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Calculating and Proving Pain and Suffering


If you are injured in an accident, you likely have bills and expenses mounting, whether for lost wages from being out of work, or from doctors bills and medical expenses. But you also have something else, that doesn’t have an exact price tag, but which can, in some cases, be far more damaging than dollars and cents: you have pain and suffering.

What is Pain and Suffering?

Although used very often, and often derided in the media, pain and suffering is very serious for accident victims. Pain and suffering can include not just actual pain and suffering, but can also include things like loss of the enjoyment of life, depression, anxiety, or other cognitive or behavioral changes, all brought on by the effects of your accident and injuries.

Proving Pain and Suffering

But how do you prove pain and suffering? Unlike a broken bone or torn ligament, there is no X-ray, no scan, that can “see” your pain and suffering.

Yes, you can (and definitely should) see a professional about the mental effects of your accident, but even then, there is no medical test for a jury to look at and say “yes, this person has pain and suffering.”

There are ways to prove pain and suffering. Aside from medical records of any mental health professionals you may visit, your testimony, as well as that of friends or family, who can attest to your altered mood or changed lifestyle, can be called to testify on your behalf. You know best what you are going through, and your trial is your chance to tell your side of the story to a jury, and help them experience what you have gone through.

How Much is it Worth?

Once you prove pain and suffering exists, how does a jury value it? How do you put a price tag on pain and suffering?

There is no exact way, and the law doesn’t say that a personal injury attorney necessarily has to use any exact method.

One common method is just multiplying your economic damages, like lost wages or medical expenses, by a given number—a multiplier.

So, for example, if you have $50,000 in lost wages and medical bills, and you applied a 3x multiplier, your pain and suffering (non-economic damages) would be $150,000.

You can also apply a daily rate, much like a salary. A jury can say that your pain and suffering is worth, for example, $100 a day. If you suffered significantly for 6 months, that’s about 180 days. Multiply that by $100 a day, and your noneconomic damages would come to $18,000.

Of course, if your pain and suffering lasted longer than 6 months—for example, if you had a permanent disability that would last years into the future, that number could grow very significantly.

There is no right or wrong way to do it.  Let us help you value your pain and suffering, and show  a jury what you are going through after an accident. Call the Knoxville personal injury lawyers at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, for a free consultation.

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