How are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?

Whether you were injured in a car accident, by medical malpractice, or because of a defective product, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages under Nevada personal injury laws. 

A Las Vegas personal injury attorney can help you prove negligence and liability for an accident or injury. Then, after establishing that the other person is liable for your damages, you can demand compensation for your losses so you can move forward with your life.

What Are Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

Damages are the losses you experience because of an accident or injury. These damages include monetary losses as well as pain and suffering damages.

Most people are familiar with economic damages

These damages compensate you for your financial losses, such as:

In addition to the financial losses you incur, you also can recover compensation for the non-economic damages you experience because of your injuries. 

Pain and suffering damages include:

  • Physical pain and discomfort
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Permanent impairments and disabilities

Emotional distress and mental anguish can include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety. They also include grief, embarrassment, and other emotional conditions brought on by the accident and injury. 

Damages for pain caused by an accident or injury can be challenging to calculate. A common pain and suffering calculator is the multiplier method.

What Methods Are Used to Value Pain and Suffering Damages in a Personal Injury Claim?

Economic damages have a dollar amount you can use to determine their value. However, pain and suffering damages do not have a specific value. The value of non-economic damages depends on the facts and circumstances of the case.

Multiplier Method

A common pain and suffering calculator used to estimate the value of your suffering is the multiplier method. A number between 1.5 and five is assigned based on the facts of the case. 

Factors that affect the multiplier number include:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • The duration of your recovery
  • Whether you sustained permanent disabilities or impairments
  • The type of injuries you sustained
  • The severity of scarring or disfigurement

Generally, catastrophic injuries and impairments increase the value of the multiplier. To calculate pain and suffering damages, you multiply the number by the total of your awarded economic damages. 

Insurance companies use their own pain and suffering calculators, formulas, and methods to determine the value of these damages. However, one thing remains consistent: insurance companies always downplay and undervalue pain and suffering claims. 

Each personal injury case is unique and different. The factors in your case could significantly increase the value of your claim. Therefore, it is always best to allow an experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney to calculate how much your injury claim is worth.

Per Diem Method

A less common way of calculating pain and suffering damages is the per diem method. A dollar amount is assigned as daily compensation for your suffering. The per diem amount is multiplied by the number of days between your injury and the date you reach maximum medical improvement.

Maximum medical improvement generally occurs when your doctor releases you from treatment. Some people recover fully. Others have permanent disabilities because of the accident. 

Therefore, waiting until your doctor provides an impairment rating to settle a personal injury claim is in your best interest. Only then can you know the full extent of your damages to determine future pain and suffering. 

How Do You Prove Pain and Suffering Damages?

Proving the value of your physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering can be challenging. There are no “bills” or “invoices” that you can use to prove the value of these damages. 

Therefore, you must rely on other evidence, such as:

  • Medical records 
  • Photographs of your injuries
  • Opinions from medical experts about how your injuries can impact you physically, mentally, and emotionally
  • Testimony from friends and family members about how the injury and accident have impacted your daily life and relationships
  • Medical evidence from your doctors, therapists, counselors, and other health care providers

It can also be helpful to keep a pain and suffering journal. 

Your journal is your personal record of your recovery and process of healing. You can include details of your recovery, such as events you missed, your emotional condition, physical pain levels, and other details that demonstrate how the incident impacted your daily life, mental health, emotional stability, and physical abilities.

How Do Jurors Decide What to Award for Pain and Suffering Damages?

If you file a personal injury lawsuit and your case goes to trial, the jurors will determine how much you should receive for pain and suffering damages. Therefore, they need to “feel” your level of pain. 

There is not a statutory formula the jury uses to decide pain and suffering compensation. Instead, the judge provides jury instructions, but the strength of your evidence is what really matters during a jury trial.

Abstract concepts and medical definitions do not adequately explain the level of suffering the accident caused. Therefore, provide honest and accurate details, but remember to be as descriptive as possible. 

For example, if an injury caused pain every time you stood, write that in your journal. However, include a description of the pain – such as sharp, stabbing pains up and down the spine that caused your vision to blur. Vivid descriptions give jurors a better understanding of the extent of your suffering and pain.

Beware of Dealing Directly With Insurance Companies 

The insurance adjuster’s job is to protect the insurance company. To do so, adjusters try to deny claims. They search for ways to undervalue damages if they cannot deny a claim.

Because non-economic damages are subjective, they are the easiest damages to undervalue. The insurance adjuster may ask you multiple questions about your daily routines. An innocent comment taken out of context could lower the value of your injury claim.

Instead, allow your personal injury lawyer to handle the insurance company and claims adjuster. If anyone contacts you, refer them to your attorney. 

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Pain and Suffering Damages

If another party caused your injury, you deserve to be compensated for all damages. An experienced lawyer will aggressively pursue the at-fault party to get you maximum compensation for your personal injury claim. Schedule a free consultation at (702) 570-9000 with an experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney to help you value your pain and suffering damages.