How Pain and Suffering Damages Are Calculated in California

Have you been injured in an accident? Are you filing a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation due to harm caused to you by another party? If you’re a plaintiff in a personal injury case, you may have heard your California personal injury lawyer talk about your pain and suffering damages.

The injuries you suffer hurt, and recovery can be a long, painful period. Pain and suffering are both physical and emotional trauma an injured person experiences from the accident. You’re entitled to pursue compensation for this intangible form of loss. Do you need help filing a personal injury case for compensation? Contact Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers today at (619) 233-5020 to learn more in a free consultation.

What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?

“Pain and suffering” is a term for the physical and emotional toll an accident takes on the injured party. When you suffer harm of this type because of someone else’s wrongdoing,  California personal injury law permits you to pursue compensation, called “damages,” for these intangible losses. That includes the effect that the physical and psychological pain has on your life.

What Kinds of Pain and Suffering Compensation Can I Collect?

Your pain and suffering can be both emotional and physical.

The “pain” part of pain and suffering refers to your physical hurt. Spinal cord injuries, lacerations, bruising, burns, broken bones – these all hurt. Recovery is painful, too. If you require physical or occupational therapy as part of your recovery, that often hurts. Your compensation for pain can cover this. If you’re in chronic pain, you may notice that your relationships suffer, too, and you deserve compensation for that as well.

“Suffering” is typically the psychological distress caused by the accident. It’s not unusual for someone to have flashbacks from being hit by a car or feel depressed because they’re disabled after a catastrophic injury caused by someone else. Or the injured person could develop post-traumatic stress disorder or another condition. The suffering can last for months, and therapy bills can add up. You can demand compensation for the reduced quality of life you endure because of your suffering.

What Kind of Personal Injury Cases Can Have Pain and Suffering Damages?

Nearly all personal injury cases could qualify for pain and suffering compensation. Some of the common cases we litigate that include pain and suffering compensation include:

  • Pedestrian accidents. Your injuries after being hit by a car can be extensive and painful to heal. Plus, the trauma of being struck by a car can lead to flashbacks and nightmares.
  • Semi-truck collisions. The terror of being hit by an 80,000-pound truck may lead to months of trauma, nightmares, or anxiety.
  • Workplace injuries. If you develop a chronic medical condition due to your working environment, you could be facing a lifetime of pain. Or perhaps your workplace injury left you permanently disabled.
  • Car wrecks. Even a so-called “minor” car accident may leave you with situational anxiety about being in a car. More serious wrecks may lead to catastrophic injury.

This abbreviated list doesn’t include all the types of accidents that could result in pain and suffering. If someone else’s wrongdoing has injured you, contact a personal injury lawyer to determine whether you’re entitled to compensation.

How Are California Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?

Pain and suffering are subjective. As such, more difficult to calculate than your medical bills. Those can be easily added up. So, your lawyer may use one of two common methods to quantify your pain and suffering. The first is the per diem method, and the second is the multiplier method.

Per Diem Method

The per diem method assigns a dollar amount to each day you experience pain and suffering. Then, your lawyer estimates how long you have been and are expected to be in pain. They multiply the number of days you’re in pain by the daily rate to arrive at your pain and suffering total compensation. For example, if your per diem amount is $200, and your attorney believes you’ll take about 12 weeks to recover, they will request $16,800 in pain and suffering damages.

Multiplier Method

The multiplier method uses your total financial losses (lost wages, medical care, property damage) to calculate pain and suffering. They multiply that total by a number from 1 to 5. The worse your injuries and the more permanent effect on your life, the higher the multiplier. Say your financial losses total $100,000, and you’re permanently disabled. Your lawyer may use a multiplier of 5. Using this formula, the total for pain and suffering would therefore be $500,000.

How Can My Lawyer Prove My Pain and Suffering?

How Pain and Suffering Damages Are Calculated in CaliforniaAs we noted, pain and suffering are subjective. Your attorney must demonstrate the impact of the accident on your life. They might ask you to keep a daily pain log using a numerical scale. They can also ask you to indicate how your injuries diminish your quality of life. Examples include being unable to go to the gym or participate in your favorite hobbies.

It’s not just your word that your lawyer may use. They will also likely have some of the people in your life testify about how your pain and suffering affect them. Perhaps your boss and co-workers note that you can no longer perform at your usual level. Or your family can testify about damaged relationships because of your pain and suffering.

Expert witness testimony can play an important part. It can include testimony from a psychologist about your mental condition following the accident. Or an expert medical witness can review your medical records and point out how painful each injury and its recovery was.

An expert medical witness could use your medical records to demonstrate to a jury how each injury causes specific pain. Maybe you’re seeing a therapist or psychologist for the mental distress from the accident. Your therapist could testify about what caused your mental illness or trauma.

Do You Need Help Getting Pain and Suffering Compensation?

Were you involved in an accident that you didn’t cause? Are you now in pain and suffering because of your injuries? Contact the skilled California personal injury lawyers at Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers today to learn about how to claim pain and suffering compensation. Get a free consultation by calling (619) 233-5020 today, and Get Ross.

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