How Pain and Suffering Damages Are Calculated By Insurance Companies

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Personal Injury Published on June 11, 2020 and updated on March 6, 2022.

shoulder injuryAside from pursuing compensation for medical bills and loss of wages, a personal injury victim may also be compensated for the pain and suffering he or she has endured following an accident. These kinds of damages, however, are subjective with no monetary value, making them harder to calculate.

An experienced lawyer could help you recognize how to determine the potential value of your pain and suffering so that you have an opportunity at recovering full compensation. Our Maryland personal injury lawyers discuss several factors that insurance companies use to calculate these damages. We are here to evaluate your claim and assess your potential legal options in a free consultation.

Damages for Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering is both physical and mental. Physical pain and suffering reflects the victim’s actual physical injuries he or she has experienced. Mental pain and suffering reflects the mental and emotional impact the victim has experienced because of his or her physical injuries.

Examples of these damages could include:

  • Physical pain, temporary or permanent
  • Discomfort
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory loss
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Shock
  • Humiliation
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Emotional disorders
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Damages for pain and suffering includes any type of negative emotions that you have endured and will likely continue to endure in the future. Since every individual experiences pain and suffering in a different way, the value of these damages is calculated on an individual basis.

In Maryland, there is a cap or limit on the amount of non-economic (or pain and suffering) damages an accident victim can be awarded in a personal injury case. These caps change each year to reflect the rate of inflation.

Be Able to Prove Pain and Suffering

Because pain and suffering damages are more difficult to quantify, there is certain information and documentation to gather that could help support your claim to recover maximum compensation.

If you sought medical care, this could help establish the extent of your injury and the treatment you have received to aid in your recovery. Your medical records could not only show any surgeries, diagnostic and imaging tests you have received, but any medications prescribed or therapy sessions that provide proof of the physical pain and emotional trauma you have suffered.

Additional evidence to show how your injury has negatively impacted your life is by taking pictures of your injury at the time of your accident and throughout the healing process. Keeping a personal injury journal and documenting your pain and suffering on a daily basis could also be impactful. Close loved ones may even offer an important perspective on how the accident has impacted you.

Determining the Value of Pain and Suffering

There are no set rules that insurance companies use to calculate the value of pain and suffering in personal injury cases. The only interest they have is making sure to pay out as little as possible in claims to save money. In turn, insurers will do whatever it takes to minimize pain and suffering damages.

A method often used by insurance companies to determine these damages is to multiply a number between one and five by the damages the injury victim has suffered. There are several factors that impact whether or not an insurer uses a lower or higher multiplier, such as:

  • The victim’s likeability and credibility
  • The consistency of the victim’s testimony
  • If the victim is exaggerating his or her pain and suffering
  • If the victim’s doctor(s) support his or her claims
  • The existence of a criminal record

Another method to determine the value of pain and suffering is to provide a rate for this pain and trauma and then multiply it by the number of days the injury victim experienced physical pain or other forms of suffering.

Learn More in a Free Legal Consultation

If you have been injured in an accident, we encourage that you consult with an experienced lawyer. Our legal team at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl have many years representing individuals injured or wronged by another’s negligent actions. We are here to help fight for your rights every step of the way.

An initial meeting with us is complimentary with no obligation to have us represent you. Should you have a valid claim and decide to move forward, we charge no fees unless you obtain compensation.

Give us a call at 410-244-7005 to set up your free case review.