How Pain and Suffering Damages Are Calculated

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A serious accident in Nebraska can affect a victim more than just financially. Severe injuries have significant physical, mental and emotional impacts on victims as well. Scarring, disfigurement and permanent disabilities can cause immense pain and suffering. In Nebraska, the civil justice system permits plaintiffs to seek compensation for intangible pain and suffering damages in addition to economic losses. The value of your pain and suffering damages during an injury claim will depend on how the jury decides to calculate them.

What Is Pain and Suffering?

First, understand what pain and suffering means from a legal standpoint. If a plaintiff seeks compensation for pain and suffering, he or she is asking for restitution from the negligent party for the personal losses he or she suffered because of the accident. Pain and suffering can refer to physical pain, chronic pain, emotional distress or suffering, mental anguish, grief, depression, lost quality or enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, loss of reputation, and humiliation. Any intangible losses you suffered because of a defendant’s negligence could go into the pain and suffering damage category.

How the Courts in Nebraska Calculate Pain and Suffering

It is up to a jury in Nebraska whether to award a plaintiff pain and suffering damages during a personal injury claim. The jury will listen to the testimony and requests of the plaintiff, decide if the victim’s experience warrants a noneconomic damage award, and if so, how much. A jury does not have to follow any rules or calculation methods for making a pain and suffering determination. The jury can grant the amount requested by the plaintiff’s attorney, use a calculation method or come up with a different number on its own. However, many juries choose to use one of two main methods to calculate a fair pain and suffering award.

The Multiplier Method

The Multiplier Method is the most common way to calculate pain and suffering. With this method, a jury takes the plaintiff’s total economic damage award – the amount awarded for medical bills, property damages and other out-of-pocket costs – and multiplies it by a number that matches the severity of the injury. If you received $100,000 in economic damages, for example, and have an injury that is serious enough to earn a multiplier of 4 out of 5, your pain and suffering award with the Multiplier Method would be $400,000.

The Per Diem Method

If your injuries are not as serious and the doctor has given you an estimated date when you will be fully recovered, the jury is more likely to use the Per Diem Method instead. This method assigns a dollar amount to each day that you will foreseeably experience pain and suffering due to your injury. The dollar amount usually coincides with your average daily wage. If you make $80 per day at work, for example, and will experience pain and suffering for the next 180 days, the jury would award you $14,400 using the Per Diem Method.

How a Lawyer Can Help

Seeking pain and suffering damages during a personal injury claim requires proof that the accident or injury inflicted noneconomic damages on you or your family members. Since you cannot prove pain and suffering with bills or receipts, you will have to demonstrate this type of loss through other types of evidence, such as personal testimony or an injury journal. The jury will award pain and suffering damages as the jurors see fit based on how well you prove your losses.

Hiring a personal injury lawyer in Omaha could help you establish pain and suffering damages and fight for maximum compensation for them. Your lawyer can use tools such as medical records, expert witnesses and descriptive storytelling to establish pain and suffering and make a strong case for maximum relief.