How to Calculate a Pain and Suffering Settlement
January 20, 2021
After you’ve been severely injured in an accident or by some other incident that was caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness or legal fault, you may be entitled to claim financial compensation for your pain and suffering. But calculating a specific amount of compensation for your pain and suffering can be very difficult, since injuries will affect each person differently. In order to smooth out settlement negotiations, many insurance companies and personal injury lawyers rely on a “multiplier method” to calculate non-financial losses, such as pain and suffering.
Read more: What Makes a Good Personal Injury Case?
Proving Pain and Suffering
Any claim for compensation for pain and suffering must be supported by sufficient evidence. If you have absolutely no evidence that you endured significant pain and suffering due to your injuries, you may face resistance from the insurance company during settlement negotiations to want to include pain and suffering in your compensation. In some cases, you may be able to prove pain and suffering through your medical records, especially if your medical providers take detailed notes about the pain you experienced and how your injuries have impacted your personal and professional life.
In many cases, you may have to rely on other evidence such as photos of your injuries, eyewitness statements, testimony from your friends and family, and a contemporaneous diary or journal documenting your recovery from your injuries.
Read more: FAQ: Personal Injury Accidents and Claims
The Multiplier Method
Insurers and lawyers commonly rely on the multiplier method as an easier way to determine pain and suffering compensation. Under the multiplier method, a personal injury claimant’s actual damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages and income, lost earning potential, and other out-of-pocket costs are added up. That total number is then multiplied by a factor that usually ranges between 1.5 and 5.
This “multiplier” factor is agreed upon by the parties as reflecting the degree of your pain and suffering. For example, if you suffered particularly unique and serious injuries, such as injuries that paralyzed your or led to the amputation of a limb, you are more likely to have a multiplier of 4 or 5 (or possibly even higher) applied to calculate your pain and suffering compensation. The more direct evidence of your pain and suffering that you have, the higher of a multiple you may argue for.
For example, if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident that results in you incurring $100,000 in medical expenses, lost income, and other out-of-pocket costs and you are left with long-lasting disabilities, you and the insurance company might agree on a 4 multiplier, resulting in pain and suffering compensation of $400,000.
Drawbacks of Using Pain and Suffering Multipliers
It is easy to see how the multiplier method has been subject to extensive criticism. Opponents of the multiplier method argue that the system is arbitrary and has the potential of leading to absurd results. For example, two sets of negotiating parties might apply widely different multipliers to the same case, resulting in vastly different compensation for pain and suffering. Most importantly, critics of the multiplier method argue that it fails to adequately take into account each accident victim’s individual circumstances. This is why some insurers and personal injury lawyers only use the multiplier method as a starting point for settlement discussions, adjusting the final pain and suffering compensation amount based on the individual circumstances of the case.
Read more: Factors that Affect the Timing of Personal Injury Claims
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Case in Florida
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries in Florida? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Lawlor, White & Murphey represent clients injured in Weston, Fort Lauderdale, Coconut Creek, Plantation, and throughout Florida. Call 954-525-2345 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 2211 Davie Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312, as well as offices in Pembroke Pines, Weston, Coconut Creek, Plantation, and Pompano Beach.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.