Pain and suffering is a category of non-economic damages that car accident victims can seek in a lawsuit. Because these damages are all intangible, they are more difficult to calculate. In response, Texas courts typically use two methods to calculate pain and suffering: the Basic Multiplier method and the Per Diem method.
What is the Basic Multiplier Method?
The Basic Multiplier method is more common in car accident claims where the victim suffered long-term severe injuries without a precise recovery date. Using this method, the insurance company or the jury will assign your case a number between 1 and 5. The worse your injuries are and the more significant their impact on your quality of life– the higher your number will be. Once your claim has been assigned a number, the amount of your economic damages (such as lost wages, medical bills, in-home care, assistive devices, and more) will be multiplied to arrive at the amount of damages you will be awarded.
For example, in a car accident, you could suffer a debilitating back injury that requires several surgeries, years of physical therapy, regular in-home care, extensive time missed from work, or renders you unable to return to the same position you once held. If it is determined that your economic damages total $500,000, and the insurance company or jury finds that your basic multiplier is a 4, then you would receive approximately $2 million.
Per Diem Method
The Per Diem method is more common when you have an estimated recovery date from your injuries. For example, if you suffer extensive ligament damage in your knee, you may need surgery and miss an extended period of time at work. However, you are likely to make enough progress within several months to return. So, if, for example, you missed 100 days of work, you would be awarded a fixed amount per day.
The jury will assign a value for you to be awarded per day, and that will be based on your daily lost wages. Then the jury will take that amount and multiply it by the number of days you incurred pain and suffering. If the jury assigns a value of $500 per day and you missed 100 days of work, then the Per Diem method calculation for pain and suffering damages would yield $50,000.
Note that you are not locked into that amount with both methods, as your Dallas car accident lawyer and the other side can– and will– argue that the amount is too high or too low. These methods provide a starting point for both parties, the insurance company, and the jury, a rough idea of an appropriate amount of damages.
What is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is the physical and emotional trauma you experience due to the injuries you sustain in the car crash. Some of the more common types of damages include the following:
- Anxiety, depression, panic attacks, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or insomnia
- Physical discomfort and pain, whether temporary or permanent
- Permanent disability, disfigurement, or scarring
- Permanent loss of a vital bodily function
- Loss of consortium
- Memory loss
- Damage to your reputation
- Reduction in your quality of life
Can You Always Recover for Pain and Suffering in a Car Accident Claim?
To be eligible to receive pain and suffering in a car accident settlement, there must have been an accompanying physical injury. While there are other means for bystanders or uninjured vehicle occupants to be financially compensated for a car crash, none of them would fall under the category of pain and suffering.
We Work Tirelessly to Help You Achieve Justice
An experienced personal injury attorney will be best equipped to maximize the amount of pain and suffering damages you receive in your car accident. Our Dallas car accident lawyers at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP always recommend that victims obtain representation as soon as possible. We have recovered millions of dollars in jury verdicts and settlements on behalf of Texans and work tirelessly to help our clients both inside and outside the courtroom.
Book a Free Case Review Today
If you have questions about how pain and suffering is calculated in a Texas car accident claim, call us today to arrange your complimentary case review. We work on a contingency-fee-basis, so there are no upfront legal fees.