If you sustained serious injuries through no fault of your own, the non-economic damages you incur—like emotional distress, loss of enjoyment in life, and pain and suffering—will undoubtedly be every bit as real as your monetary losses. Since intangible losses aren’t accompanied by receipts or invoices, though, proving their extent will pose a challenge.
Thankfully, there are two widely accepted approaches for quantifying non-economic damages in personal injury claims. Let’s take a look at each below:
The Per Diem Method
Per diem is a Latin term that essentially means “for each day.” To apply this method, your legal team will assign your daily pain and suffering a dollar value. This figure should be fairly reasonable and must correspond to the extent of your injuries.
For example, let’s say you sustained a few broken ribs, but you’re expected to make a full recovery. Your personal injury attorney might recommend using $250 as the per diem rate. It takes about six weeks for broken ribs to heal, so you would then multiply $250 by 42 days, to arrive at a figure of $10,500.
Naturally, more severe injuries will warrant a higher daily rate. It will also take much longer for you to reach maximum medical improvement if you sustained catastrophic injuries, so you’ll have to multiply that daily rate by a considerably higher number.
The Multiplier Method
To apply the multiplier method, your legal team will total all your actual damages—medical bills, lost wages, and the like—and multiply by a number that generally ranges from 1.5 to 5. The more severe your injuries and the longer your anticipated recovery, the higher the multiplier.
If you incurred $15,000 in actual damages, for example, but you’re expected to make a full recovery within a matter of weeks, your legal team might justify using a multiplier of 1.5. You would then multiply $15,000 by 1.5 to arrive at a figure of $22,500 for pain and suffering.
It’s important to note that even if you use one of these widely accepted methods—and you apply reasonable variables when you do—the opposing party isn’t obligated to accept the result at face value. Both methods merely provide a starting point for the negotiations.
As long as you present sufficient evidence of liability, though, and keep a detailed personal injury journal in which you track your recovery diligently, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to recover a fair figure for your pain and suffering.
Discuss Your Claim with a Personal Injury Attorney in St. Petersburg
If you want to hold reckless or negligent parties financially accountable for your injuries, contact Emerson Straw. We will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident in which you were hurt to help you determine the most strategic way to proceed.
Our resourceful team has more than 70 years of combined experience in the legal field. Call (727) 821-1500 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in St. Petersburg.