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How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated in a Personal Injury Case?

When you've been injured due to someone else's negligence, you're entitled to compensation for your losses. While medical bills and lost wages are relatively straightforward to quantify, pain and suffering can be more complex. 

What Is Pain and Suffering?


Pain and suffering refer to the physical pain and emotional distress a person endures as a result of an injury. This can include:

  • Physical Pain: Discomfort and suffering from the injury itself and any subsequent medical treatments.

  • Emotional Distress: Anxiety, depression, fear, and loss of enjoyment of life resulting from the injury.

Types of Pain and Suffering

  1. Physical Pain and Discomfort: Includes chronic pain, temporary pain, and any ongoing physical suffering related to the injury.

  2. Emotional and Psychological Impact: Covers mental anguish, stress, anxiety, depression, and the impact on your overall quality of life.

Methods for Calculating Pain and Suffering

1. Multiplier Method

The multiplier method is the most common approach. Here’s how it works:

  • Step 1: Add up all your economic damages (medical bills, lost wages, property damage).

  • Step 2: Choose a multiplier (usually between 1.5 and 5) based on the severity of your pain and suffering.

  • Step 3: Multiply your economic damages by the chosen multiplier.


If your economic damages are $10,000 and the multiplier is 3, your pain and suffering damages would be $30,000.

2. Per Diem Method

The per diem method assigns a daily rate to your pain and suffering and multiplies it by the number of days you’ve been affected by your injury.

  • Step 1: Determine a reasonable daily rate, often based on your daily earnings.

  • Step 2: Multiply this rate by the number of days you experience pain and suffering.


If the daily rate is $100 and you’ve experienced pain for 200 days, your pain and suffering damages would be $20,000.

Factors Influencing the Calculation

1. Severity of Injury

More severe injuries typically result in higher pain and suffering awards. Courts and insurance companies consider the intensity and duration of your pain and the impact on your daily life.

2. Duration of Recovery

Longer recovery times can increase the amount of compensation. Chronic injuries or those requiring extensive rehabilitation will often result in a higher multiplier or longer per diem period.

3. Impact on Daily Life

If your injury significantly impacts your ability to perform daily activities, enjoy hobbies, or maintain relationships, this will be factored into the calculation.

4. Age and Lifestyle

Your age and lifestyle before the injury can influence the calculation. Younger individuals or those with active lifestyles may receive higher compensation due to the long-term impact of their injuries.

5. Medical Evidence

Comprehensive medical documentation detailing the extent of your injuries, treatments, and ongoing pain is crucial. Medical records, expert testimonies, and psychological evaluations provide the evidence needed to support your claim.

6. Witness Testimonies

Testimonies from family, friends, and coworkers about how the injury has affected your life can also influence the calculation. These personal accounts can provide a deeper insight into your daily struggles and loss of enjoyment of life.


Calculating pain and suffering in a personal injury case is a nuanced process that considers various factors. Both the multiplier and per diem methods offer ways to quantify these non-economic damages, ensuring you receive fair compensation for your ordeal. At Brinkley Law, we understand the complexities involved in these calculations and are dedicated to securing the maximum compensation for our clients.

If you have any questions or need assistance with your personal injury claim, contact us today for a free consultation.



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