Evaluating Pain and Suffering in Automobile Accidents: Insights from a Seasoned Litigation Attorney

When you've become a victim of an auto accident, the consequences are profound, extending well beyond the visible injuries. The legal term "pain and suffering" captures not only the physical agony but also the emotional and psychological effects one endures in the aftermath of such a distressing incident. With all of that said, how do legal professionals quantify and compensate for these non-physical damages? Leveraging the expertise of Lepley, Engelman, Yaw, and Wilk, LLC, is crucial for navigating the complexities of this question and ensuring you receive the justice and equitable compensation owed to you.

The Legal Framework for Pain and Suffering

In legal practice, calculating pain and suffering following an auto accident is a process, influenced by several factors such as the nature and extent of injuries, duration of recovery, and the overall impact on the victim's quality of life. Unlike economic damages, which cover medical bills and loss of earnings and can be calculated based on receipts and objective criteria, non-economic damages like pain and suffering are a little more complex to quantify.

Methods of Calculation

There are primarily two methods often employed by attorneys and insurance companies to calculate pain and suffering:

The Multiplier Method

Under the multiplier method, the total economic damages — such as medical expenses and lost wages — serve as the base amount. This figure is then multiplied by a selected number; e.g. 3, known as the multiplier. The choice of multiplier depends on the severity of the pain and suffering, with more serious, long-term, and disabling conditions warranting a higher number. This method is in disfavor since first party medical and wage loss have been added to auto policies. These first party benefits pay medical bills and wage loss but then are not recoverable in the tort claim. It then skews the Multiplier Method in calculating pain and suffering.

The Per Diem Approach

Alternatively, the per diem (Latin for "per day") method assigns a specific dollar amount to every day that you endure pain and suffering from the accident until you reach maximum recovery. The challenge with this method lies in justifying the daily rate, which is typically negotiated based on the circumstances of the case.

Factors Influencing the Calculation

Several factors influence how pain and suffering are calculated in your case:

  • Severity of Injuries: More severe injuries that result in long-term disabilities will likely result in higher compensation amounts.
  • Longevity of Suffering: Chronic pain or permanent conditions that prolong suffering carry more weight in the calculation.
  • Impact on Daily Life: How injuries affect one's routine, hobbies, and family life may amplify claims.
  • Psychological Trauma: Consideration of mental anguish, anxiety, or PTSD resulting from the accident is factored into the assessment.
  • Credibility of the Plaintiff: The success of pain and suffering claims often hinges on the plaintiff's credibility and the consistency of their narrative.

Documentation Matters

Having substantial evidence to support your claim is essential. Medical records, doctor's notes, photographs of injuries, and personal journals documenting the survivor's daily struggles are pivotal in illustrating the extent of pain and suffering. Testimonies from healthcare providers, family members, and mental health professionals can further support the case.

The Role of an Attorney

A seasoned attorney is instrumental in navigating the complexities of calculating, proving, and negotiating pain and suffering damages. They have the expertise to evaluate which method is most appropriate and to argue against any attempts to diminish the value of your claim. Particularly in catastrophic events, where pain and suffering are extensive, the empathetic yet firm approach of an experienced lawyer can ensure your narrative is heard and rightfully compensated.

The Path Forward – How Can We Help?

We understand that as our legal system tries to quantify pain and suffering with numbers and formulas, the personal lived experiences behind these numbers remain profoundly human. In an attorney-client relationship steeped in professionalism and empathy, we seek to champion your cause to achieve the most just outcome—recognizing that while some impacts are beyond numbers, they deserve acknowledgment and restitution.

If you are dealing with the aftermath of an auto accident and grappling with the pain that follows, seeking qualified legal guidance is your first step toward fair compensation. With offices in Lewisburg and Williamsport, the attorneys at Lepley, Engelman, Yaw & Wilk provide expertise combined with understanding—because we practice law and advocate for peace of mind.

Please get in touch with us to learn more about how we can assist you in your claim to recover damages for pain and suffering.


140 East Third Street, Williamsport (570) 323-3768
320 Market Street, Lewisburg (570) 522-0505
Northern Tier Pennsylvania (570) 673-4081
(800) 422-5396
Contact us today!