How To Calculate Pain and Suffering in a Lawsuit

One of the best things about Southwest Florida is the amount of good days there are through the year to be on the beach or, better yet, on the ocean! Many families take advantage of the weather to go boating, sailing, and have some fun on jet skis. Unfortunately, this fun can sometimes turn tragic.

For example, one family was enjoying a day out on the water when someone going far too fast on a jet ski lost control and hit the family’s boat. Thankfully, rescue came quickly, but there were serious injuries caused by the jet skier’s lack of judgement.

Apart from some bruises, the children were fine, but the two adults on board suffered significant injuries. The woman hit her head on the side of the boat when she fell from the impact of the jet ski and had a serious concussion. The man driving the boat was jerked forward and broke his wrist and multiple bones in his hand.

Personal Injury Lawsuit

In a situation like this one, there is usually insurance to deal with expenses related to the injuries of the people who were hurt. Hopefully, the jet skier had insurance. Both the man and the woman had extensive medical bills, not to mention lost time at work.

These calculations are simple to make for the purposes of a lawsuit. However, there is almost always more to personal injury as a result of someone else’s recklessness than just monetary suffering. Their children were traumatized and they were both left unable to partake in their normal daily activities for a significant amount of time. How do they calculate pain and suffering?

What is pain and suffering?

The definition of pain and suffering according to Legal Dictionary is as follows: “The physical and mental distress suffered from an injury, including actual broken bones and internal ruptures, but also the aches, pain, temporary and permanent limitations on activity, potential shortening of life, depression, and embarrassment from scarring, all of which are part of the ‘general damages’ recoverable by someone injured by another’s negligence or intentional attack. The dollar value of damages for pain and suffering is subjective, as distinguished from medical bills, future medicals, and lost wages which can be calculated, called ‘special damages.’”

Even the definition leaves room for questions. What limitations on activity are considered a part of pain and suffering? The best way to answer what your pain and suffering has been outside of lost work and medical bills is to log your daily activity. Every time something is impacted by your injury— jot that down.

  • Not able to do household chores like cleaning, cooking, or yard work
  • Not able to take care of children’s needs
  • Not able to play with children as you did before the injury
  • Not able to participate in recreational activities like bicycling, gardening, or other hobbies
  • Experiencing depression or change in attitude and mood as a result of injury
  • Experiencing a change in intimacy with spouse as a result of injury
  • Missing out on family activities or holidays because of injury

Calculation of monetary value of pain and suffering

Pain and suffering does not have a normal calculation or formula that can be followed. However, there are potential ways to handle the calculation of pain and suffering that are based on a scale of 1.5-5. This method is not something a jury would use if your case had to go to a trial, but it can still be a helpful way to make an educated guess as to the pain and suffering that could be awarded. Through this method, all of the expenses you suffered already having a monetary value attached to them— medical expenses, physical therapy, lost wages due to missed work, etc— can be multiplied by a factor of 1.5-5 depending on the severity of your pain and suffering.

For instance, the family in the boating accident might have had $25,000 worth of medical expenses, $10,000 worth of lost wages, and $5,000 worth of therapy. That would be a total of $40,000. However, if their children needed ongoing therapy because of trauma, if the wife’s concussion affected her mental state, or if the husband could no longer coach his children’s little league because of his hand injury, all of these things would be considered as factors in calculating pain and suffering. They might then multiply their total of $40,000 by 3, and their lawsuit settlement would then be $120,000 combined.

If you have suffered a personal injury, you need a good attorney on your side. At Lusk, Drasites, & Tolisano, we have the experienced team you’re seeking. Since 1982, we have been serving South Florida’s personal injury lawsuit needs. Don’t waste any time after an accident, and contact us to help you get what you deserve for your personal injury.


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