2020

In the aftermath of a car crash, slip-and-fall or other serious injury resulting from negligence on the part of the defendant, the long-term costs aren’t always known. Injury victims – and their families – may be faced with immediate costs of medical treatment but not know that their injuries could take years to heal.

In addition to the medical implications of recovering physically, a severe injury can have long-lasting and severe impacts on plaintiffs and their families. Everything from your ability to actually perform the day to day tasks of your job to long-lasting medical problems is on the table. In a severe car crash, for example, injuries such as traumatic brain injury, back injury, broken bones, and nerve or organ damage can have a profound debilitating impact. They can affect your ability to keep a job, change the dynamic of familial relationships, even lead to mental health issues such as depression.

The legal term “pain and suffering” is a broad category that accounts for the totality of pain and emotional distress caused by an injury. The term encompasses injuries that may last weeks, months or years or even be permanent. Emotional pain and suffering or mental anguish resulting from a severe injury can include PTSD, loss or decline of cognitive function, a decline in the quality of life you previously enjoyed, anxiety that you may be hurt again, even grief over the way your life has been altered.

In any personal injury case, there are economic losses for which you can seek a recovery. These include hard costs like the cost of medical treatment, car repairs, medical equipment and even lost wages for time you were unable to work. Non-economic claims are a little harder to calculate, which is why we strongly recommend at least talking with us. Your Dallas personal injury team will evaluate your case and work with you and your treatment providers to understand the severity and complexity of your injuries. While the amount of perceived loss and compensation varies depending on the unique circumstances of your injury, most of the time, “pain and suffering” non-economic damages will be calculated in one of two ways:

  • Per diem method. This method is more applicable when injuries aren’t expected to be long-lasting. Using this calculation, we determine the cost of the injury per day and multiply that by the total number of days you will need to heal.

  • Multiplier method. This method is more appropriate when injuries are severe enough that they are expected to have a long-term impact. Using this method, we take the total cost of your economic damages and multiply that number by a number between 1.5 and 5 that indicates the severity of your injury. A more severe injury would be rated a 5 while a more moderate injury might be rated a 2 or 3.

Damages from pain and suffering vary but will greatly depend on how your case is presented and how strongly we tell your story about the losses you have suffered. While medical bills are more straightforward, how do you calculate the cost of a TBI that leaves you with debilitating short-term memory loss, a back injury that means you’re unable to walk or run without pain, or a car wreck that leaves you unable to walk without a cane though you’re in your mid-30s? When you consider these factors and questions and the fact that no one can know the future, it makes sense that pain and suffering damages should be part of your financial recovery.

Our firm will fight to help you get the compensation you deserve and advocate for your best interests at every turn. Call us to discuss your case. We are committed to personalized attention and getting you the results you need.


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