Being hurt because of someone else’s negligence compounds frustration on top of the physical pain of your injury. It’s completely sensible to wonder about how much you might earn for your pain and suffering in a claim.
This blog post will explain pain and suffering damages compared to other kinds of damages. Then we will discuss some methods by which insurance companies and courts calculate those pain and suffering damages. Remember, to have the best chances at the most compensation, you would be well served by contacting a Memphis personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
What Kind of Damages Can I Get?
There are two kinds of damages you may receive for a successful claim: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages tend to be easier to determine, because these refer to the cost you’ve had to bear as expressed in property damage, medical bills, and lost wages. Non-economic damages, however, deal with the pain suffering your injury has caused and will cause you going forward.
Non-economic damages can then be subdivided into another two types: current and future. Current economic damages refer to the finite health and mental difficulties caused by the injury, as well as the treatment required by the injury. As you might imagine, future economic damages are an estimate of how much, in monetary value, your injury will continue to cost you going forward.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering are synonymous with non-economic damages. These are costs you bear due to your injury which cannot be instantly observed. Pain and suffering might refer to physical, mental, and emotional suffering, or a combination.
State law in Tennessee considers many factors as related to your pain and suffering. These include physical impairment, disfigurement, emotional pain or distress (inclusive of anxiety, depression, reduced ability to sleep, among others), and a decline in the pleasure you can take in your life and your overall quality of life. Loss of companionship is another kind of suffering recognized, in this case, if your spouse was injured.
How Do I Determine What I May Get for Pain and Suffering?
We will discuss two methods for calculating your pain and suffering damages. The first, the multiplier method, is the most commonly used. Courts and insurance companies will add up your medical expenses, property damage, lost income (past and future), and potential future expenses. They will then take a number between 1.5 and 5, which increases according to the severity of your suffering, and they will multiply the first sum by that number. The suffering intensity-dependent multiplier will probably be a source of contention during your claim, whether between yourself and the defendant’s lawyer or their insurance company.
The next method is known as the “per diem” method. It’s not as common to use, but may come up. Courts or insurance companies will put a daily expense amount on your suffering. This can be done by putting a value on your daily expenses, daily lost income, and estimated daily pain and suffering. Then that value is multiplied by the number of days between when you were injured and the greatest potential recovery you can have.
Keep in mind that Tennessee state law limits pain and suffering damages to $750,000. In some cases, the law allows exceptions, depending on whether you experienced a catastrophic loss, if the defendant intentionally harmed you, if the defendant tried to conceal evidence, or if there was a felony conviction as a result of your case.