How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?

South Carolina personal injury laws allow injured victims to seek compensation for damages. Suppose you have been injured because of a slip and fall accident, car accident, medical malpractice, defective product, or other incident. In that case, you can file a claim to recover compensation for your damages. 

Economic damages represent the financial losses incurred because of an accident or injury. Pain and suffering damages are the non-economic damages the person experiences because of another party’s negligence or intentional torts.

What Are Pain and Suffering Damages in a Rock Hill Personal Injury Case?

Damages are the remedy the court can provide when another party causes you harm or injury. The courts cannot undo the injury or pain you suffered, but they can hold the responsible party financially liable.

Pain and suffering damages represent the intangible harm caused by an accident or injury. Intangible harm includes the discomfort, distress, agony, and anguish you experience. These losses are known as non-economic damages.

Examples of non-economic damages in a personal injury case include:

  • Mental anguish, emotional distress, and psychological harm, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, embarrassment, and inconvenience 
  • Physical pain and suffering caused by injuries, such as spinal cord injury, neck injuries, soft tissue injuries, broken bones, and brain injuries
  • Scarring and disfigurement, including the loss of limbs, amputations, and severe burns
  • Long-term disabling conditions and impairments, including paralysis, brain damage, chronic pain, and loss of bodily functions
  • Diminished quality of life and loss of enjoyment of life 

Because pain and suffering damages are subjective, proving these damages can be challenging. Taking pictures of your injuries and recording your struggles during your recovery in a journal can help demonstrate the amount of suffering and pain you experienced.

Factors That Impact the Value of Your Pain and Suffering Damages 

There is no standard for measuring how much a person suffers because of an accident or personal injury. Instead, we must look at the factors of the case. Factors that impact the value of pain and suffering damages include, but are not limited to:

  • The injuries you sustain 
  • The duration of your recovery period
  • The type of medical treatment you receive
  • Whether you suffer from a disability or permanent impairment
  • Your appearance before and after the injury (i.e., disfigurement and scarring)
  • Whether you can return to work or earn any income
  • The parties involved in your case
  • The strength of the evidence proving negligence and liability
  • How your injuries impact your personal relationships and daily activities
  • Whether you could be partially at fault for the cause of your injury (i.e., contributory fault)
  • The availability and policy limits of liability insurance coverage

Experienced Rock Hill personal injury lawyers analyze each factor in your case to determine how it impacts the value of your personal injury claim. Our lawyers work to minimize factors that could hurt your case while maximizing the other factors to increase how much money you receive for a personal injury claim.

You have the burden of proving the elements of a personal injury claim before you can recover compensation for damages. Most personal injury cases are based on negligence. 

Negligence is failing to act with reasonable care in a given situation. The standard of care can vary depending on the situation. An attorney can gather evidence proving negligence to help you obtain a fair settlement for your damages. 

Calculating the Value of Pain and Suffering Damages in a South Carolina Personal Injury Claim 

South Carolina does not have a standard method or formula for calculating how much pain and suffering damages are worth. There is no pain and suffering calculator you can use. However, there is a standard method that many parties use to calculate the value of non-economic damages – the multiplier method.

The multiplier method uses the total of your economic damages (financial losses) to determine how much your pain and suffering damages are worth. You multiply your economic damages by a number between 1.5 and five to obtain the value for your non-economic damages. Economic damages include medical bills, property damages, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and more.

The multiplier is based on the facts and circumstances of your case. We use factors like those discussed above to determine the multiplier. Generally, the multiplier increases as the severity of your injuries, pain, and suffering increases.

For example, the multiplier for a case involving an amputation or complete paralysis might be 4.5 or five. However, the multiplier for a case involving a broken bone that heals within a few months with no impairments might be between two and three.

Some parties use a per diem to calculate non-economic damages. A per diem is a daily figure multiplied by the number of days between your injury date and the date your doctor releases you from treatment. The per diem is also based on the factors we discussed above. 

Insurance companies minimize pain and suffering damages. They argue for a low multiplier or per diem to avoid paying a large claim. Experienced personal injury lawyers understand insurance company tactics and how to use the evidence in your case to argue for a higher value for non-economic damages.

What Is the Deadline for Filing a Claim for Pain and Suffering Damages in South Carolina?

Your personal injury case includes your pain and suffering damages claim. Therefore, the statute of limitations for pain and suffering damages is the same as the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Most personal injury lawsuits have a three-year statute of limitations in South Carolina. That means if you do not file your lawsuit before three years from the accident or injury date, you lose your right to pursue a case in court. The court can dismiss your case if you miss the filing deadline, even if you have a valid claim.

However, the facts and circumstances of your case could change the filing deadline for a personal injury lawsuit. Some exceptions to the statute of limitations could shorten the time to file. Therefore, it is always best to seek legal advice from an experienced Rock Hill personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an injury or accident. 

Call Us for a Free Consultation With Our Rock Hill Personal Injury Lawyers

You deserve to be compensated for all damages, including the pain and suffering you experienced because of another party’s actions. Elrod Pope Accident & Injury Attorneys is here to help. Our Rock Hill personal injury attorneys fight to get you the money you deserve. Contact our law firm by calling (803) 324-7574 to schedule a free case evaluation with an attorney.