How Do Personal Injury Attorneys Calculate Pain and Suffering?

June 25, 2020
How Do Personal Injury Attorneys Calculate Pain and Suffering?

If you were hurt because another party failed to act with reasonable care, you may be entitled to compensation for the resulting damages. In South Carolina, personal injury claimants may seek funds for economic damages like medical bills as well as non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

When totaling your economic damages, your legal team will refer to relevant bills, receipts, and invoices. Determining the value of your non-economic damages, however, can pose a challenge because it is difficult to objectively track them. Because every case is different, there’s no standard formula or fixed rule for measuring pain and suffering.

Instead, jurors are instructed to consider:

  • The nature and severity of the injuries;
  • The plaintiff’s age, health, and overall quality of life prior to getting hurt;
  • The plaintiff’s need for pain relievers and the side effects he or she experiences as a result; and
  • The extent to which any pre-existing conditions were aggravated by the incident in question.

South Carolina law prohibits “Golden Rule” arguments or asking the jury to place themselves in the place of the injured party.  As such, lawyers must make different arguments to help juries understand the non-economic damages an injured Plaintiff has suffered.  There are two widely accepted methods that personal injury attorneys use to help juries quantify the above elements. The first is known as the multiplier method.

To apply this method, your lawyer may total your actual damages, which might include medical bills, lost wages, and property repairs, and then multiply the figure by a factor of between 1.5 and 5. More severe injuries may warrant a higher multiplier.

If you incurred bruises, lacerations, and a few broken bones but doctors expect you to make a full recovery within a few months, you might use a multiplier of 2. If, on the other hand, you sustained a catastrophic injury that caused permanent problems like brain damage or paralysis, your legal team may be able to justify a multiplier of 5 or higher.  The conduct of the at-fault party also plays a significant role in this evaluation.

Another method for calculating pain and suffering is known as the per diem method. If your attorney wishes to use this method, he or she will start by assigning a dollar value to your daily pain and suffering.

This figure should be relatively reasonable, like a full day’s wages or $250. Once you reach maximum medical improvement, your lawyer may multiply this figure by the number of days you spent recovering. If your injuries inhibited your everyday life for six months, for example, and their severity warranted a daily figure of $150, you would multiply 180 days by $150, to arrive at $27,000 for pain and suffering.

It’s important to remember that just because your legal team uses a widely accepted method to calculate your pain and suffering doesn’t mean you’re automatically entitled to the figure that results.  There is no magic formula.  At the end of the day, the outcome of your claim will depend on a variety of factors, including the strength of the evidence you present, the total available insurance coverage, and the opposing party’s willingness to cooperate.  Ultimately, the jury will decide the fair compensation in the case and may choose to accept or not accept any of the above methods, however it is extremely important to hire an attorney that has experience in presenting claims to a jury.

Discuss Your Claim with a Personal Injury Lawyer in South Carolina


At Hodge & Langley Law Firm, we are dedicated to getting our clients the results they deserve. If you were seriously hurt through no fault of your own, we will help you gather evidence to prove liability and damages against all responsible parties. Call 864-585-3873 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury attorney in South Carolina.



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