If you or somebody you love sustains an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another individual, business, or entity, you should be entitled to various types of compensation for your losses. In general, this will include coverage of your medical bills, lost wages, property damage expenses, and various types of non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering losses. However, calculating these non-economic damages can be challenging. Here, we want to discuss how pain and suffering are calculated in the aftermath of any type of injury, including car accidents, premises liability claims, faulty product incidents, and more.
Defining Pain and Suffering After an Injury in Pennsylvania
If you have been injured in a vehicle accident, or workplace accident, a slip and fall incident, or any other type of incident caused by someone else, you are likely to experience various types of physical and emotional pain and suffering. Even though you may be aware that you can secure compensation for this type of injury, this is not as easy as obtaining compensation for physical injuries and lost wages.
Pain and suffering damages will be considered a type of non-economic loss. This means that these damages are more immeasurable than other losses a person will experience after sustaining an injury. When working to define and calculate pain and suffering damages, we will find that there are no bills or receipts that can properly place a value on a person’s emotional and psychological trauma, including their feelings of grief, anxiety, anger, fear, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
How Insurance Carriers Calculate Pain and Suffering
It is important to understand that insurance carriers are going to do everything they can to limit how much money they payout in a settlement, including for both economic damages and non-economic damages. However, insurance carriers will have more success targeting pain and suffering damages because, again, these are harder to calculate. There are no hard and fast rules for how insurance carriers calculate pain and suffering losses.
In general, there are two methods that personal injury lawyers in Philadelphia will use to calculate pain and suffering for their clients. They will use one of these two calculations and then send a demand letter to the insurance carriers for payment:
- Multiplier method. This will include adding up all the economic expenses (medical bills, lost income, property damage expenses, etc.) and then multiplying that total by a set number, usually ranging from 1.5 to 5, to reach the total for pain and suffering non-economic damages. For example, if a person sustained $100,000 in economic damages, an attorney could use a multiplier of three to reach a total of $300,000 for pain and suffering damages.
- Per diem method. This is an alternative method to calculating pain and suffering damages in Pennsylvania. The per diem approach assigns a specific dollar amount every day that the injury victim is recovering until when they reach maximum medical recovery. For example, if a $200 daily per diem amount is assigned to the claim and it takes 300 days for the victim to recover, this would reach a total of $60,000 for pain and suffering damages.
Just because an attorney sends a demand letter for one amount does not mean the insurance carrier is going to immediately oblige. These insurance carriers typically use complex algorithms to determine how much they should offer for pain and suffering. These algorithms will take into account the type of injury, the severity of the injury, and the type of medical treatment the person has undergone.