If you've suffered a permanent disability or severe emotional distress as a result of a car accident, you need to be compensated.
But how do you pin down numbers to get compensated? Some damages are easy to put a dollar amount on. Others are a little more complicated.
Determining the amount of pain and suffering damages is difficult, though, because they vary depending on the individual and many other factors.
Insurance companies and attorneys commonly use what's called the "multiplier method" to determine the total amount of damages, including pain and suffering.
In the article below, we will find out how pain and suffering damages are calculated using the multiplier method.
Table of Contents
- Economic vs Non-Economic Damages
- There's Not an Exact Way to Calculate Non-Economic Damages
- Pain and Suffering Multiplier
- Sample Multiplier Calculation
- Work With An Attorney
Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages
In an injury case, you will likely have both economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are your actual, out of pocket losses due to the injury.
First and foremost, these are your medical damages, which include everything from your emergency treatment to your physical therapy to devices that help you get around.
To be appropriately compensated for these, you need to add up your current damages and also prepare an estimate of future expenses if you're still receiving treatment.
Non-economic damages are damages that can't be measured by an invoice or a bill, including your emotional suffering.
When you're mentally traumatized by the pain you're dealing with and trying to process everything that has happened, it's considered a non-economic loss.
Emotional distress is another type of non-economic damages, and the loss of a limb and regular use of your body also qualify.
These are the kinds of losses that you need to find the right multiplier to determine an approximate value of these damages.
There's NoT an Exact Way to Calculate Non-Economic Damages
You may be surprised to learn that there is no strict mathematical formula to calculate non-economic damages.
Instead, it's up to you, your lawyer, and the other parties to agree on what's fair.
Or it could be up to a jury to decide what you deserve.
The lack of a clear law on how to do it creates room for debate.
When there's room for discussion, parties on opposite sides of the lawsuit are going to disagree on how to determine the amount correctly.
The room for disagreement makes it essential to prepare your case with a lawyer and argue it the best you can.
Pain and Suffering Multiplier
The multiplier method is an equation frequently used by insurance companies and is a common way to calculate pain and suffering damages.
To use the multiplier, you add up all of your actual damages and multiply that number by a number between 1.5 to 5.
The number you decide to multiply by is called the multiplier.
The multiplier indicates the degree of seriousness of your pain and suffering and any other general damages you suffered.
For example, if you sustained severe, life-threatening injuries, the multiplier should be close to 5.
The multiplier can go higher (6 or 7) if your injuries are very serious.
Here are some factors to consider in determining the appropriate multiplier for your pain and suffering:
- The obviousness of the other driver's fault
- The seriousness of your injuries
- Clear proof of pain and suffering based on verified documents
- Period of recovery
Keep in mind that the amount calculated with the multiplier method is an estimate.
There's no guarantee that you will receive that amount.
If you apply a high multiplier without justification, the insurance company can easily deny your claim.
That's why it is critical to make sure accurate facts and documentation support your calculations.
Sample Multiplier Calculation
Here's a sample scenario to help illustrate how the multiplier method works in practice.
While you were driving on a highway, a car ran a red light and crashed into your vehicle.
As a result, you hit your face on your window and sustained a broken nose and a TBI.
Not only do you need to undergo surgery, but you are also now suffering from the effects of your TBI.
Your special damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and other treatment bills, are $12,000.
Your multiplier would most likely be close to 5 because you are suffering from broken bones and long-term effects from your TBI.
So, your total estimate of damages, including pain and suffering, would be: $12,000 (special damages) x 5.0 (multiplier) = $60,000.
Work With an Attorney
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you create realistic expectations about your case and decide your multiplier.
Then, they can help you put your plan into action and get you compensated.
From gathering evidence of your injuries and deciding on your multiplier to carefully drafting a demand letter, the right personal injury attorney can help you maximize your claim.
Having the right lawyer on your side can help you understand the legal process and use it to your fullest advantage to get justice in your case.
It also allows you to focus on your health and healing while they take care of the legal side of things.
It's essential to decide on the correct multiplier in your case to get the maximum amount of compensation possible for your losses.
Working with an expert personal injury lawyer with The Brown Firm can ensure you have everything you need to present a solid case and get the compensation you need to make a full recovery.
To get started with The Brown Firm, click the link below.