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Steven M. Sweat, Personal Injury Lawyers, APC
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How do You Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages?

Your lawyer will calculate the value of your claim in order to negotiate with the insurance company for a reasonable settlement amount. He or she may use a formula to arrive at a reasonable value.

Multiplier method

One formula that is commonly used is called the multiplier method. This involves the following:

Take the past and future medical bills times a multiplier plus the total of your economic damages to arrive at the reasonable value of your case.

The multiplier that may be used will be a number ranging from 1.5 and 5. Your attorney will choose the multiplier based on the severity of your injuries. It is common for plaintiffs and insurance companies to have different views on how high or how low of a multiplier to use. Often, the plaintiffs begin with multipliers that are a little high while the insurance companies start with multipliers that are too low.

Per diem method

Your attorney may also use a type of calculation called the per diem method. This involves using a daily dollar amount from the day of the accident until the time that the plaintiff reaches his or her maximal medical improvement. Under this method, the amount chosen is a reasonable amount such as $100 per day. That amount is then multiplied by the number of days between the date of your injury and the date that you reach maximum improvement.

Job description method

The job description method of calculating pain and suffering damages is less commonly used. Under this method, your pain and suffering would be written down in a similar way as a job description. For example, if you were confined to a wheelchair for six months, you would figure out how much an average person would require being paid in order to remain in a wheelchair for that amount of time.

There are many different ways that attorneys and insurance companies calculate pain and suffering damages. However, the court and the jury must agree with the way in which the amount was calculated. In major personal injury cases, focus groups are often used. Your personal injury lawyer may advise you of the calculation method that he or she will use to calculate a reasonable amount in your case.

These are certainly not all the methods attorneys use to value pain and suffering damages but, it gives you some idea of how this is analyzed.

Caveat: Your damages will equal the amount of insurance coverage

In general, your total damages (including pain and suffering) will be limited by the policy limits of the defendant’s insurance policy. If the defendant in your case has a policy limit for bodily injury of $50,000, you will likely be limited to that amount. This is because all insurance companies require a complete release of their insured in exchange for payment of the policy limit. However, there are exceptions such as requiring some personal contribution from the insured or when there are additional insurance policies available. One common example is an “umbrella” policy that may provide additional coverage (usually up to $1 million). California law also provides a method for potentially requiring the insurance company to pay a judgment in excess of their limit if a reasonable policy limit demand was made and rejected by the insurance carrier. (See prior discussion here).

Client Reviews
★★★★★
I have known Steven for some time now and when his services were required he jumped in and took control of my cases. I had two and they were handled with the utmost professionalism and courtesy. He went the extra mile regardless of the bumps in the road. I can not see me using any other attorney and I would recommend him to any of my family and friends. Josie A.
★★★★★
Steven was vital during our most trying time. He was referred by a friend after an accident that involved a family member. While he was critical and lying in the hospital, Steven was kind, patient and knowledgeable about what we were going through. Following our loss, Steven became a tough and aggressive negotiator and made sure that we receive a huge compensation. I would refer Steven in fact, this happened 2 years ago and I still speak highly of his service. Cheryl S.
★★★★★
Mr. Sweat is a pitbull in the courtroom as well as settlement negotiations - You can't have a better equipped attorney in your corner! It is a pleasure working as colleagues together on numerous cases. He can get the job done. Jonathan K.
★★★★★
Because of Steven Sweat, my medical support was taken care of. Plus, I had more money to spare for my other bills. Steven is not only an excellent personal injury lawyer, providing the best legal advice, but also a professional lawyer who goes beyond his call of duty just to help his clients! He stood up for me and helped me get through the process. I would definitely recommend. I couldn't think of any better lawyer than him. MiraJane C.
★★★★★
I must tell anyone, if you need a great attorney, Steve sweat is the guy! I had an awful car accident and had no idea where to turn. He had so much to deal with because my accident was a 4 car pile up. Not to mention all the other cars were behind me and they were not wanting to settle in any way! He never stopped working for me and had my best interest at heart! Audra W.