If you’ve done research around personal injury claims, you’ve probably come across the term “pain and suffering” being used over and over. While you might understand the phrase in a general way, it’s unclear exactly what this means in legal terms – or how it is calculated.
Some claims management companies have devised their own compensation payout calculator that takes into account details of your accident to predict how much you could be owed. It does this by considering pain and suffering, as well as other factors like lost earnings and expenses. So, how is your pain and suffering calculated after a personal injury?
The Different Types of Pain and Suffering
The phrase is divided into two categories; mental and physical pain and suffering. Rather than just looking at things easily tabulated, like medical bills, it encompasses overall loss of happiness and comfort. This, of course, can be difficult to put into numbers.
Physical: This describes the injured person’s physical injuries, including current pain as well as any discomfort expected once the injury stabilises. Examples include broken bones, scarring, surgeries and any pain associated with those surgeries.
Mental: The investigation will look at the by-products of physical bodily injuries. This takes into account stress, trauma, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life and other factors. It also includes severe outcomes like depression, sleep disturbances and PTSD.
An Example of Pain and Suffering
A severe example would be a waitress at work in a busy restaurant. She is carrying three plates of food down to customers from an upstairs kitchen. There was a spillage at the top of the stairs minutes before and the person responsible was too busy to clean up the spillage, or to make others aware of it.
The waitress slips and falls down a few stairs. She breaks her leg and gets concussion from the accident. Following this, she’s unable to work for a few weeks and develops depression and loss-of-appetite.
The waitress was due to run a half marathon weeks after the accident. So, even as her physical injuries begin to stabilise, she has to miss out on this half marathon she has spent the last few months training for. This causes depression, anger and frustration – all of which are affecting the individual’s sleep. All mental suffering is directly related to the accident she had at work and will be taken into account when calculating compensation.
How the Compensation Payout Calculator Works
There’s no guarantees around the exact amount of compensation you’ll receive after lodging a personal injury claim. Even compensation payout calculators are only intended as an estimate, but there are certain ways pain and suffering is calculated in every case.
There are two distinct ways general damages are calculated. (General damages being tangible injuries, like physical pain or depression).
First Method: The Multiple Method
This takes your general damages and multiplies them by a chosen number, between 1 and 5. This number is chosen depending on how significant injuries are, with 5 being the most severe. When choosing which number to multiply by, certain factors will be considered, including:
- The level of negligence of the other party
- Available medical evidence
- The severity of your injuries and diagnoses
- Future injuries and medical attention expected
- Permanent impairment you are expected to suffer
- Expected recovery time
Second Method: Per Diem Rate
This method tabulates the number of days it’s expected you’ll spend in pain or discomfort. This number is then multiplied by your rate of pay per day.
Your lawyer will be able to advise which method would work best for your unique circumstances to ensure you are fairly compensated. If you need assistance for your own personal injury case, call u-Law on 0416 415 117.