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How Are Damages for Pain and Suffering Calculated?

For those who have been seriously injured and are looking for a way to recover compensation for the harm that they’ve suffered, filing a personal injury case may be the best option. In a personal injury case, a claimant can seek damages for both the economic losses they have suffered, such as medical bills and lost wages, as well as any noneconomic damages they’ve incurred, such as the value of pain and suffering. But while economic damages are easy to value as compensation is based on actual losses suffered, pain and suffering damages can be more difficult to compute. If you’re filing a personal injury claim and seeking compensation for pain and suffering, here’s a look into how damages are calculated–

Two Methods for Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages

There are two traditional methods that may be used for calculating pain and suffering damages in a Virginia personal injury case: the per diem method and the multiplier method.

  • Per diem method. Per diem means per day, and under this method of calculating pain and suffering damages, the value of damages is based on the number of days that the plaintiff experiences pain and suffering, multiplied by a per day value. Often times, the per day value is equivalent to what a person makes per day in wages. For example, if a person makes $100 per day and experiences pain and suffering for 90 days, they would be entitled to $9,000 in pain and suffering damages.


  • Multiplier method. Perhaps the more common way of determining the value of pain and suffering damages is to use the multiplier method. Under this method of calculating damages, a claimant is assigned a number one through five, with the greater the number being indicative of the more significant injuries. For example, a person who experiences a minor burn injury may be assigned a one or 1.5, and a person who experiences complete paralysis may be assigned a five. Then, this number (called the “multiplier”) is multiplied by the number of actual economic damages the claimant suffered to determine the value of pain and suffering. For example, if a person is assigned a multiplier of a three and suffered $200,000 in actual damages, they would be able to recoup $600,000 in pain and suffering damages.

Maximizing the Value of Your Settlement for Pain and Suffering

If you’re filing a personal injury claim and seeking compensation for pain and suffering, it is important that you have a lawyers on your side who is familiar with how such damages are calculated, and steps that you can take to improve the chances of recovering your full settlement amount. Unlike economic damages, noneconomic damages are very subjective; you want an attorney on your side who can provide evidence that you deserve a large pain and suffering award.

At the law office of Hampton Injury Law, Attorney Jan Hoen is ready to advocate for you. Please schedule a free consultation by calling Jan or sending an email to info@hamptoninjurylawplc.com.

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