How Do You Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages After a Personal Injury Accident?

By Greg Kohn

Being injured in an accident can cause great pain and suffering. Even minor injuries can result in physical pain, mental anguish, and emotional suffering. Placing a value on your pain and suffering after an accident can be impossible. How much money is your pain and suffering worth? Is there any amount that will erase the trauma you have endured because of another person’s negligence? If you have been injured, turn to an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney for help.

You Deserve to Be Compensated for Your Pain and Suffering Damages

Pain and suffering damages are considered noneconomic damages. The damages cannot be measured in financial terms. There is not a bill or invoice to prove the value of your pain and suffering damages. Therefore, personal injury attorneys must use the evidence of the case to calculate pain and suffering damages. The process can be complicated. 

The insurance adjuster may tell you that the “standard” calculation for pain and suffering is a multiple of your financial damages. While financial damages are a factor, the financial damages are not the only factor used when calculating pain and suffering damages. Determining the value of pain and suffering damages is not as simple as multiplying the financial losses by a certain number.

New Jersey’s personal injury laws do not provide an equation for calculating noneconomic damages in a personal injury case. However, there are several factors that we consider when valuing noneconomic damages:

  • The type and severity of the injuries. Traumatic and catastrophic injuries typically equal higher amounts for pain and suffering.
  • Whether you sustained a permanent impairment or disability?
  • The amount of financial damages and losses incurred because of the injury.
  • Whether you sustained scarring or disfigurement.
  • The length of your recovery.

There could be other factors to consider, given the specific circumstances of your case. 

What Damages Are Included in Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering damages typically cover a wide range of damages caused by the accident and injury. In general, noneconomic damages may include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress, including PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other emotional disorders
  • Mental anguish and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life or quality of life
  • Physical impairment, disability, scarring, and disfigurement

Demonstrating the level of your suffering after an accident and how your injuries impacted your life can help maximize the value of your damages. Keeping a pain and suffering journal is often a good way to help your attorney to determine the value of your claim.

In your pain and suffering journal, you can note your daily pain level, activities you cannot perform, and your emotional state. You can also make notes about activities and events that you miss because of your injuries, such as weddings, birthday parties, holidays, and family vacations. It is also a good idea to note how your injuries impacted your relationship with your family and friends. For instance, you and your spouse cannot be intimate, you cannot care for your children, and you are unable to socialize with friends. The more information you can provide your attorney, the better your attorney can prepare a narrative to support a claim for pain and suffering damages.

Contact a New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney

Do you have questions about a personal injury claim? Before dealing with the insurance company or accepting a settlement offer, schedule a consultation with our New Jersey car accident lawyers today to discuss your case.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.