How Pain and Suffering is Determined in an Injury Claim


In personal injury claims, pain and suffering means the emotional distress or mental anguish an individual suffers after being injured by a negligent party. Emotional distress entails actual pain or discomfort (permanent or temporary), emotional disorders (e.g. depression, anxiety, insomnia, memory loss, etc.), physical limitations, loss of consortium, and other psychological trauma.

Pain and suffering can be separated into two main categories: current pain and suffering, as well as current and future pain and suffering. Current pain and suffering is a duration that can be measured from the time of the injury through the completion of medical treatment and therapy. On the other hand, current and future pain and suffering is what a person suffers from the time of the injury and into the indefinite future, which results in an unknown and open-ended duration.

When determining your settlement demand, you need to think about which category your pain and suffering falls into. Suffering that is limited to the time between the injury and completion of treatment results in a lower demand. Suffering that continues into the indefinite future leads to a higher demand. In either case, you need to convince the insurance provider of the negative effect the pain and suffering has had on your overall quality of life.

The following are two common ways attorney and insurance adjusters use to calculate pain and suffering:

  • Multiplier method – Multiply the medical bills and lost wages by a specific number – somewhere between 1.5 and 4 – which determine the severity of the injury. Those numbers mean that the pain and suffering is 1.5 or 4 times the value of the claimant’s special damages.
  • Per diem method – Also known as the “daily rate,” it is an amount of money that is assigned each day or week of your suffering. An injured party needs to determine a compensation cost to each day and multiply this figure by the number of days he or she has been injured.

Once a calculation is made, a demand letter is created and negotiations start with the insurance company. At Lawton Law Firm, our experienced legal team understands what it takes to maximize your personal injury claim and help you obtain the most favorable outcome possible.

If you suffered an injury caused by a negligent party in SC, contact our Mt. Pleasant personal injury attorney and schedule a case evaluation today.

Share To: