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What Is a Reasonable Settlement for Pain and Suffering?

Legally reviewed by: Miriam Domer December 15, 2023
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Short answer: What’s considered a reasonable settlement amount for a pain and suffering case will vary depending on your unique case. For example, factors that can impact your settlement amount include the severity and type of injuries, lost current or future income, and whether you will experience long-lasting effects.

Your settlement amount may also be impacted by the insurance policy the claim is filed under. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to ensure you receive the most compensation for your pain and suffering.

Reach out to LegalFinders today to get connected to a top-quality personal injury lawyer in your area.

An angry and frustrated young woman with a smartphone beside the damaged car after a car accident

What Is a Fair Pain and Injury Settlement Amount?

There is no set legal amount that you can sue for or expect to come out of a pain and injury settlement.

Most personal injury cases and their settlements are greatly impacted by insurance policy limits. This is because some states put a cap on how much you can win in terms of pain and suffering damages.

However, it’s important to be aware of the factors that can help make a settlement as fair as possible.

Some of these factors include:

  • The settlement reflects the pain, suffering, and emotional distress experienced.
  • The settlement incorporates non-economic damages related to your pain and suffering.
  • The insurance company does not try to lowball your damages and offers fair compensation suitable to what you’ve experienced.
  • Pain and suffering are not dismissed due to lack of dollar amount.

Your personal injury lawyer can help you better understand what makes a fair settlement and what you can do to increase your chances of one.

Factors in Pain and Suffering Injury Claims

There are several factors that can impact the outcome of a pain and suffering injury claim.

Some of the most important factors are the severity of the car accident and the severity of the physical injuries and physical pain caused by it.

Another important factor is whether long-term effects will be felt, including loss of enjoyment of life, emotional pain, or impacts on mental health.

For example, if you were a professional ball player and your shoulder was permanently injured due to the auto accident, this could affect your livelihood, career, and wellbeing.

How Do Courts Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages?

There are a few common methods used to determine the dollar value of pain and suffering damages in personal injury law. These methods are as follows.

The Multiplier Method

This method is frequently used by courts. With this method, the economic damages associated with the pain and suffering claim are added together and multiplied by a number between 1.5 and 5.

Examples of economic damages in pain and suffering cases include:

  • Medical bills
  • Property damage
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Loss of current and future wages
  • Any other damage that that can be assigned an amount of money

The exact number the damages are multiplied by is typically determined by the types of damages and severity of the injuries and their impact on the victim.

The Per Diem Method

For the per diem method, the courts assign a dollar value to every day that a victim experiences pain and suffering as a result of the accident injury. In most cases, the payment is largely dependent on how much the accident victim earns in the workplace.

About Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury Claims

Pain and suffering in legal terms indicates a type of non-economic, or non-dollar amount, damage that is experienced as a result of injuries incurred in an accident.

There is no specific bodily injury that must be experienced to claim pain and suffering. It is often based on how the injury has impacted the injury victim’s quality of life.

Because of this, there is no set amount of money that can be realistically assigned to pain and suffering. This is different from other types of accident claims, as damages like medical expenses and property damage can be given a dollar value.

People often claim pain and suffering in injury cases and lawsuits to seek legal atonement for the harm they’ve endured. This is the only type of case in which this damage can be claimed, as other types, such as business lawsuits, do not involve injuries.

Is Pain and Suffering the Same as Emotional Damage?

Emotional suffering is a type of pain and suffering damage that can be claimed. It refers to emotional or psychological harm experienced by the injured person.

Examples of emotional damage may include:

  • Emotional trauma
  • Mental anguish
  • Mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder

When claiming emotional damage, you will need to provide evidence related to how you or your loved one experienced it.

What Counts as Pain and Suffering?

There are several conditions that can be considered pain and suffering, and everyone will experience pain and suffering differently.

Examples of what may count as pain and suffering in a personal injury lawsuit or claim:

  • Mental anguish, such as mental pain and suffering as a result of the serious injury
  • Shock that causes emotional distress following the accident
  • Physical discomfort caused by injuries, such as a painful neck as a result of whiplash
  • Long-term emotional despair as a result of more severe injuries like disfigurement
  • Mental suffering, including mental health conditions that arise as a result of the accident
  • Loss of consortium, or quality of life
  • Strong emotions that last for a period of time, such as embarrassment, anger, terror, or grief

What Types of Claims Can List Pain and Suffering Damages?

Any type of claim that involves an accident that resulted in an injury due to another party’s negligence can include pain and suffering damages.

Examples of types of claims that may have pain and suffering damages listed:

If you’re unsure if your claim qualifies for pain and suffering damages, it’s a good idea to seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer. They can help you determine how pain and suffering may play a role in your case.

Why Is Proving Pain and Suffering Important to Your Case?

Whereas bodily injuries or psychological injuries may have evidence such as medical records to support them, pain and suffering often does not. For example, there isn’t a readily available way to prove withdrawal from family members as a result of the accident.

However, an experienced attorney can help you find ways to prove pain and suffering to support a far personal injury settlement.

Examples of evidence may include:

  • Personal statements
  • Statements from friends and family
  • Proof of any treatment sought related to pain and suffering experienced, such as therapy appointments
  • An explanation of how your pain and suffering was caused by the accident
  • Medical expert testimony

Find Legal Help for a Pain and Suffering Settlement

Winning a fair settlement offer in a pain and suffering case can be difficult with proper legal representation. There are many insurance adjusters out there who will work hard to undermine the value of your pain and suffering and lowball your rightful payout.

Working with an experienced and dedicated law firm can help protect you from these injustices and help you build the strongest case possible.

LegalFinders would be happy to connect you with an appropriate lawyer in your area today who can provide you with a free case evaluation and support you on every step of this journey.