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How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Determined?

chest pain.jpgThere are three ways that pain and suffering damages are calculated in a personal injury claim. Typically, the greater the injuries, the greater the amount of compensation an individual can pursue. Pain and suffering include both the physical and emotional trauma that injuries from burns, falls, or automobile accident in Illinois can cause.

Multiplier Method 

This method involves tabulating the individual's medical bills stemming from the car accident and multiplying these by a number from one to five. For example, for minor injuries, the amount would be multiplied by one or two, while more severe injuries would be multiplied by four or five.

Per Diem Method

The per diem method uses a formula determined by the insurance company to determine the impact of the injuries on the individual's daily life. For example, the losses and suffering caused by an arm injury from a slip and fall accident that prohibits the individual from working or performing other daily tasks are assigned a compensation cost. This per diem rate is then multiplied by the total number of days that the individual has lived with the injury.


The estimation method is not as common but can be used in certain cases. This method involves the review of claims that are similar to achieve a fair and just settlement for pain and suffering.

Documenting Pain and Suffering

Documentation is crucial when trying to establish pain and suffering in an automobile accident claim. The more solid the documentation, the better. Documentation can include doctor's notes and medical bills, receipts for prescription medications, and receipts for over-the-counter medications. It should also include any evidence of lost wages such as diminished pay stubs, PTO records, and affidavits from an employer stating how the injury has impacted the individual's ability to work.   

Individuals should also keep a diary/log of their pain and suffering. This log should include information regarding medical appointments and care that was administered, dates and times when the pain has emerged, and any activities that were missed as a result of the injury. Finally, the log should also include any photographic evidence of visible injuries that establish the presence of pain.

Whenever possible, this log should be started on the date the injury occurred. A personal injury attorney often helps individuals prepare their documentation and establish the impact pain and suffering has had on their life and livelihood.   

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