How do Courts Quantify Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

The cliché that the things that truly make your life enjoyable do not have a price tag is true. In fact, most people do not even realize how much their happiness depends on being able to walk without pain, drive without fear, or rely on the emotional support of a family member unless they have lost those things temporarily or permanently. If you have never suffered a serious injury in an accident, you might balk at the amounts that courts sometimes award to plaintiffs and assume that the plaintiffs or their attorneys are being greedy by requesting such large sums. In fact, sometimes courts use a mathematical formula to determine the amount of money to award for physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment. The amount awarded for pain and suffering in car accident lawsuits sometimes comes down to multiplying the economic damages by a certain number, depending on how much the suffering resulting from the accident has changed the plaintiff’s life.

Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury Cases

Case Barnett Law understands the impact of pain and suffering in an injured person’s life.

The General Damages Multiplier

Courts and insurance companies sometimes multiply the economic damages associated with a car accident (past and future medical expenses, property damage, and past and future lost income) by a factor of anywhere from one and a half to five. The idea is that long-term physical pain and emotional suffering resulting from an accident compound the damage caused by the accident. For example, if the accident left you with a phobia of driving, whereas you once used to enjoy driving, then that could lead the court to apply a general damages multiplier. Likewise, in a wrongful death lawsuit, the more the plaintiff depended on the victim financially and emotionally, the greater the general damages multiplier. People sometimes give the example of a personal injury lawsuit settlement worth three times the amount of the medical expenses, but this is just one example.

Providing Evidence of Pain and Suffering

In order to show how much the accident disrupted your life, you must give evidence of things you used to be able to do that you can no longer do because of your injuries. For example, were you an athlete and are no longer able to play your favorite sport? Were you an accompanist for your church choir, but because of hand injuries resulting from the accident, can you no longer play the piano? Did you used to enjoy ballroom dancing with your spouse, but you can no longer participate because the accident left you with chronic pain, thus leaving your spouse without a dance partner and a valued social outlet? All of these things can factor into a court’s decision when awarding non-economic damages.

Contact Case Barnett Law About Car Accident Cases in Orange County, California 

If you have been injured in a car accident, you might feel like no one understands how much the accident has disrupted your life, but a skilled personal injury lawyer knows how to show evidence of your suffering. Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California if you have been seriously injured in a car accident.

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