What is “pain and suffering” in the context of a personal injury lawsuit?

Legally, individuals who have suffered injuries due to another person’s negligence are entitled to recover financial compensation for their economic and non-economic damages. Injuries can cause significant physical and mental trauma that negatively affects an individual’s welfare. Through non-economic damages which are subjective losses, individuals may recover monetary compensation for their pain and suffering. If you have been injured due to negligence, contact a qualified Buffalo, New York Personal Injury Attorney who is ready to fight on your behalf. Our firm is committed to helping our clients achieve propitious outcomes.

What is “pain and suffering”?

Pain and suffering refer to the physical and mental pain an individual suffers due to their injuries. There are two different types of this non-economic damage, physical and mental. Physical pain and suffering refer to the actual physical injuries a victim has suffered. Mental pain and suffering refer to the emotional and psychological trauma a victim suffers due to their injuries. Both of these have detrimental long-term effects on an individual’s well-being.

How is it calculated?

There are two different methods used to determine the monetary value of pain and suffering.

The multiplier method

In New York, the most commonly used method is the multiplier. The multiplier method is an equation that adds up the number of economic damages which includes past and future medical bills and then multiplies it to determine a reasonable amount. Typically, economic damages are multiplied by a number between 1.5 and 5. For instance, if a victim’s economic damages add up to $10,000, using a multiplier of 2, victims may recover $20,000. However, if the multiplier was changed to 1.5 individuals would recover $15,000 and if it was changed to 5 it would be $50,000. The multiplier method helps calculate the approximate value of pain and suffering victims are owed.

The per diem method 

Another method used to calculate pain and suffering is the per diem method. This method differs from the multiplier method because it does not use economic damages to determine the value of pain and suffering. The per diem method assigns a dollar value on each day a victim suffers pain due to their injuries. The value determined for one day will then be multiplied by the number of days the injuries affect the victim’s overall life and well-being. For instance, if an injured individual placed a value of $150 for each day and suffered for 200 days, the determined value would be $30,000.

In New York, both of these methods of calculating pain and suffering are used. However, under certain circumstances, these methods are not appropriate. For instance, if an individual suffers disfigurement they might not need a lot of medical treatment, however, victims may suffer detrimental mental trauma for the rest of their life. In this case, both methods would not be able to calculate the amount a victim should be able to recover.

If you have been injured due to another person’s negligence, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our trusted and determined team members. Our firm is committed to helping our clients recover reasonable damages for their pain and suffering.