What is ‘Pain and Suffering’ in a Boston Personal Injury Case?

Car accidents can result in a long list of expenses, such as property damage and medical bills. But the financial toll doesn’t always end there.  Pain and suffering, both physical and mental, can result in long-term complications, including anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life, and even the inability to return to work. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may be able to recover damages for ‘pain and suffering.’ Contact a Boston Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer Today.

Multiplier Method Vs. Daily Rate Method

Following an auto accident, insurance companies use several methods to determine the value of an injury claim. These calculations typically include actual medical expenses, lost wages from time off work, and a certain amount for pain and suffering. There are two methods of calculating the compensable amount of a personal injury claim. They are:

  1. The Multiplier Method: used to be a common method of calculating pain and suffering damages, the actual damages are multiplied by a specific number, traditionally the number 3. For example, if the cost of your medical bills was $8,000, your pain and suffering damages would be $24,000. However, most insurance companies now use advanced software programs to determine the number that the damages will be multiplied by, and it’s rarely 3 these days. The designated number depends on multiple factors, including the severity of injuries, length of recovery, and aggravating circumstances. For example, the number designated to a case involving minor injuries in a fender bender will be significantly lower than for someone who has both legs broken in a serious car accident. The multiplier may be 1 in the first case and 4 in the second case. Aggravating circumstances, such as whether the at-fault driver was intoxicated, also come into play when determining pain and suffering compensation.
  1. The Daily Rate Method: Another method of calculating pain and suffering damages is one in which a specific amount of money is assigned to each day of suffering. Lost income is the most common base for determining the daily rate method. For example, if your average income is $150 per day, this will likely become the amount assigned to each day that you are unable to work. Therefore, if you miss 60 days of work, you would multiply $150 by 60 days to reach a figure of $9,000. Other costs can factor into that daily rate, but you have to be able to justify your reason for reaching a certain number. Simply saying, “My suffering is worth $300 a day,” won’t cut it.

Are You Likeable? Are You Credible?

Most personal injury lawyers will use a combination of these two methods to estimate what your requested damages should be. Once a ballpark figure is reached, you can adjust the figure based on multiple factors, including the severity of your injuries and any aggravating circumstances. Before moving forward with a claim for pain and suffering, it is important to consider the value of your claim. All of the following questions will play a significant role in the success of your claim:

  • Are you a good witness?
  • Are you likeable?
  • Are you credible?
  • Do you appear to be exaggerating your pain and suffering claim?
  • Does your medical provider support your claims?
  • Does the jury think you lying about anything, even something minor?
  • Do you have a criminal record?

If the answers to all of the above questions are favorable, you have the best shot of success.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Personal Injury Lawyers Serving Boston and the Surrounding Area

If you have been injured in any type of accident, we can help. Although damages for pain and suffering aren’t always as easy to quantify as medical bills and property damage, a skilled injury attorney will know how to determine the appropriate value. Pain and suffering is a very real component of many personal injury claims. Don’t go through it alone. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free consultation about your case.




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