How Pain and Suffering is Calculated in Washington State Personal Injury Cases
In a personal injury case, pain and suffering is the legal term for the part of the settlement that compensates the victim for the physical and emotional distress caused by an injury. Some examples of pain and suffering damages include depression, loss of enjoyment of life, limitations on activity and chronic pain.
One of the many advantages of hiring a personal injury attorney to help with a personal injury claim is their help calculating a dollar value for your pain and suffering. The injury lawyer factors in a settlement range that is most likely to be offered in negotiations or in a jury award. This information gives the plaintiff a good idea of what compensation they can expect for their pain and suffering from a reasonable offer.
If you have a personal injury claim, you may be wondering how damages for pain and suffering are calculated in Washington State. The short answer is that there is no legal requirement to calculate these damages in a particular way. In practice, however, juries often use guidelines and general conditions to come up with a number.
How is pain and suffering calculated in Washington State personal injury cases?
The multiplier method is one of the most common ways of calculating pain and suffering. This method calculates pain and suffering by looking at the medical expenses incurred for treating the injuries caused by the accident and multiplying it by a factor, often ranging from three to seven. For example, if medical expenses were $15,000 and the jury decided to use a factor of five, then the pain and suffering portion of the award would be equal to $75,000.
A jury will often take into account the severity of the damages rather than or in addition to using the multiplier method to calculate pain and suffering. Just because one injury costs the same amount to treat as another, doesn’t mean that they cause equal distress. Specifically, they will attempt to answer the question about the effect the injuries are having and will continue to have on the plaintiff. For example, burns covering the face, arms and torso will be significantly more distressing than burns covering the right leg and foot because they will be impossible to hide.
How is pain and suffering proved?
No settlement will be granted unless it can be proved that pain and suffering occurred as a direct result of the accident caused by the negligence of the defendant. Personal injury lawyers build a case by gathering all relevant information, including medical transcripts. They also interview witnesses and hire expert witnesses as needed to prove their client’s case. The information gathered is used to negotiate a fair settlement. If a fair settlement is not offered, then the attorney will represent you at trial where a jury will determine liability and damages.
Seek the help of a personal injury attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!