An Overview of the Personal Injury Pain and Suffering Calculator

“The phrase “pain and suffering” is a shorthand for all of the ways in which your life has changed due to your injuries.”

The compensation paid for an injury can be divided into two classes: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover out-of-pocket expenses and incident-related wage loss. They have a value that a jury or insurance adjuster can calculate.

Non-economic damages cover damages that do not have an inherent value. They cover various aspects of your life that changed as a result of your injuries.

Here are some facts you need to know about pain and suffering damages and how they are calculated.

Non-Economic Damages

There’s a lot of skepticism around “pain and suffering” damages. After all, it sounds like something that lawyers make up to collect more from the insurance company or person who caused an injury.

But pain and suffering are real. More importantly, they are not covered by ordinary economic damages.

Limitations of Economic Damages

Economic damages include all of your out-of-pocket expenses, such as:

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Diminished earning capacity

Economic damages ensure that you will not have to pay for medical treatment, mental and physical therapy, or medication that is necessary as a result of your injury.  They also ensure that you receive the income that you would have lost while you recover from your injuries.

Economic damages cannot compensate you for the panic attacks you suffer as you relive the accident. They also cannot compensate you for insomnia caused by the severe pain of your injuries. These losses are very real and deserve compensation through non-economic damages.

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Types of Non-Economic Damages

Before we get into the pain and suffering calculator you should understand what pain and suffering cover. The phrase “pain and suffering” is shorthand for all of the ways in which your life has changed due to your injuries. Some of the losses included in pain and suffering include:

Physical Anguish

Pain will change your life. You might hurt every time you move. You might not be able to find a comfortable position. You will probably lose sleep. You might even become depressed, feel sad, lose hope, or have suicidal impulses.

Non-economic damages cover all of these effects of pain. The non-economic damages for pain are calculated in addition to the economic damages for pain. Economic damages for pain cover the pharmacy bill for prescription pain medication, while non-economic damages for pain cover the painful sensations you experience and their effects on your life.

Mental Anguish

Another name for suffering is mental anguish. After an accident, you might experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. If a close relative or friend died or was injured in the accident, you might feel grief. Your injuries might cause you to experience insomnia or other sleep disorders.

Non-economic damages compensate you for these forms of suffering. Again, the therapy sessions to overcome your PTSD would be covered by your economic damages. The panic attacks that caused you to give up driving would be covered by your non-economic damages.


Being injured is inconvenient. You need to go to doctor appointments and therapy sessions. You have to install grab bars in your bathroom. You may even need to have someone else drive you to the grocery store and doctor’s office. These inconveniences are compensated through non-economic damages.

Diminishment in the Quality of Life

The accident and your injuries may diminish your quality of life. You may dwell on your injuries. You may lose interest in your hobbies. Your life expectancy might have decreased as a result of your injuries. Non-economic damages can cover all of the ways that your quality of life has diminished.

Loss of Activities

After your injuries, you may be unable to carry out your normal daily activities. You might lose the ability to dress, shower, cook, or drive. You might not be able to bend over to pick up your child or sit down to watch a movie. The pain and suffering calculator can estimate your non-economic damages for your loss of activities.

How Do Lawyers Figure Pain and Suffering?

You might wonder how anyone could develop a formula for a pain and suffering settlement. These losses have no inherent value. After all, what is one night of pain-free sleep worth? Economists have many theories for calculating pain and suffering. The most common is called the multiplier method.

The Multiplier Method

The multiplier method is the easier of the two theories for calculating damages. A pain and suffering compensation calculator that uses the multiplier method simply multiplies the economic damages by a multiplier to arrive at the total damages, including non-economic damages.

“You might wonder how anyone could develop a formula for a pain and suffering settlement. These losses have no inherent value. After all, what is one night of pain-free sleep worth?”

This process begins by determining a multiplier. The multiplier is a rating between 1.5 and 5.0 that is assigned based on your level of pain and suffering.

When you file an insurance claim, the insurance adjuster will assign a multiplier based on certain assumptions about your pain and suffering and based on your medical bills. The pain and suffering compensation calculator will use similar assumptions.

When you file a lawsuit, a jury will look at the evidence of the severity and duration of your injuries, rather than using assumptions based on the size of your medical bills.

After assigning a multiplier, the insurance adjuster or jury will multiply your economic damages by the multiplier to determine your total damages. For example, if an insurance adjuster selects a multiplier of 2.1 and your economic damages are $12,000, the insurance adjuster’s formula for pain and suffering settlement would give $25,200 in total damages. Of this, $13,200 represents pain and suffering.

Proving Pain and Suffering

After “how do lawyers figure pain and suffering?” the most common question asked is “how do lawyers prove pain and suffering?” Whether you are dealing with a claims adjuster or a jury, you will need to present evidence of your physical and mental anguish. This may include:

  • Pain prescriptions
  • Mental therapy records
  • Testimony from relatives
  • Notes from medical records

The jury or claims adjuster can use this evidence to assign a multiplier for the pain and suffering compensation calculator.

Contact Personal Injury Attorneys Goodnow and McKay

The Arizona personal injury lawyers of Goodnow McKay have extensive experience recovering compensation on behalf of clients who have sustained personal injuries in numerous different circumstances. Our attorneys are dedicated to fighting to achieve the best possible outcome for clients with accident, injury, and wrongful death claims. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation so you can move forward with your accident and injury case as soon as possible and recover the compensation that you deserve.