If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may unfortunately be all too familiar with the terms pain and suffering. Although an accident can happen in an instant, the pain and suffering it causes can change your entire life. When that happens, you may be entitled to damages, and our pain and suffering damages calculator can help those in Phoenix, Arizona determine how much you might be entitled to.
Understanding what pain and suffering damages are and how they are calculated is essential to protecting and preserving your rights as you decide how to move forward following an accident.
What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?
Arizona has two basic categories of damages in a personal injury case – financial and non-financial.
- Financial Damages: As the name implies, financial damages are intended to reimburse a victim for financial losses they incur – things like medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
- Non-Financial Damages: Non-financial damages are intended to cover things that may be harder to put a price tag on. Pain and suffering damages fall into this category.
Pain and suffering damages aren’t intended as reimbursement for medical bills or treatment following an injury – but rather, are intended as compensation for the pain associated with a victim’s injuries, whether physical or mental.
An injury can significantly impact the enjoyment of everyday life and the ability to engage in normal activities. An injury can also cause emotional distress, including conditions like:
- And many other issues.
Pain and suffering damages are thus essentially intended to compensate a victim for the ongoing impact an injury may have on the enjoyment of life. True, these damages are harder to quantify and more challenging to calculate – but it doesn’t mean they are any less important or valuable.
Is There a Formular for Calculating Damages?
In Arizona, no specific “formula” is used to determine pain and suffering damages in a personal injury case. Instead, damages are based on the facts and circumstances of each individual’s unique situation. Although no formula is required, there are two methods in particular that lawyers, courts, and insurance companies often use. These include the multiplier method and the per diem method.
The Multiplier Method
The multiplier method essentially involves looking at the economic damages assessed in a case, and then multiplying those damages by a factor (usually a number between 1.5 and 5), to determine pain and suffering damages. This means, of course, that the higher the multiplier is, the greater the total amount of pain and suffering damages will be.
Choosing which multiplier to use can often be challenging because the law does not directly address that issue or mandate that any specific multiplier be used at any given time. As a result, the multiplier is often based on an analysis of the particular circumstances of each case. As a general rule, the more significant the accident and the more severe the impact on an individual’s health and daily life, the greater the multiplier will be.
Some factors that may be considered in making this determination include:
- The type and severity of the injuries sustained in the accident
- Whether the injuries are temporary or permanent in nature
- The amount of recovery time required to heal temporary injuries
- Whether or not the accident victim can return to work
- The need for ongoing medical treatment or rehabilitative therapy
- Whether or not the victim was partially to blame for the accident
- The impact of any injuries on the victim’s daily activities
- Any number of other factors, depending upon the circumstances of the particular case.
While every case will be different, it is typically safe to assume that a very severe injury (like permanent paralysis) which significantly impacts daily life, will merit a higher multiplier than would a temporary injury (like a broken arm) from which a victim may recover in a comparatively short time.
The Per Diem Method
The per diem method is another method used to calculate pain and suffering damages. This method is more typically used when a victim has not sustained permanent injuries as a result of an accident. Under this method, a daily value is assigned based on an analysis of factors similar to those set forth above. That value is then multiplied by how many days a victim takes to recover from his or her injuries.
As a general rule, the recovery period under the per diem method begins on the date of injury and ends when a qualified medical provider has determined that an individual has reached maximum medical improvement.
Is There a Limit for Pain and Suffering Damages?
Some states place a limit on the amount of pain and suffering damages that a victim can receive. Arizona, however, is not one of those states. In fact, Arizona’s constitution prohibits laws that limit the damages that a victim can recover for a personal injury or wrongful death.
Although damages aren’t limited by law, it’s important to realize that insurance companies and the attorneys representing them will try to limit the pain and suffering damages a victim receives. They will pursue legal strategies to lower the amount of an award whenever possible. That’s why it’s important to have an attorney who understands the law and can fight for the compensation you deserve. At Impact Legal, we’re here for you.
Speak With a Pain and Suffering Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what steps to take next. That’s why your first step should be calling us.
At Impact Legal, we know and understand the law – and we’ll always pursue the best legal strategies on your behalf. Contact us today by calling or texting at 623-343-6388 or filling out our convenient online form here. We look forward to speaking with you soon.