calculate pain suffering

Being injured in a car accident in New York can be a harrowing experience. An individual who has been injured in such an accident can choose to take the party at fault to court in order to get compensation for the losses they have suffered. Under New York law, accident victims are eligible to receive compensation in two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. Besides the financial loss suffered due to the injuries arising from the accident, victims can also seek compensation for the pain and suffering they have undergone.

Economic and Non-Economic Damages in New York Car Accidents

As the name indicates, economic damages are awarded as compensation for the financial losses you suffered in an auto accident that occurred due to another’s fault in New York. This includes your medical and hospitalization expenses and the wages you lost because you could not work after the injury.

Non-economic damages or general damages are awarded to compensate the accident victim for things that cannot be quantified. For example, if you lost a loved one in an accident, or if you suffered a lot of physical pain and also emotional anguish following the event, it is not so easy to calculate what the worth of this suffering is.

However, the courts have no other way to compensate your loss than by offering money, and therefore, you are eligible to receive general damages. Pain and suffering are one of the aspects under the general damages and it is important to understand how to calculate this when you decide to initiate a lawsuit for personal injury.

What Are Some Common Examples of Pain and Suffering in NYC Accidents?

The term ‘pain and suffering’ cover all the physical and mental agony that accident victims may undergo. Medical expenses that may be easily calculated using the hospital, consultation, and medication bills do not fall under this category. Circumstances that include an overall loss of the victim’s ability to enjoy life, their loss of happiness or comfort, or opportunities following the accident are considered under this heading.

Here are a few examples of physical and emotional pain and suffering for which you may be able to recover damages following your auto accident in New York City.

  • Bodily pain and physical discomfort
  • Loss of function in any body part
  • Disfigurement of the body caused by burns, or scars, or amputations
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Reduction in life expectancy
  • Limitations in present physical ability or those likely to arise in the future due to the accident injuries
  • Long-lasting disability
  • Complications in daily life
  • Alteration in eating and sleeping patterns
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Mood swings
  • Emotions of anger or fear
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Loss of enjoyment in activities that were previously enjoyable

Although these are broadly the headings under which pain and suffering can be considered, an experienced NYC auto accident attorney can help you identify the specific items that apply to your personal injury case.

Is There a Limit on Pain and Suffering Damages in NYC Auto Accident Cases?

In New York State, there is no limit or ‘cap’ on the amount of compensation that you can receive for the pain and suffering you endure. This means that you are entitled to receive an amount that is considered fair compensation. There is no definite formula for calculating pain and suffering because every individual’s experience is unique.

If you decide to consider a settlement with the insurance adjuster of the party-at-fault for the accident, there will be a negotiation and discussion of what is considered fair compensation for pain and suffering in your case. If you decide to take your lawsuit to court, the jury will go over all the details of your injury and decide how much compensation you can receive for the pain and suffering you endured.

How are Pain and Suffering Calculated in NYC Accident Cases?

Insurance companies and attorneys generally use one of two methods to calculate pain and suffering damages: the multiplier method and the per diem method.

Multiplier method

In this method, the economic damages are calculated first. The economic damages will include the costs incurred on past medical treatment, anticipated medical treatment in the future, the loss in earning capacity, actual lost wages, and damage to property you have sustained in the accident.

Next, the figure for economic damages is multiplied by a number (called the multiplier) which generally ranges between 1.5 and 5. The specific multiplier used depends on the nature of your injuries; generally, the more severe your injury, the higher is the multiplier used to calculate pain and suffering damages.

Per Diem method

In this method, an amount is assigned for every day of the victim’s injury until the time of their recovery. In most cases, this amount may be fixed based on the daily wages of the person.

However, it is important to understand that there can be several factors beyond the ones you think are important, that may be considered while calculating the pain and suffering damages to be awarded. The amount you calculate by using either the multiplier or the per diem method is only an approximate figure.

What you actually receive will depend on how skillfully you negotiate the settlement with the insurance adjuster of the party at fault. This is one of the reasons why it is critical to engage the services of an experienced NYC car accident attorney to handle your personal injury lawsuit.

What Factors are Considered to Determine the Multiplier for Pain and Suffering?

When insurance adjusters or attorneys begin to negotiate a settlement, there are several factors they consider to arrive at a multiplier for pain and suffering damages in a New York auto accident. Some of the important ones include the following:

  • What was your contribution to the accident? The more obvious the other driver’s fault, the higher your multiplier is likely to be.
  • What is the nature of your injury? When the injury sustained is more serious (such as amputation or permanent disfigurement or disability), the multiplier is likely to be higher than in the case of minor injuries.
  • What evidence do you have in the form of verified documents to prove the pain and suffering you have suffered? The stronger the evidence, the higher is the multiplier.
  • How much time has it taken or will it take for you to recover completely from your injury? A long-lasting injury is more likely to induce the use of a higher multiplier.

How Can I Maximize the NY Accident Pain and Suffering Damages I Receive?

Whatever the method used, you must realize that the compensation you actually receive largely depends on your ability to provide evidence of the pain and suffering you had to undergo due to the accident. Here are a few suggestions of actions to take to ensure you have the right evidence:

  • Report all details of your pain, however minor, to your doctor. The medical records, certified by a medical professional, showing that your injuries have caused you significant pain and suffering are far more credible in the eyes of a jury or an insurance adjuster as compared to your verbal reports.
  • Keep a journal of the pain and suffering you undergo so that this can be used as documented evidence.
  • Keep a record of how the injuries sustained in the accident affected your life, your ability to perform daily routine activities, your moods, and your personality. Photographs or a video of your daily life after the accident can be used quite effectively as evidence of your pain and suffering.
  • It may also be worth getting written statements from your family members, neighbors, or helpers describing how you have needed help with moving around, or childcare or cooking or the simple tasks of daily living following your injury.
  • If you have been seeing a psychiatrist or a counselor to deal with mental health issues that have arisen due to the accident, the records of such consultations or treatments can be valuable evidence in proving pain and suffering.

Talk to a Skilled and Resourceful NYC Auto Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in New York, it is important to contact an expert car accident attorney soon after you receive medical treatment. This gives your attorney enough time to make sure that vital evidence is preserved and does not disappear and also gives them time to build a strong case. Your attorney can also guide you about what steps you need to take to document your pain and suffering so that you receive the maximum compensation for the non-economic losses you sustained in the accident.

The personal injury lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP have decades of experience in negotiating with insurance adjusters as well as pursuing lawsuits in court. We have helped our clients to receive the maximum compensation for pain and suffering damages to which they are entitled. To explore how we can work together, call Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP today at 1-800-660-2264 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.


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