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Calculating Pain and Suffering: Three Times Special Damages?

Some costs that result from accidents are cut and dry. Damages that can be easily quantified are called economic or “special” damages. Hospitals issue bills for medical treatments, auto-body shops tally up the expenses of towing and repairs, and lost income from being unable to work can be determined by one’s wages or salary. All of these types of expenses — known as special damages — can be quantified fairly simply. But measuring a victim’s pain and suffering is far more challenging.

Pain and suffering costs are included in the category of noneconomic or “general” damages. To assign a dollar value to pain and suffering, civil juries and insurance adjusters in Virginia typically take the total value of economic/special damages and multiple it by a number between 1.5 and 5. Higher multipliers are used for accidents that caused more severe injuries or prolonged pain, whether physical or emotional. Lower multipliers are used for injuries that are considered less serious.

Often, 3 is suggested as the standard multiplier for calculating pain and suffering, offering the flexibility to move up or down depending on the seriousness of the injury. But before you choose that number to prepare your insurance claim, it is a good idea to assemble evidence regarding your case and to speak with a professional who is knowledgeable in the area of personal injury claims.

Simply multiplying by 3 could be a big mistake. Some people underestimate the value of their own pain, missing out on a considerable amount of deserved compensation. Other people may overestimate the value of their pain and suffering for a minor injury, only to have their claim denied, which robs them of the chance for fair compensation.

Insurance companies and juries use evidence to decide upon a multiplier. They consider how your injuries have impacted and will impact your health, and how long those impacts are expected to last. Mental anguish, inconvenience and embarrassment that may have resulted from your injuries are also used as factors in determining the appropriate multiplier.

The Virginia personal injury attorneys at Tucker Griffin Barnes P.C. can review the details of your case and calculate a monetary value to fit the pain and suffering your injuries have caused, using evidence and case law to arrive at the right amount. We are persistent, committed advocates for our clients during settlement negotiations and civil lawsuits. To schedule your initial consultation, call 434-973-7474 or contact us online. Our offices are located in Charlottesville, Palmyra, Harrisonburg and Staunton.

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