The Cost of "Pain and Suffering"
When a workplace injury or vehicle accident occurs, many people choose to seek damages for their injury and “pain and suffering.” In the legal world, “pain and suffering” refers to the physical and emotional stress stemming from the injury. It’s a vague concept that can be hard to quantify.
Most often categorized under General Damages or as a part of the “compensatory” non-economic damages, pain and suffering can result in money damages awarded in a trial or through mediations, arbitration, or insurance settlements.
When caused by a workplace injury or vehicle accident, the following are considered pain and suffering:
- Temporary or permanent activity limitations
- Loss of energy
- Sleep Problems
- Mood Swings
2 Types of Pain and Suffering
In the U.S. legal system, there are two categories of pain and suffering: physical and mental. These two categories help to determine the amount of money someone should receive for experiencing pain and suffering in a workplace injury, personal injury, or vehicle accident.
Physical Pain and Suffering
The physical pain and suffering includes not only the immediate injuries that a person suffers from an accident, but also the long-term effects of the injuries as well. Any future physical ailments that occur due to the original workplace injury or accident are considered a part of ongoing pain and suffering.
Mental Pain and Suffering
Naturally, mental pain and suffering refer to the emotional and mental ramifications of an injury. Mental injuries can include everything from shock to mental anguish. Basically, mental pain and suffering includes any type of negative emotion that an accident victim suffers resulting from physical pain and accident trauma. More significant cases of mental pain and suffering include depression, loss of appetite, mood swings, post-traumatic stress disorder, and sleep problems. This category also covers future mental pain and suffering caused by the accident.
Proving Pain and Suffering
To receive financial damages, individuals must be able to show that they did experience pain and suffering. The most ideal documentation of pain and suffering is paperwork from doctors, counselors, and other health professionals. Other types of documentation can be photos, personal journals, and testimonies from friends and families.
The Cost of Pain and Suffering
No amount of money can truly make up for the pain and suffering caused by a workplace injury or car accident. However, the cost of pain and suffering is often calculated via the methods described below so the injured individual can receive financial damages for their discomfort. A lawyer knows which method will work best for your situation, and he or she has the expertise to build a concrete case for the financial burden of your pain and suffering.
The Multiplier Method
To evaluate the pain and suffering damages, the actual damages from medical bills and lost wages are multiplied by a certain number to reach a reasonable amount for damages. For example, if the medical bills were $6,000 and lost wages were $16,000, the multiplier method would suggest these two numbers be added and then multiplied by 3 for a final total of $66,000 in damages. The multiplier is often determined by the severity of the injury, and these days complex computer programs help with calculating the damages.
Daily Rate Method
Calculating the pain and suffering from this method hinges on the idea that each day is worth a certain amount of money for each day of suffering. For example, if you had medical bills of $5,000 and lost wages of $2,000, then a daily value of $250 may be assigned. For each day that you cannot work or have medical appointments, those days would add up to determine your damages. A daily rate can also be chosen based on how much money you’d lose per day of not working.
Combine Both Methods
Using both methods to determine a scale of damages can be useful in negotiating your final damages. Both methods may result in very different numbers, but this can be helpful in covering your medical bills and your pain and suffering. The goal is to settle on a reasonable number that can be justified with proof.
At Carrillo & Carrillo, we understand the complexity of calculating “pain and suffering” from your injury, and we can provide legal options to you. Contact us today at email@example.com to find out what your pain and suffering is worth.