How is pain and suffering calculated?
Some costs that result from accidents are easy to determine. They are called special damages. Hospitals issue bills for medical treatments, auto-body shops tally up the expenses of towing and repairs, and employers can verify one’s lost wages. These special damages can be calculated fairly simply; however, measuring pain and suffering is far mar challenging.
Pain and suffering cost are called general damages. You don’t get a bill for general damages. Deciding what dollar value to put on pain and suffering is not as simple as it used to be.
20 years ago, the calculation of general damages was much easier. For a typical whiplash (soft tissue) case, most insurance company adjusters would use 3X the dollar amount of medical bills to determine pain and suffering. These days insurance companies are using computer programs, round table meetings, and other decisions-making aids to come up with a value for pain and suffering. None of these methods use the “multiply by 3” way of determining value. Insurance companies and juries use evidence to decide upon a value for pain and suffering. They consider how your injuries have impacted you in the past and present, and how they will impact you into the future.