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What Is Pain and Suffering in a San Diego Personal Injury Case?

Posted in Personal Injury on March 19, 2020

A successful personal injury case can end in financial compensation to make up for the victim’s damages. Damages is a broad term that can refer to any financial, physical and emotional harm the victim suffered. This includes physical pain and emotional suffering. While not all civil cases will result in pain and suffering damages, it is a possibility for most in California. Speak to a lawyer about this type of damage award in your case to calculate an accurate claim value.

Types of Pain and Suffering Damages in San Diego

Pain and suffering is a compensable damage category in California. It is an umbrella phrase a lawyer or insurance company might use to refer to many specific types of noneconomic damages. Another phrase for pain and suffering is general damages. More serious personal injuries and disabilities will usually result in higher pain and suffering awards. Catastrophic injuries or the permanent loss of a bodily function, for instance, could be worth a lot in long-term noneconomic damages. Pain and suffering can refer to many nonmonetary losses related to your accident.

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Chronic pain or discomfort
  • Embarrassment or humiliation
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Psychological trauma
  • Loss of consortium
  • Diminished quality or enjoyment of life
  • Grief or bereavement

Noneconomic or general damages are the opposite of economic and specific damages. General damages are those any victim might reasonably experience in the same type of accident. They can include physical and nonphysical feelings or emotions. Specific damages are the actual (usually monetary) damages an individual victim incurred. Both are important types of compensable damages during a personal injury lawsuit. It can be difficult to estimate an accurate value for your claim. Work with a lawyer to demand fair recompense for both types of damages.

How Is Pain and Suffering Evaluated in San Diego?

Pain and suffering is not an economic damage award. You will not have financial documents, bills or receipts to help you calculate its value. The courts will instead use unique equations to calculate pain and suffering compensation. The most popular is the multiplier method. This equation takes your total amount of economic damages – including lost income, property damages and medical expenses – and multiplies it by a number that is suitable based on the severity of your injury. Most multipliers are between 1.5 and 5. Using the multiplier method, a jury might award you $300,000 in pain and suffering damages if your economic damages equal around $100,000 and your injury is severe enough to earn a multiplier of 3, for example.

Another common equation is the per diem method. The per diem calculation looks at the number of days you will foreseeably experience pain and suffering due to your injury, then multiplies this by an amount assigned per day (usually the equivalent of your average daily wage). If you make $100 per day on average at your job and will recover from your injury in an estimated 50 days, your pain and suffering value could be around $5,000 using the per diem method.

It is typically up to a jury whether or not award pain and suffering damages at the conclusion of a personal injury claim. The jury will review the facts and evidence presented to determine if the plaintiff has succeeded in proving the defendant’s fault to be more likely true than not true. If so, the jury can use one of the available pain and suffering calculation equations or come up with an appropriate award amount without using an equation.

The multiplier method is more common in cases involving permanent injuries, while the per diem method might be more appropriate for temporary injuries. The skill of your attorney could improve your chances of obtaining a fair award. An expert San Diego & East County personal injury lawyer or a La Mesa Personal Injury Lawyer can help you prove pain and suffering damages using evidence such as expert opinions and testimony from your friends and family members.

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