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How is Pain & Suffering Determined in an Accident?

October 24 2019

New York law allows accident victims to receive compensation for pain and suffering. This is a legal term that covers a variety of losses that reduce a person’s quality of life, such as physical pain, mental anguish, embarrassment, and physical or mental limitations.

But how are damages for pain and suffering determined after an accident? When it comes to "hard" expenses, like medical bills, a victim can easily prove how much money he has lost. But how does a jury measure the value of feeling constant pain in your back or the embarrassment of suffering facial scars?

Below, we’ll look at two ways of measuring pain and suffering and what you can do to maximize the amount you receive. Reach out to one of our Bronx personal injury lawyers for more information.

Two Measures of Pain and Suffering

There is no “correct” way to measure pain and suffering. However, if you bring a lawsuit, you need to give a jury some way of calculating a fair amount to cover the physical pain and mental distress that you feel. Many Bronx personal injury attorneys use one of two methods:

● Multiplier

● Per diem

The multiplier method looks at your hard economic expenses—medical bills, rehabilitation, lost wages, etc.—and multiplies them by a certain amount, usually from 1 to 5. If your physical injuries are temporary, then you would multiply by 1 or 2. If they are permanent and life-altering, then you multiply by 5 (or sometimes even more). So a person with a broken bone and a concussion who suffers $20,000 in hard economic losses might request $60,000 more for pain and suffering.

The per diem method assigns a certain dollar value to each day you are in pain. For example, you might argue $200 a day fairly compensates you for physical discomfort and other suffering. If a victim’s strain and other soft-tissue injuries cause 3 weeks of pain, then he or she might request $4,200 in pain and suffering.

An attorney using the per diem method needs to find a fair number. Some will use how much a client makes each day on the job, though that is just one example.

Maximizing Pain and Suffering Compensation

One big problem is convincing jurors and insurance adjusters that you truly are in pain. X-rays and other imaging tests can clearly document broken bones, blood clots, and other physical injuries, but they can’t document pain or mental distress. There is always a risk that jurors think you are exaggerating the pain and inconvenience you feel.

One thing you should do is save all your prescriptions for painkillers and psychiatric drugs, such as antidepressants or antianxiety medication. You can also keep a journal where you daily document the location of your pain as well as how it has disrupted your normal life. If you have a trial, then people who know you can testify about how your life has changed for the worse.

Speak with a Personal Injury Lawyer in the Bronx

Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman has helped many accident victims fully document their pain and suffering. We are adept at presenting clear, compelling arguments to juries and insurance adjusters that show our clients are deserving of the maximum amount of compensation for pain and suffering available under the law. Contact us today, 212-285-3300, to schedule your free consultation.