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  • Writer's pictureAlex Maltese

How to Calculate Pain and Suffering - Car Accident in New York | The Law Office of Carl Maltese

Calculating the amount of compensation victims in a personal injury case deserve would be easy if insurance adjusters only had to pay for economic damages, such as medical bills or property damage. In those cases, people only have to get the exact money those things are worth and pay for them.

Things are different when talking about pain and suffering. Since pain and suffering, as a legal term, counts as non-economic damage, it's difficult to know its worth. Calculating pain or distress is not something people can do with standard measurements, but there are ways to do it.

This page will help the reader understand what pain and suffering damages are and how to calculate them in New York. Anyone looking to hire a personal injury lawyer should call the Law Office of Carl Maltese to get a professional automobile accident attorney in Long Island on the case.

What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?

What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?

Pain and suffering is a legal term used to describe non-economic damages, such as physical pain, emotional distress, or psychological trauma in a personal injury claim. Although these things don't have actual worth in real life, people can ask for compensation for them due to the consequences they can have on their personal life. The Law Office of Carl Maltese can also answer questions such as, "How long can you sue after a car accident in New York?"

If a person wants to file a pain and suffering claim after a car accident, they need to know if the pain they went through legally counts as pain and suffering damages. These are a few examples of pain and suffering damages in a personal injury case:

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common consequences of a personal injury accident such as a car crash or any other motor vehicle accident. Suffering from this disorder can affect victims all their life, and they may need to go to therapy for years to cope with it.

Developing PTSD after a personal injury case is part of the pain and suffering damages people can get compensation for in a personal injury claim. The same happens with other mental disorders, as long as the victim can prove they come from the accident.

Emotional Distress

Even if it's not as severe as a permanent mental disorder, suffering from emotional distress and anxiety is worth compensating for non-economic damages. They can alter how the victim enjoys life and their job quality and productivity, even if lost wages are economic damages and are calculated differently.

When someone files a personal injury lawsuit against another person, they can file a therapist report as evidence that the accident caused them emotional distress and other mental issues. Other medical records could also help, but personal injury lawyers can help their clients with that.

Physical Pain

Similar to what happens with emotional distress, physical pain can limit the things people do throughout the day and even keep them from working. Apart from the lost wages they would need to cover, suffering from severe pain daily can paralyze a person's life for months or years.

Factors That Affect Compensation in Pain and Suffering Cases

Regardless of the method people use to have their pain and suffering damages calculated, there are several factors that directly affect the final settlement. The first of them is the extent and duration of the pain and suffering, as it changes how much they need to spend on medical bills.

Apart from the injuries themselves, the impact they have on the victim's life and daily ability to work are also essential for the final settlement. The same happens with the degree of fault each party has, as New York uses a comparative law negligence system.

Ways to Calculate Pain and Suffering Compensation

Ways to Calculate Pain and Suffering Compensation

Although physical and emotional pain doesn't have an actual value in real life, legal experts and insurance adjusters have come up with different methods to calculate their worth for personal injury cases. It's up to the insurance company or the agreement it gets with the victim to choose the method it will use to calculate the non-economic damages in the accident.

People can use the multiplier method, the per diem method, or try to replicate similar settlements. Here is a brief explanation of what each of them consists of:

Multiplier Method

Since calculating pain is impossible with natural methods, the multiplier one uses economic damages for the matter. People would only have to multiply the economic damages of the case by a specific number to get the amount of compensation they need for their pain and suffering damages. The number can be anything between one point five and five.

The number the judge picks for the case can vary, but it's often three, as it's in the middle of both ends. It's weird to see an insurance company or judge picking five, as it would make the total worth of the pain and suffering damages of the accident too high.

Per Diem Method

Following up, people can also use the per diem method, which consists of picking a ballpark figure of the worth of the daily suffering damages the victim is going through. The worth of that ballpark figure depends on the severity of the injuries or mental distress the victim is suffering from, and it often comes from medical records or therapist reports.

Once the victim gets the worth they will assign to their "suffering" daily, they have to multiply it by the number of days they suffered from the injuries or the stress of the accident.

Previous Settlements

If insurance adjusters can't choose between the per diem and multiplier methods, they can get a reference from a previous settlement from a similar case. The United States follows a common law legal system, which means the verdicts from courts can work as a precedent for future cases. This method takes advantage of that.

The only problem with using this method is that lawyers need to look for a case that has similar circumstances, as the judge won't accept this method if it's not similar enough. Having suffering damages calculated this way can make the settlement fair, as they come from something that actually helped another victim.

Final Thoughts - Get a Free Consultation on a Personal Injury Case

Although insurance companies should help victims get the amount of compensation they deserve for their pain and suffering, they often try to give them the least money they can. Hence, victims need a decent personal injury lawyer to represent them at trial.

The Law Office of Carl Maltese works with excellent and experienced personal injury attorneys ready to file a pain and suffering claim for their clients and fight for them at trial. This law firm offers free case evaluations to its clients.


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