Personal Injury Q&A: How is compensation calculated for pain and suffering?


Pain and suffering is a terms that we hear much of and relates to injuries as a result of an accident. However, what and how is compensation calculated for ‘pain and suffering’, given that there is both physical and emtional and mental pain that must be compensated in many cases.


There are no fixed rules as to how such compensation is calculated, although a vigilant record of receipts for prescriptions and non-prescription drugs and medical expenses generally should see you compensated for them.

The amount paid out for personal injury nationally is huge, via both insurance and personal injury lawsuits. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, a department within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are around 31 million people who are injured across the United States country each year that require medical treatment, of which around two million require hospitalization and over 160,000 are fatal injuries.

But that is not the end of the injuries that occur throughout the US. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that there are around 5.5 million car accidents in the country annually, which leads to three million injuries and 40,000 fatalities. Truck accidents account for a further 5000 deaths.

Similarly an employer will be able to provide information about how much time you missed from work as a result of the accident and that too can be compensated.

What is considered to be pain and suffering?

It is not always so easy to get compensation for pain and suffering. Florida for instance is a no-fault state. This means that when you have an accident, your own insurance company will pay for your bills no matter who is at fault. 

Most no-fault states have strict rules when it comes to compensation for pain and suffering. Although the way a person feels emotionally and physically may be difficult to gauge, you should know that pain and suffering is actually a legal term and applies to non-monetary damages from an accident. 

In order to collect pain and suffering compensation in the Sunshine State,

What are the costs that should be capable of compensation?

Different states have somewhat different criteria regarding what compensation you will receive for your injuries. In Florida for instance you must meet certain criteria. You can collect these damages if you have lost a bodily function such as the ability to speak, hear, see, or control your bladder. You may also be able to collect money for pain and suffering if you have been permanently disfigured or if you have suffered from a permanent injury such as a bone fracture. 

In a car accident an insurer will be liable to cover a variety of costs such as –

  • Medical bills and other treatment-related expenses like transport cost form hospital to home or work (if you are still capable of working)
  • Lost wages and income from work .
  • Pain and suffering, which depends upon the advice of professionals to estimate the monetary value of your pain and suffering. Insurance companies always try to avoid paying for pain and suffering.
  • Ongoing costs for basic needs if you are permanently disabled as a result of the injury.
  • Emotional damages caused by events related to car accidents. (Another area insurance companies will try an minimize).

How much money will I receive for pain and suffering?

There is no market price of your injured body part and unlike a motor vehicle that calculation is something that can be fraught with difficulty. Every injury is different and often the treatment time for the injury will be ongoing, possibly permanently and it is the personal injury claim that must ultimately make that determination (or through an acceptable settlement from an insurer).

According to, there is no set amount that a person will get for pain and suffering, and there is no standardized way to calculate compensation for it. However, there are two methods that an insurance adjuster might employ to ascertain how much money you will be offered.

Some insurance may claim to use a ‘pain and suffering calculator’ to estimate the amount payable on a personal injury claim and a variety of factors – as many as 70 or more – will be used by this ‘calculator’ to value your case. However, these are largely pointless because they cannot accurately value your case in terms of liability issue including any partial liability on you, the victim, which will necessarily reduce the percentage of liability in terms of damages that might be recoverable.

There are two methods that an insurance adjuster might employ to ascertain how much money you will be offered.

The Multiplier Method 

Some insurance companies use the multiplier method to determine how much a person’s pain and suffering is worth. In this case, the person’s pain is measured on a scale from 1.5 to 5. The total cost of their accident-related bills is then multiplied by that number. For example, if a person’s pain level was a two and their medical bills totaled $10,000, they would receive $20,000 in pain and suffering damages.

The Per Diem Method

Another method employed by insurance companies to calculate pain and suffering is the per diem method. The adjuster will try to determine the amount of money a person’s time is worth per day. They will then multiply that amount by the number of days the person suffered because of their injuries. Oftentimes, they will use a person’s salary to determine how much their time is worth. If a person’s time was determined to be valued at $100 a day, and they suffered for 20 days, the amount of their pain and suffering would be $2,000. 

Ensuring that the appropriate advice and assistance is received when calculating what the pain and suffering damages should be is a key requirement for anyone in the unfortunate position of having been injured in any accident. It is easy to be hasty or ill-prepared, but having the support of those best able to help is often the most sure way towards both recovery and achieving justice.

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