How Is “Pain and Suffering” Calculated in N.C.?

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After being involved in an accident, you may suffer more than physical injuries. The injuries cost you economically and non-economically. When pursuing compensation, you can sue for both economic and non-economic damages. While economic damages are straightforward to determine, it takes much more work to calculate non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

An experienced lawyer from our North Carolina personal injury law firm can look into your case and help you determine how much you should receive in compensation for your pain and suffering. The court system has a way of figuring out how much your pain and suffering are worth to compensate you for the loss of comfort you must endure after an accident.

What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?

Economic damages like medical bills and lost wages don’t tell the whole story about the impact of the catastrophic injuries you sustain in a collision, crash, or slip-and-fall accident on your life. It’s challenging to summarize most consequences in a medical bill or an off-work note.

The pain and suffering that many people experience after an accident, in addition to the physical injuries, include:

  • Distress 
  • Mental and emotional anguish 
  • Anxiety 
  • Anger 
  • Physical discomfort 
  • Mood swings and sleep disturbances 
  • Loss of enjoyment of life 
  • Headaches and nerve damage 
  • Loss of consortium 

Pain and suffering are general damages that don’t have a price tag. They account for the intangible harm you experience and endure after an accident. Applying a monetary figure to the damages can be complex, so it’s advisable to hire a skilled personal injury attorney in Charlotte to help you calculate an amount that reflects your pain and suffering. 

What Factors Do Courts Consider in Calculating Pain and Suffering?

Juries in North Carolina rely on the following when calculating damages for pain and suffering in personal injury cases:

  • The severity of the injuries: Pain and suffering damages are calculated based on the severity of the injuries. The more severe the injuries, the higher the compensation amount is likely to be. 
  • The extent of damage to your daily life: If the accident leaves you with a disability, lowers your mobility, or reduces your capability to take care of yourself or your family, the injuries can be considered severe. Such can earn you more significant compensation than if you fully recover from the injuries. 
  • Type of medical treatment you receive: The treatment you receive can help your lawyer calculate the compensation amount you deserve. Treatment falls into diagnostic and therapeutic treatments. The duration and recovery process can help your lawyer determine an estimated settlement amount for your pain and suffering. 
  • Mental distress resulting from the injuries: Any accident can create anxiety and several significant mental health issues. 

What Are the Methods for Calculating Pain and Suffering?

Insurance companies in NC use two methods to calculate compensation amounts for pain and suffering. The methods are as follows:

Multiplier Method

The multiplier method entails summing up all economic damages and multiplying them by a multiplier that falls between 1.5 and 5. The number represents the seriousness of the non-economic injuries; the more serious the damages, the bigger the multiplier. 

To determine the right multiplier, the following factors must be taken into account:

  • In a car accident, the fault of the other driver must be apparent 
  • The time it takes to recover from the injuries 
  • The seriousness of the injuries, for example, permanent disability 
  • A report written by an expert showing proof of pain and suffering 

Once the multiplier is determined, the following formula applies: (Current and future medical bills) x (multiplier) + sum of economic damages = compensation value. Working with a skilled personal injury attorney in Charlotte is the most reliable way to ensure the most appropriate multiplier is used in your case. 

The Per Diem Method

If you have fully recovered from the injuries or are expected to recover, the per diem method may apply in calculating the compensation for your pain and suffering. The formula entails multiplying a specific amount by the number of days you suffered from the injuries.

For example, your Charlotte personal injury lawyer may determine that your pain and suffering cost you $200 daily during your recovery period. If your recovery took two months, that would mean that you’d expect to receive approximately $1,200 in pain and suffering damages.

Are There Limits on Pain and Suffering Damages?

North Carolina courts limit the amount recoverable in pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases to keep awards in control. Lawmakers fear sympathetic juries may abuse the subjective dollar amount on pain and suffering by offering extremely high settlement amounts.

However, these limits may not always reflect the compensation amount victims deserve in a personal injury case. That’s why it helps to have an experienced Charlotte personal injury lawyer fight for you to get the maximum settlement you deserve.

How Can I Prove Pain and Suffering?

Proving pain and suffering in a personal injury case can be complex if you don’t have any evidence, but specific steps can help your case:

  • Keep a journal or log of how the injuries hinder your daily activities. Capture the events or activities you missed because of the pain and suffering
  • Honor your doctor visits and keep a record of the pain medications prescribed. Let your doctor know everything about the pain. The report is crucial in helping you file a claim.
  • For any emotional or psychological issues, ensure you visit a psychiatrist and talk in detail about what you’re going through for professional support.
  • Keep a list of the pain medication you use throughout your recovery.

Fight for the Maximum Compensation in North Carolina with Strategic Legal Aid

Calculating pain and suffering in a personal injury case can be complex because non-economic damages can be hard to quantify. In a situation where you had some liability for the injuries or accident, you may not recover anything for your pain and suffering. That’s why you should enlist the help of a qualified Charlotte personal injury law firm to represent you in your case.

A qualified personal injury lawyer at our law firm can help you. We understand the law and have the skills to navigate the complex principles around the intricate formulas of calculating compensation amounts for pain and suffering. We can help you recover the total settlement amount you deserve. Contact us to schedule a FREE case assessment.

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