December 2 2019

Pain And Suffering Damages: What You Should Know


The most common types of damages awarded in personal injury cases are compensation for your medical bills and damages to cover your lost wages from missing work. These damages are called special damages and are usually straight-forward — they're calculated based on the actual amount of your bills and wages.

Juries can also award general damages for pain and suffering as well, particularly in cases where the injury sustained was severe or permanent.

What Is Pain and Suffering?

Victims in personal injury cases typically have two types of pain and suffering — physical and mental. Physical pain and suffering includes the actual physical pain you suffer due to your injuries.

Mental pain and suffering refers to emotional pain that results from the accident and your injuries. This suffering includes things like anxiety, depression, fear, humiliation, shock, and loss of pleasure in activities or life in general.

Pain and suffering damages can include compensation for likely future pain as well as past and present.

How Do You Calculate Your Pain and Suffering Compensation?

Pain and suffering damages are usually calculated in one of two ways — as a multiplier of special damages or at a daily rate.

Multiplier Method

The most direct way to calculate pain and suffering damages is to add up your easily-calculated special damages, like your medical expenses and lost wages, and multiply the result by another number called the multiplier , which is usually between 1.5 and 4.

The multiplier method is the method used by most insurance companies. Since the amount of damages is largely based on your actual monetary losses, the amount often accurately reflects the severity of your injuries.

For example, a person who sustains a back injury that requires surgery and months off work would receive a larger amount of damages due to higher medical bills and more lost wages than a person who fell and broke their leg but required only a cast, general medical treatment, and a week or two out of work.

Daily Rate Method

For this method, you decide on a dollar amount that represents your pain and suffering for one day and multiply the amount by how many days you've had to live with that pain.

The daily rate method can be difficult to use since it requires you to decide on how much one day of pain and suffering is worth and because it's difficult to determine how many days you'll have to live with pain in the future.

One common way to decide on a daily value for an accident victim's pain and suffering is to use the person’s wage for a day of hard work.

How Do You Prove Pain and Suffering?

The best way to prove pain and suffering damages in a personal injury case is to keep very detailed records. This includes records from outside sources, such as health care providers, friends, and family members, as well as personal records about your condition.

If you're injured and think you might file a lawsuit in the future, start a journal documenting your injuries, medical treatment, pain, and mental health problems to record your daily thoughts.

Should You Seek Damages for Pain and Suffering?

Many factors go into deciding what damages to seek in a personal injury case. Seek out the advice of an experienced lawyer if you're injured in an accident, even if you haven't made a decision about whether you want to file a lawsuit.

Alabama state law gives injured parties two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury case. Alabama law also prohibits plaintiffs involved in personal injury cases due to worker's compensation or product liability claims from seeking damages for pain and suffering.

Wolfe, Jones, Wolfe, Hancock, Daniel & South, L.L.C. represents personal injury clients in Huntsville, Decatur, and Athens, Alabama and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to set up a free consultation to discuss your injuries, medical expenses, and any pain and suffering damages you might be entitled to.

Pain And Suffering Damages: What You Should Know