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Pain and Suffering Multiplier Legally Explained in 2024

The pain and suffering multiplier is a method used by insurance companies and courts to calculate compensation for pain and suffering in personal injury cases. The exact multiplier used can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of the case.
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Collen Clark Published by Collen Clark

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What is Pain and Suffering?

According to Mitch Grissim, in personal injury cases, victims seek damages for various conditions, including pain and suffering. This type of suffering encompasses any physical or mental discomfort resulting from an injury or accident. Courts award damages for pain and suffering based on evidence from medical records and testimonies [1].

Physical pain and suffering damages are part of a personal injury lawsuit that seeks to compensate a victim for the physical pain and suffering caused by a bodily injury. In a personal injury lawsuit, the pain and suffering damages are typically based on the amount of medical treatment required to treat the injury.

They also include other losses experienced by the victim due to the bodily injury. Insurance companies may calculate these damages by considering the necessary medical treatment and the level of pain and suffering experienced by the victim.

The amount of pain and suffering damages awarded varies depending on the injury's severity and the required medical treatment. Courts often take into account medical bills, lost wages, and other damages when determining these damages. Insurance companies may also consider the victim's pain and suffering when calculating the total amount of damages.

Pain and Suffering Multiplier Explained

The multiplier method is an equation frequently used by insurance companies and is a common way to calculate pain and suffering damages. You add up all special damages and multiply the result by a number between 1.5 to 5. The number by which you multiply is called the "multiplier," which indicates the degree of seriousness of your pain and suffering and any other general damages you suffered [2].

For instance, if the injuries are exceptionally severe, a higher multiplier, closer to 5, may be appropriate. To determine the appropriate multiplier for your case, you can use tools like FindLaw's Damages Estimate Worksheet. Consider the following factors when determining the multiplier for your pain and suffering:

  • The clarity of the other driver's fault.
  • The severity of your injuries, including any permanent disability.
  • The availability of clear proof of pain and suffering is supported by verified documents.
  • The duration of recovery and the extent to which full recovery is achievable.

It's important to note that the amount calculated using the multiplier method is an estimate, and there is no guarantee that you will receive that exact amount. If you apply a high multiplier without sufficient justification, the insurance company may reject your claim. Therefore, ensure that your calculations are supported by accurate facts and documentation.

The Per Diem Method

The "per diem" method, derived from the Latin meaning "per day," involves assigning a daily rate to the victim's pain and suffering. This rate should be reasonable, such as $200 or an average day's wages, but it should also align with the severity of the injuries.

Those who sustain catastrophic injuries that cause permanent disabilities, for example, can justify using a much higher rate than those who expect to make a full recovery in a matter of weeks.

After reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI), your personal injury lawyer can assist in determining a reasonable rate. This rate is then multiplied by the number of days it took for you to recover. For instance, if a $150 per diem rate is justified and it took 150 days to reach MMI, the calculation would be $150 multiplied by 150 days, resulting in $22,500.

Personal Injury Settlement Statistics

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, personal injury lawsuits almost always end in settlements, only 4% to 5% of personal injury cases go all the way to trial [3].

A study conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2005 found that:

  • Of all the personal injury cases that went all the way to verdict, the success rate for plaintiffs was about 50%
  • The highest success rate was in auto accident cases, at 61%
  • Plaintiffs were only successful in 19% of medical malpractice trials

What this means for someone considering a settlement offer is that, if you accept the settlement offer, you are 100% guaranteed to get the amount being offered. If you reject it, statistically speaking, your chances are about 50/50. You’ll either end up with an amount greater than the settlement, or you’ll end up with nothing.

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