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How Are Non-Economic Personal Injury Damages Figured?

Dolores Rice

Many Americans who are injured due to the negligence of another party have to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to be compensated properly. And while the amount of damages to reimburse you for medical and other costs can be relatively easy to figure, damages for pain and suffering are harder. 

How is a price tag put on your pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional stress, and other non-financial elements? There are two primary methods. Here's what you need to know about both. 

The Per Diem Method

The simplest method is known as the per diem method. Per diem, or per day, bases its calculation on the number of days you are considered to experience pain and suffering. If you need a year to fully recover from an injury, 365 would be multiplied by a daily rate. So $100 per day would translate to $36,500 for pain and suffering. 

This amount is separate regardless of the amount of financial damages calculated. So its results could vary widely. 

The Multiplier Method

A second calculation is based on how much economic damage you have received. That amount is multiplied by a number.

So a person who was awarded $50,000 in compensation for expenses and injuries might see that number multiplied by 2 for pain and suffering. They would then receive $100,000 for these — on top of the economic damages. 

The Advantages of Each

Both systems can be useful in various circumstances, but they may result in very different outcomes. If your injury, for example, doesn't require extensive medical care but will take a lot of time to recover from, the multiplier method may not work well. In this case, the number of days involved may vastly outweigh the costs you put into recovery. 

In some ways, the multiplier method may be faster and easier to reach an agreement on. This is because only one number — the multiplier — is under negotiation. The other element is already fixed within economic damages negotiations. If you opt for the per diem rate, you must determine how long full recovery will take as well as how much to seek each day. 

Where to Learn More

Finding the right dollar amount for non-economic damages is challenging for any victim. You deserve the most compensation you can get, but the other party will always try to undercut this. The best way to negotiate is with the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer in your state. Make an appointment with a personal injury lawyer today to learn more about both of these important choices.  


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Letting Attorneys Help You

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