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How Pain and Suffering Damages Are Calculated In Maryland Personal Injury Lawsuits

pain and suffering in personal injury lawsuit

If you've been struggling with permanent disability and severe emotional stress as a result of a personal injury accident, how do you figure out how much compensation you're entitled to? It's hard to determine the exact amount of pain and suffering damages. They can vary from person to person. Insurance companies and attorneys often use the "multiplier" method to determine the total amount of damages, which includes pain and suffering. Damages typically include economic and non-economic damages, pain and suffering falls under a non-economic damage.

The amount of compensation you receive for your injuries will depend on the extent to which they affect your life. In addition, it is important that you are able to prove how much pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of your accident.

Two Ways to Calculate a Pain and Suffering Settlement

When calculating the amount of pain and suffering damages that should be awarded in a personal injury case, there are two ways to calculate those damages. The first method is called “per diem” approach. This method involves determining what the plaintiff would have earned over his or her lifetime had he or she not suffered the personal injury. The second method is called “multiplier” approach. This approach multiplies the loss of earnings by an appropriate multiplier to arrive at the total award.

Pain and suffering damages are determined based upon the severity of the injuries sustained. However, these damages are difficult to quantify because they cannot be measured in dollars and cents. Therefore, it is common practice for insurance companies and lawyers to use a mathematical formula known as the “multiplier’ method to determine the total award.

In order to determine the proper amount of money to pay for pain and suffering, several factors must be considered. Some of these can include:

  1. What was the nature and extent of the injuries sustained?
  2. Was the injury caused by someone else’s negligence?
  3. Did the injured party suffer any mental anguish or distress?
  4. Were there any physical limitations imposed on the injured party due to the injury?
  5. What were the lost wages and benefits incurred by the injured party?
  6. What was the cost of medical treatment?

Per Diem Approach To Compensation

The per diem approach to compensation is a method of compensating people based on a daily rate. This is most commonly used for workers' compensation claims but can be used across a number of case types. It is also known as “per-diems” or “expense reimbursements.” When using this method, the court uses the average daily wage of the person multiplied by the number of days the person has suffered pain.

For example, you were rear-ended and suffered a neck injury where you were required by your doctor to wear a neck brace and take pain pills for two months. The pain continues for another three months, taking the total time to five months, or roughly 150 days. At your current job, you make an annual salary of $50,000, and this breaks down to $200 per day when divided by 250 working days a year. To calculate the pain and suffering you would be awarded, you multiply this daily rate by the days of pain, in this example, this would be $200 x 150, which equals $30,000.

Permanent injuries or long-term injuries are more difficult and an experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to look at similar case types and settlements.

Multiplier Approach

Special damages are easy to calculate. Medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other costs are added together to get a total amount of money needed to pay for these things. Then this sum is multiplied by a number between 1.5 to 5, depending on how bad the injuries were. If your injuries were severe enough that you may need surgery or hospitalization, then the multiplier could be higher than 3. Your attorney can help you file a lawsuit and seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Having a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer on your side will help you receive the maximum compensation for any injuries you've suffered, including pain and suffering.

Evidence of Pain In Medical Records

When it comes to general damages and medical bills, it is important to communicate with doctors and other health care providers about how you feel. This helps them write down what you say about your injuries and pain. Other ways to help prove pain include:

  • Witness statements
  • Police reports
  • Medical treatment bills
  • Photos of injuries

An insurance company might argue that you exaggerated or lied about your pain and discomfort, even though it was written down by a doctor who saw you. If you have no evidence, the insurance company will assume you suffered no pain. Your lawyer can help you present the best case possible.

What Are Types of Pain and Suffering?

Physical and emotional suffering are considered non-economic damages. It is the accumulation of the trauma, anguish, and physical and emotional pain you have suffered after your accident.

Physical Pain

Physical injuries from an accident can leave you with lasting pain that can be days, weeks, months, years, or in some cases permanent. This means that you are living your life suffering in constant pain that can make even simple tasks or work uncomfortable. Physical injuries that may lead to compensation can include:

  • Back pain
  • Nerve damage
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Broken bones
  • Organ damage
  • or other physical injuries

Emotional Pain

An accident or injury doesn't have to just lead to physical pain. Emotional suffering can arise after and can also cause lasting damage to the victim. This type of pain can include:

  • PTSD
  • Fear
  • Insomnia
  • Anger
  • Loss of quality of life
  • or other emotional injuries

Common Injuries That Award Pain and Suffering Compensation

Pain and suffering compensation can be awarded for many different types of injuries and accidents. Accident types can include any number of personal injury cases including: slip and falls, workers compensation, car accidents, and more. Common injuries that are awarded money can include:

  • Scarring
  • Whiplash
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Broken bones

The more serious the injuries, often the more insurance companies will award more money. It is important to keep track of doctors visits, surgeries, if you needed an ambulance, any hospital stays, or any other record that may relate to your accident and injury.

Pain And Suffering Compensation: Why Having an Attorney Helps

You should always hire an experienced lawyer before filing a personal injury claim. Insurance companies may try telling you that this is an unneces­sary measure, and the prospect of dealing with damages after a personal injury can be daunting. Trying to handle a personal injury case yourself almost always leads to a claimant making a mistake that significantly reduces the value of his or her case and any settlement he or she might get.

By hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer for your case, you can ensure that there is an objective testimony of what you can no longer do compared to what you were able to do before your injury. An experienced attorney will establish facts, gather information regarding the extent of your injuries, and gather relevant information from witnesses, doctors and even the 9-1-1 call if needed.

Maryland Injury Guys fight for their clients and know that an injury, and accident, can be extremely traumatic. Our local law offices offer free consultations for a wide range of personal injury cases and have represented clients awarded for pain and suffering after accidents. Contact one of our local personal injury law offices to learn more about the pain and suffering you may be awarded after your accident.

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Aaron Blank Esq
Date Published: May 20, 2022
Aaron Blank is a patient safety advocate who holds the healthcare system responsible when it fails. He keeps businesses accountable if they choose profits over the safety of the community, and he ensures car insurance companies pay their fair share for the harm that reckless drivers cause. Aaron and his proficient legal team bring an approach based on dedication, guidance, and compassion through the difficult process of pursuing serious injury claims. He has dedicated his career to fighting for injury victims to recover losses from medical expenses, lost income, loss of enjoyment of life, or the loss of a loved one.
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This website is by Blank Kim P.C. d/b/a Maryland Injury Guys. We have offices throughout Maryland with attorneys licensed to practice law in the state of  Maryland. Use of this site does not form an attorney-client relationship and information herein shall not be construed as legal advice. This website is to be considered as ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. Past settlement and verdict values are no guarantee of similar future outcomes. This firm may retain local counsel to prosecute cases. This website has not been approved by the Court of Appeals of Maryland or the Maryland State Bar. Cases may be co-counselled or referred to other firms for litigation.
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