How do you calculate compensation for pain and suffering?

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2024 | Personal Injury |

Determining the right amount of compensation for pain and suffering after an accident or injury can be challenging. These are intangible losses that no specific dollar amount can truly make up for.

Still, the law provides for the fact that an injured person should get something for physical and psychological pain. Understanding the methods to calculate this type of damages helps a plaintiff determine possible compensation.

Florida’s restrictions on and definition of pain and suffering

Pain and suffering cover a wide range of experiences involving physical or mental anguish. However, a person cannot claim these non-economic damages for every type of injury.

In car accidents, for example, Florida law limits these damages to collisions that cause serious injuries. Such incidents involve any of the following:

  • Loss of bodily functions
  • Permanent injury
  • Significant scarring or disfigurement
  • Death or endangerment of life

Physical pain relates to the actual discomfort and limitations that the injury causes. Mental and emotional distress include feelings of anxiety, depression and trauma. Another element is the loss of enjoyment of life. This refers to the inability to participate in activities that were once enjoyable or fulfilling.

The per diem method

One approach to calculating compensation for pain and suffering is the per diem method. This strategy assigns a daily monetary value to the pain and suffering.

In this situation, the calculation requires the total number of days the individual will endure pain and suffering. Then, the court or insurance company assigns a specific dollar amount to each day. For example, if the individual will deal with pain and suffering for 100 days and the per diem rate is $100, the total compensation would be $10,000.

The multiplier method

The multiplier method involves multiplying the total economic damages (such as medical expenses and lost wages) by a certain factor to determine the non-economic damages of pain and suffering. The multiplier typically ranges from 1.5 to 5, depending on the severity of the injury and other relevant factors. Therefore, if the total economic damages amount to $20,000 and the multiplier is 3, the compensation for pain and suffering would be $60,000.

Determining the appropriate compensation after a personal injury with these methods also requires understanding local legal precedents. By carefully assessing and establishing all relevant factors, an injured person can likely achieve fair compensation.


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