person in pain after car accident

If you’ve recently been injured—whether at a commercial establishment, on a public road, or at your workplace—you may be wondering about the compensation after a successful lawsuit. This blog will explain what different kinds of damages are and how to calculate a tricky kind of damage known as pain and suffering. Please read on to be as informed as you can, and don’t hesitate to call the New York injury lawyers here at Mitchell J. Schroeder, P.C. when you’re dealing with an injury. Remember that you deserve a persistent and experienced lawyer who will fight for your rights.

What Are Economic and Non-Economic Damages?

The money you receive through a lawsuit to be made whole after you have been harmed is called “damages.” Two kinds of damages exist: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages are also called special damages. Calculating economic damages is usually easier than calculating non-economic damages because economic damages are quantifiable expenses like medical bills or lost wages.

On the other hand, non-economic damages are also called general damages and can be trickier to calculate by their nature. Non-economic damages are damages like pain and suffering, which in legalese refers to both the physical discomfort and emotional distress that follows an injury.

Pain and suffering are a big deal, as they are often intense and enduring. Pain and suffering can reduce your quality of life for many years, and even if you get treatment, you may find that the scars, both physical and psychological, linger. Before you receive enough treatment to heal to that point, you might experience obstacles in your relationships, PTSD, and sleep disorders, among other negative consequences. Consequently, pain and suffering damages can end up being a large part of the compensation you deserve to be made whole.

How Do Courts Calculate Pain and Suffering?

For all that pain and suffering have such long-lasting effects on us, they aren’t financial, aren’t easily quantifiable, and have no clear and objective measurement. Because of this, courts and insurance companies typically use one of two methods to determine a monetary amount for pain and suffering.

The first method we’ll examine is the multiplier method. Courts select a factor, typically between 1.5 and 5, and multiply your economic damages by that factor. Should your injuries be so severe that you require permanent care or hospitalization, the factor used in your case may be higher. When deciding which factor should be used, juries are allowed to consider medical evidence and their personal lived experiences.

Now we’ll look at the per diem method. In some ways, the per diem method is simpler than the multiplier method. The court will assign a dollar value to every day you live with the harm or the pain, often your daily wage from your most recent job, and multiply that by the number of days you lived with the pain or harm. It is important to note that analysts have criticized this method for unduly rewarding high earners. Besides that clear drawback, it can also be difficult to estimate how many days you lived with your pain, particularly given that your pain may persist for months, years, or more.