Calculating damages for medical bills and lost wages is a relatively simple process, as there is a clear dollar figure the injured party lost in each area. But how do courts calculate pain and suffering damages, among other types of “noneconomic” damages?
There are two primary methods: the multiplier method and the “per diem” method.
In the multiplier method, the court will multiply the known out-of-pocket expenses incurred for lost wages and medical bills by an arbitrary multiplier number, usually somewhere between 1.5 and 4. Most stages and courts have their own multipliers set for specific types of cases and circumstances that arise within those cases.
Say, for example, you suffer a back injury in a car accident, and incurred total costs of $8,000 between lost wages and medical bills. If your court uses a 3x multiplier, you’d be eligible for up to $24,000 in damages.
The multiplier used depends on the existence of aggravating circumstances in the accident, the seriousness of your injuries, the length of your recovery and whether you were able to recover completely from the injuries you suffered.
‘Per diem’ method
Another method of determining the value of your settlement is to determine the “per diem” (per day) value of your pain and suffering, then add that value to your existing economic damages. We’ll use the same example here--$8,000 of incurred expenses for medical bills and lost wages. If you received ongoing treatment for an additional three months and continued to have soreness and stiffness for another two months, but were fine after that, you’d use the per diem method to calculate the value of your settlement, assigning an amount to each day.
For more information on the methods courts use to determine settlement figures that include pain and suffering damages, meet with an experienced Sarasota personal injury attorney at Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh.