Pain and suffering

What Is A Reasonable Settlement For Pain And Suffering? – A personal injury attorney perspective

What Is A Reasonable Settlement For Pain And Suffering?

Whether your injuries are caused by car accidents, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, workplace injuries, etc, there is a higher likelihood for you to experience pain and suffering.

According to personal injury laws, the party that unlawfully or negligently causes injuries to another person should be held liable for all the personal injuries and other financial losses incurred. 

The injured person is entitled to damages that should be paid by the at-fault party through his/her insurance company or directly from pockets or savings.

According to the shouse injury law group, the average settlement for pain and suffering across the USA is around $15,000. Circumstances that led to personal injuries differ from one case to another, and also terms and conditions differ. This implies that your case could settle for a higher or lower figure depending on the situation at hand.

But what do the terms pain and suffering mean? what are examples of personal injury damages you are entitled to? How do you prove pain and suffering before the juror or car insurance adjusters, How do you calculate pain and suffering?

Alright, go through the contents of this article below and look at sections that are of higher interest to you. Let’s get started now.

Page Contents

What Are The 3 Types Of Personal Injury Damages?

A person that is negligently or maliciously injured is entitled to 3 or 4 compensatory damages, and these include:

1. Special or economic damages. These include past, present, and possible future medical expenses. It also entails damages like lost wages, lost income, lost potential to earn, and others.

2. General or non-economic damages. Whereas you can sign a dollar value onto economic values, there is no way you can quantify non-economic damages. You can not assign any monetary value to these damages. 

Examples of general damages include emotional distress, pain and suffering, mental anguish, stress and anxiety, loss of consortium, loss of guidance and care, loss of quality health, and many others. 

3. Property damages. There is a possibility your car got damaged if the source of your injuries is a car accident. You might have lost your personal belongings too during the accident. All these losses need to be compensated by submitting your property damages claim. 

4. Punitive damages. An injured person is not entitled to punitive damages. These damages are awarded to the injured person as a punishment to the at-fault party if he/she acted maliciously or exhibited gross negligence.

personal injuries

What is the meaning of pain and suffering?

Pain and suffering is a legal term that refers to the physical, psychological, or emotional effects of bodily injuries that is compensable as non-economic damages.

Pain and suffering are one of the major factors that injured persons seek monetary compensation. The largest settlement portion of your non-economic damages will be contributed by pain and suffering payouts.

What are examples of pain and suffering?

Your physical injuries are obvious and easy to identify, unlike pain and suffering. Examples of physical personal injuries include bone fractures, whiplash injuries, wounds, bleeding, internal organ damage, etc. 

Whereas physical injuries are open and easily seen, you can not see or measure pain and suffering. Only the injury victim can give an approximate rating, or explain how he/she feels to give a general picture of his pain and suffering. 

Pain and suffering encompass both physical pain and mental anguish. Examples of pain and suffering include the following

  • Physical impairment
  • Disfigurement
  • physical pain
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Depression
  • Loss of enjoyment in life and many others.

What is the value of pain and suffering?

Whereas you can quantify and compute the cost of economic damages in any personal injury case, general damages like pain and suffering are tricky because getting a monetary equivalent is not feasible. 

While assessing how much to award for pain and suffering, jurors and insurance adjusters use different formulas like the per diem method, or the use of a multiplier to be able to come up with a good monetary approximation. I explain these formulas later in this article. 

personal injuries

How to prove pain and suffering?

Proving pain and suffering is tough. To do this properly need the help of an experienced car accident attorney, or any personal injury lawyer otherwise you may miss out on these damages.

To receive What Is A Reasonable Settlement For Pain And Suffering needs you to provide clear and convincing evidence before the jurors or needs extra effort if you are settling with car insurance companies. 

Below are 6 ways you can prove pain and suffering before the juror or judges.

1. Medical bills. people seek medical care because of pain and suffering. so presenting medical documents and other doctor’s notes proves so. 

2. Pictures of your injuries. You can tell with good approximation how much pain and suffering a person is going through by looking at the injuries in the picture.

3. Psychiatric records. Many people suffer from depression and anxiety after car accidents and other horror events. Proving you are undergoing psychiatric treatment proves emotional distress and other psychological effects of the injuries.

4. Time you missed at the workplace. Normal people do not want to miss work for so long.

5. Witness from family members. A family member who is caring for you could testify and tell the juror how your pain is affecting your usual routine.

6. Medical records and other investigations. An x-ray film could show clearly you had a bone fracture. And medical records will prove treatments of the same.

Pain and suffering claim without lawyer

Though I recommend hiring a personal injury lawyer if you need maximum payout as a pain and suffering settlement, you can still do it on your own. For instance, minor personal injury cases do not require hiring an attorney because the settlement you will receive won’t pay lawyer fees and also cover your losses.

Claiming for reasonable pain and suffering without a lawyer needs you to submit a demand letter to the insurance company or at-fault party with clear explanations of your expenses, pain and suffering, and any other losses.

Your demand letter should explain in detail every damage being demanded supported by a clear and convincing piece of evidence.

Emotional pain and suffering settlement

Emotional distress and pain and suffering are 2 commonest components of non-economic personal injury damages. The general damages settlement you will receive will largely depend on these 2 damages. 

The average settlement for emotional pain and suffering is an amount of money that is 1-5 times your medical bills awarded in a personal injury dispute.

car accident statistics

Pain and suffering settlement calculator

 Before you think of submitting your pain and suffering claim settlement, it is an added advantage if you knew beforehand how pain and suffering settlement is calculated. 

Below are 3 ways in which pain and suffering settlement is calculated.

1. Your statements before the jury. You will be asked to explain how you are doing as far as bodily injuries are concerned. The jury could also ask you to explain the effects of the injuries on your day-to-day life. In doing so, the jury will be looking for evidence of pain and suffering. 

Depending on what you say, the jury could estimate what is worth the pain and suffering you have endured. Similarly to this, your family member could also be called up to say something.

2. Multiplier number. Another method of computing what is worth your pain and suffering is using a multiplier number that is between 1.5-5. 1.5 signifying minor injuries and 5 referring to severe injuries. The jury or attorney will use your medical bills to compute it as follows. 

Assume the jury awarded you $20,000 as medical expenses reimbursement. Your settlement for pain and suffering will be somewhere between $30,000 ie (1.5 x $20,000) and $100,000.

3. Physical injuries. What you will receive as pain and suffering settlement will also largely depend on your physical injuries. This is a reason you need to take pictures showing injuries on the day of the accident. 

For instance, you will get a high payout if you suffered bone fractures than when you only suffered whiplash injuries. The jury will look up previous cases and decide what to award you depending on the severity of your injuries.

4. Per diem method. Another method of calculating what is worth your pain and suffering is using a per diem formula. Assume the following example. 

Monthly salary = $2,000 

Other monthly income = $5,00

Total income monthly = $2,000 + $500 = $2,500.

Your daily income = $2,500/30 days = $83.3

Your pain and suffering settlement = your daily income x number of days you missed working. Assume you missed 90 days of work.

Your pain and suffering settlement payout = $83.3 x 90 days = $7,497

Pain and suffering settlement examples Florida

In most states, there is a cap on the amount of money that can be awarded as a pain and suffering settlement. Fortunately, no cap exists in Florida. 

The injured person can be awarded any amount as long as the jury decides it is a fair settlement, and the claimant provided clear and convincing proof.

Here are 3 pain and suffering settlement examples in Florida.

  1.  $40,500 was awarded to a lady who sustained moderate neck injuries after she was involved in rear-end collision. Initially, the car insurance tried to lowball her but later gave in after threats to sue. Note that this is not a whole settlement offer but just pain and suffering. 
  2. $150,000 was awarded to a plaintiff (motorcyclist) that was hit by a car that run a redlight.
  3. $15,000 was awarded to a pedestrian who suffered scalp injuries after he was hit by a car.

As you can see guys, the pain and suffering settlement offers depend on many factors. Telling how much you should expect initially is tough. Circumstances of your personal injuries are different and therefore could settle for different amounts of money.

back injury claim

How much is pain and suffering worth in a slip and fall

According to Facts Statistics About Slip Fall Accidents, more than 1 million people in the USA go to the emergency room every year due to injuries from slip and fall accidents. 

It is also estimated that each year, north America alone sees 540,000 slip-fall injuries that require some form of hospitalization. From other statistics, slip and fall accidents contribute at least 30% of all personal injury cases in the USA, coming in the second position after car accidents which bring in about 56% of the cases.

How much can you get out of pain and suffering? If you have pain and suffering due to a slip and fall accident, your settlement is most likely to be 1/2 of or equivalent to your economic damages.

For example, if you are awarded $30,000 as your economic or special damages (medical bills, lost wages, lost income, etc), you should expect either $15,000 or $30,000 as a settlement for your pain and suffering due to slip and fall injuries.

What is the highest settlement for a slip and fall? Though the settlement depends entirely on the circumstances of your slip and fall accident, most personal injuries due to slip and fall accidents settle for a higher amount of money. 

The highest settlement for a slip and fall personal injury is somewhere between $200,000 and $1 million. A good and experienced personal injury attorney should be able to give you a rough estimate after careful case evaluation.

How much can you get for a slip and fall in Florida? The statute of limitations for slip and fall personal injuries in Florida is 4 years. This means that the plaintiff (claimant) has up to 4 years to file a slip and fall accident lawsuit, or else he losses his right to sue.

Depending on the circumstances of your slip and fall case, expect around $15,000 for a slip and fall accident in Florida. Let that number not surprise you. I have also seen and heard of many slip-and-fall accident cases that settled for as low as $5,000 and others as high as $500,000.

How much is pain and suffering worth in a car accident?

Pain and suffering settlement for slip and fall accidents is done differently from that of car accidents, and the statute of limitations for both could differ in some states. 

How much pain and suffering settlement is worth in a car accident depends on how much you were awarded as your medical bills or economic damages. 

For example, if you were awarded $50,000 as your medical bills and expenses due to injuries suffered in a car accident, your pain and suffering will be between $75,000 and $250,000. This is because the jurors usually award pain and suffering settlement amounts that are 1.5 to 5 times your medical bills.

Pain and suffering settlement examples state farm

State farm is one of the largest insurance companies in both the USA and Canada offering a wide range of insurance coverages.

1. I know a guy who received $35,000 as his pain and suffering settlement. This claimant had a head-on collision with another vehicle whose driver seemed distracted while driving.

2. I also heard of a lady that received $18,000 and her pain and suffering settlement from a state farm after suffering from cuts and wounds from a car accident.

How much can you sue for pain and suffering in Colorado?-h2

Just like other states that put a cap on how much claimants receive as their non-economic damages, the cap on pain and suffering settlement in Colorado is $500,000. 

This implies that the jurors or judges will rarely award pain and suffering settlements that go beyond $500,000.

Can you sue for pain and suffering in Colorado? A negligently injured person in Colorado can sue for both economic and non-economic damages which are paid by the at-fault party.

How much is pain and suffering in Louisiana?

There is a cap of $500,000 on medical bills and pain and suffering in Louisiana. But the good thing is that there is no cap on any other damages an injured person is entitled to. 

How are pain and suffering calculated in Louisiana? In Louisiana, your pain and suffering will be calculated using the daily rate method. This formula aims at reimbursing the claimant a settlement that is equivalent to his/her daily family expenditure.

Here is an example. Suppose your daily expenses are $2,000 and you have had pain and suffering for the last 150 days. 

Your paina and suffering = $2,000 x 150 days = $300,000. 

Do you think this a good method or it is extremely biased? doesn’t it favor only the rich?

Conclusion. What Is A Reasonable Settlement For Pain And Suffering? Well, from various sources I visited, the reasonable settlement for pain and suffering is between $15,000 to $30,000 but this depends on the nature of your injuries. 

Severe injuries will fetch a higher pain and suffering settlement while minor injuries will be awarded any amount lower than $15,000.