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How Do Lawyers Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages in a Legal Claim?

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2019 | Catastrophic Injury

When a catastrophic injury strikes, many fail to realize the injury’s physical or mental nature is only the beginning of an individual’s suffering. On top of the injury itself, a victim may endure lost work, medical bills, and limited mobility. Seeking a legal case for pain and suffering damages can help.

Injuries affect all aspects of a person’s life. For instance, the injuries can affect his or her social life and mental status.

Pain and suffering damages can help with this, relieving catastrophic injury victims of some of the pain and stress they have experienced.

But how do we calculate these damages? We’ll tell you everything you need to know.

What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?

In a legal case involving injury due to someone else’s negligence, the victim can seek damages. Typical cases involving negligence are auto accidents and industrial accidents. There are 2 basic types of damages in these cases: economic and non-economic.


Economic damages include verifiable losses. There are many examples, including compensation for the following:

  • Lost work
  • Medical bills
  • Repairs and replacements

These losses are proven through documents, such as paychecks and estimates.


Non-economic damages are a bit more tricky, as they are impossible to quantify through documentation:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental or emotional anguish
  • Loss of companionship

Because these types of grievances cannot be easily measured, courts and attorneys must take different routes to aid in their calculations.

How Are They Calculated?

The way we calculate pain and suffering damages varies with each individual case. There is no “one rule” applied to every scenario. In Texas, total costs are usually found through a multiplier.

An insurance company or your attorney will compile all the economic damages faced. That number is then multiplied by a smaller number (typically between 1 and 5). The smaller number is based on the seriousness of the plaintiff’s condition.


Another method used to compute pain and suffering is the per diem formula, which emphasizes the time spent suffering. Through this method, the amount of daily pain is estimated. Next, the insurance agent or attorney determines a daily compensation amount.

That amount is multiplied by the number of days the plaintiff suffered to find the total cost:


Juries use neither system; however, the numbers calculated by insurance agencies and lawyers create a base sum for negotiations, encouraging parties to settle outside of court.

What Should I Do to Increase Potential Awards?

Increasing the amount of compensation usually requires the following 3 things:

  • Taking into account all economic damages
  • Assessing the injury’s seriousness
  • Considering the time suffered

In many cases, the defense will try to minimize the grievances to make them appear less serious than they are. Consequently, medical documentation is helpful. If the case goes to court, a court physician may also re-evaluate the injury.

The best way to prepare for your case early on is to keep all documents and record daily inconveniences and time frames.

Get the Help You Need

If you were injured in an accident, you deserve compensation. Pain and suffering damages can help alleviate the daily inconveniences and discomfort you face.

Our lawyers want to help you obtain these damages. Contact us today for a free consultation. Let’s get you 1 step closer to relief.