Pain and Suffering

By Daisy Rogozinsky
/
March 27, 2022

If you are in a motor vehicle accident and seek compensation for your losses, one of the types of loss you can be compensated for is called pain and suffering. In this article, we’ll define the term and explain how it is calculated. 

Key Takeaways

  • Pain and suffering is a term that encompasses physical and emotional discomfort and distress.
  • Pain and suffering is a type of noneconomic damages. 
  • To receive compensation for pain and suffering, an individual must prove the severity of their injuries with evidence such as medical records and testimony
  • There are two methods commonly used to calculate pain and suffering damages: the multiplier method and per diem

What Are Pain and Suffering?

“Pain and suffering” is a legal term that refers to physical and emotional discomfort and distress resulting from an injury. It can be compensated for as a form of noneconomic damages. Types of damages that can be considered as part of this category include:

  • Limitations on activity
  • Physical pain
  • Depression
  • Shortening of lifespan
  • Grief
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Embarrassment and humiliation
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of consortium (losing a loved one)

Because it is a noneconomic damage, it can be tricky to calculate how much compensation for pain and suffering is appropriate in any given case. This number is typically determined on the basis of evidence such as medical bills, testimony, the type of injury an individual suffered, and details about how it has affected his or her life.

Pain and Suffering in Motor Vehicle Accidents

If you are in a motor vehicle accident and suffer loss as a result, you are entittled to compensation from your and/or the other party’s insurance providers. This compensation comes in the form of damages, of which there are two types: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are compensation paid for strictly monetary losses such as medical expenses and lost wages. Non-economic damages, however, include pain and suffering.

If you want to be compensated for pain and suffering following your motor vehicle accident, you have to be able to prove your losses. Proof can come in the form of:

  • Medical records
  • Photographs of injuries
  • Photographs from the scene of the accident
  • Notes from therapists or counsellors
  • Witness statements

In terms of calculating what kind of damages to pay out for pain and suffering, most insurance companies will take the following into consideration:

  • Whether or not the individual went to the doctor
  • How much medical treatment was required
  • Length of recovery time
  • Severity of the injuries
  • Changes to the individual’s day to day life
  • How clear the fault was in the accident 

One common method of calculating pain and suffering is called the multiplier method. This involves adding up your medical bills and multiplying them by a number ranging from 1.5 to 5. There is also the per diem method, which is less common. In this method, a specific dollar amount is multiplied by each day that the individual suffered from the accident. 

Both methodologies are ultimately subjective and that is why it is so important to make a good case for yourself. An experienced motor vehicle accident attorney can help you receive compensation that you truly deserve.

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