LEGAL GUIDE
Written by Avvo Staff | Oct 16, 2015

Pain and suffering calculator

Learn how insurance companies calculate settlements for injuries including non-economic damages.

While there is no official pain and suffering calculator that can accurately predict how much a settlement will amount to, there are some factors that consistently play a part in determining how much you will receive.

How insurance companies make recommendations

Each insurance company has its own method for how to calculate pain and suffering damages. However, there are a few common avenues that companies use.

The multiplier method

Companies that use this method first take a look at the tangible expenses related to the injury. This includes things such as medical bills, lost wages, travel expenses for medical treatment, etc. The company then multiplies that number to arrive at what they deem a reasonable amount for pain and suffering compensation.

The factor by which they multiply the expenses may be anywhere between 1 and 5. This may depend on the insurance companies' policies as well as the circumstances surrounding the injury or incident that caused the pain and suffering.

The per day determination

The other method that insurance companies may use hinges heavily on the projected amount of time it will take you to fully recover from an injury.

For example, if it will take approximately 6 months for you to fully recover, you could receive an amount that equals to $150 per day for around 180 days.

Fault also plays a role

In addition to looking at how much you're suffering, the insurer will also look at who was at fault. If you are partially to blame for the accident, your settlement will be reduced.

During the negotiation process, you will be asked to put forth an amount that you think is fair. To arrive at a reasonable number, consider not only your discomfort but also take a frank look at whether you are partially to blame for what happened. A personal injury attorney will make sure you receive an offer that you feel is just.

How judges and juries calculate pain and suffering

In a personal injury lawsuit, there is no pain and suffering calculator that tells a jury exactly how much money a victim should receive. A judge gives the jury specific instructions for deliberating on the tangible costs of an injury, such as medical expenses, but determining pain and suffering may largely be a matter of the heart.

The jury may simply decide on the amount by considering how much they would want to receive for pain and suffering if they were in your position.

If you think an amount is unfair

What if you feel strongly that the amount you are being offered will not adequately cover your pain and suffering? You must have evidence to back up your feelings. If an incident caused you to suffer depression or anxiety, obtain records from a mental health professional that proves you must cope with these conditions.

Also think about things like family participation. Does what happened take you away from doing things like attending your kids' school events or from enjoying a close relationship with your spouse? Gather evidence for your claims and present them to the insurance adjuster or whoever is primarily responsible for handling your case.

If a lawsuit is involved, as if often true with car accident personal injury cases, be frank with your attorney about all the consequences of the incident that started your pain and suffering.

Some states have specific laws regarding different types of pain and suffering. For example, the rules regarding a defamation case may differ significantly from those that apply to a case involving physical injuries. Additionally, some states put caps on pain and suffering compensation amounts.

By doing your research, keeping careful records, and obtaining appropriate legal help, you're more likely to receive adequate compensation.

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