Putting a Dollar Value on “Pain and Suffering”


Any accident can inflict injuries that cause you to experience pain and suffering. You may have the right to seek compensation for your accident injuries’ impact on your life when someone else was responsible. However, calculating compensation for pain and suffering involves a complex, subjective process. An experienced New York personal injury attorney can help you maximize your financial recovery for the pain and suffering you experience due to the wrongdoing of another. 

What Is “Pain and Suffering?”

“Pain and suffering” is the physical anguish and emotional distress you experience due to injuries sustained in an accident. In the context of personal injury claims, pain and suffering is a category of compensation that an accident victim may recover. Many accident injuries will cause physical pain. Treatment and rehab for injuries can cause additional pain. For example, an accident victim who needs surgery to repair injuries will experience pain from the injury and post-operative pain at the surgical site.

Accidents can also cause emotional distress or trauma. A violent accident may cause someone to suffer PTSD. The injuries they suffered in the accident can also cause emotional distress due to constant pain or physical limitations that interfere with daily life. 

How Much Compensation Can I Recover for Pain and Suffering Caused by an Accident?

The compensation you can recover for pain and suffering in an injury claim will depend on the nature and severity of the injuries you suffered in the accident. Severe injuries will cause more pain and suffering and require a longer treatment and rehabilitation period, warranting more pain and suffering compensation.

However, if you suffer injuries that only require first aid or home remedies, an insurance company may conclude that you haven’t experienced any pain and suffering, even if you claim to have.

Pain and suffering compensation will also depend on your injuries’ impact on your life. For example, if you need to take time off work to treat your injuries or if your injuries prevent you from completing daily tasks or participating in activities you enjoy, an insurance company or jury may find that your injuries have caused you pain and suffering that you deserve compensation for.

Insurance companies have various methods to calculate pain and suffering compensation. Two of the most common methods include the “multiplier” and “per diem” methods. The multiplier method calculates pain and suffering by multiplying an accident victim’s total medical expenses by a number ranging from one to five, depending on the severity of the victim’s injuries and the effect they have had on their life.

Under the per diem method, an insurance company pays a specific dollar amount for each day that an accident victim’s injuries have affected their life. This method of calculating appropriate pain and suffering is less common. The insurance adjuster determines the appropriate daily rate, and there are no set guidelines for how much that should be. 

How Long Does It Take to Receive a Settlement That Includes Compensation for Pain and Suffering?

Most personal injury claims settle rather than go to court or trial. However, the duration of settlement negotiations or court litigation will depend on various factors, such as:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • Whether you’ve suffered long-term or permanent disabilities
  • The duration of your medical treatment and rehabilitation
  • The complexity of the evidence in your case
  • The number of liable parties
  • Whether you bear any fault for your injuries
  • The availability of insurance coverage
  • How quickly the insurance company investigates the accident and processes your claim 

What Evidence Do I Need to Prove My Pain and Suffering?

Unlike economic losses such as medical expenses or lost wages that you can calculate from documents like bills or pay stubs, calculating pain and suffering compensation involves a more subjective analysis. Insurance adjusters or juries will rely on their personal experience to put a value on the negative impact that pain and suffering from accident injuries has had on a victim’s life.

As a result, you will need to present evidence of the effect your injuries have had on you, such as:

  • Medical records and doctor’s notes that document restrictions on your physical activity
  • Medical bills
  • Prescriptions
  • Photos of your injuries
  • Mental health provider notes
  • Medical or vocational expert reports and testimony
  • Testimony from family members, friends, and co-workers regarding the impact your injuries have had on your personal and professional life
  • Diaries, journals, or notes you have kept during your recovery that describe the physical pain, emotional distress, and changes to your daily life caused by your injuries and subsequent treatment 

How Can a Lawyer Help Me Recover Compensation for My Pain and Suffering?

Because you cannot use bills, invoices, receipts, or pay stubs to calculate pain and suffering compensation, you need effective legal counsel to help you present a compelling argument to secure maximum financial recovery for your pain and suffering after an accident caused by someone else’s action or inaction.

Some of the ways that an attorney can help you recover compensation for pain and suffering include:

  • Investigating the accident to recover evidence that proves the other party’s fault
  • Gathering your medical records, treatment notes, and invoices to document your injuries and the physical limitations they have imposed on you
  • Working with medical and vocational experts to prepare reports and testimony
  • Interviewing your family members, friends, and co-workers to develop compelling testimony about your pain and suffering
  • Aggressively negotiating with the insurance company to recover maximum compensation in a settlement or advocating zealously on your behalf in court if your case goes to trial 

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney from Finz & Finz, P.C. to Learn More About Your Rights to Pain and Suffering Compensation

When you’ve sustained severe injuries in an accident caused by someone else, you may have the right to recover compensation for the pain and suffering you experience from your injuries and subsequent medical treatment. Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. today for a free, no-obligation consultation. You can speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about your options for securing a financial recovery for your harm and loss.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.