Pain and suffering damages are classified into two types: physical and mental.1 Physical pain and suffering is intended to compensate for the bodily pain and discomfort while mental pain and suffering focuses on readdressing injuries that are a byproduct of the physical injury such as mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, fear, anger, humiliation, anxiety, and shock.2
Calculating Pain and Suffering
There are typically two common approaches to measuring pain and suffering.3 The first approach is to use a multiplier method by determining actual damages and multiplying by a number between one and five that correlates to the severity and extent of injury.4 The second common approach is to use a per diem (per day) method where a particular value is assigned to each day until the maximum recovery allotment is reached.5 There are factors that affect the overall value of a plaintiff’s pain and suffering, but which are not accounted for in either of these common methods including the plaintiff’s likability, credibility, criminal record, and testimonial consistency, the availability of experts and physicians who support the plaintiff’s claims, and the extent to which the plaintiff’s diagnosis, injuries, or claims are comprehensible to the jury.6
Complex Issues in Calculating Pain and Suffering
There are two primary reasons why measuring pain and suffering is difficult: there is no set formula or method behind the calculation, only common approaches and there is no way to prove with certainty a plaintiff’s extent of emotional or physical suffering. 7 Take into account only soft tissue injuries, most of the minor injuries sustained in a common car accident will affect muscles, ligaments, tendons, and tissue.8 The injuries sustained to these regions of the body will only be apparent if there are external lacerations or abrasions, but in most cases the injury is internal and not identifiable through any medical procedure such as an x-ray.9 As a result, it may be difficult for a jury to balance a plaintiff’s testimony of the extent of his or her pain and suffering against the lack of concrete medical evidence.
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you have suffered some form of loss or harm you may be entitled to recover compensation for pain and suffering which is why it is important to discuss the circumstances of your injury with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help to protect your legal rights and interests. To contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the Bruning Legal trial attorneys at 314-735-8100.