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How Much Is My Pain and Suffering Worth?

October 14, 2023

What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?

The injuries stemming from an accident can have far-reaching impacts on your life. If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, whether a truck crash, a slip and fall accident, a workplace accident, or another type of incident, you may have the legal right to seek compensation for the losses you’ve experienced. The law divides these injury-induced losses into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.

As the name implies, economic damages include the tangible financial losses you’ve incurred due to your accident. This category includes medical expenses, lost wages, property repair and replacement costs, and other expenses you’ll receive bills for throughout your recovery. These damages are relatively easy to calculate because you have records documenting the amount you spent.

Non-economic damages, also known as pain and suffering damages, can be more challenging to calculate as part of your settlement because they are less clear-cut. This category includes the physical discomfort, mental anguish, and other serious effects your injuries have caused in your daily life and relationships. While it may be more complex than adding up the total of your expenses, determining fair compensation for your pain and suffering is critical and can significantly impact your life and recovery. A knowledgeable California personal injury lawyer can explain what you should know about pain and suffering damages and how they can affect your claim’s settlement value.

What are Examples of Pain and Suffering Following a Personal Injury?

Pain and suffering can refer to a wide range of emotional and physical aftereffects related to the experience of the accident itself and the resulting injuries. The extent of the pain and suffering experienced is highly individual to each victim, so it is vital for accident survivors to carefully track their feelings and the day-to-day challenges they face through a journal or other means. This record can prove compelling in supporting your case’s valuation.

Examples of pain and suffering that an accident victim may experience include:

  • Current and future limitations to their physical abilities and capability to perform daily tasks.
  • Long-term disability that affects their career, home life, and relationships.
  • Chronic pain or discomfort.
  • Cognitive changes, including memory loss.
  • Reductions in quality of life.
  • Scarring or disfigurement that could be a source of physical and mental distress.
  • Mental health effects, such as anxiety, depression, or phobias.
  • Accident-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Loss of life’s enjoyment.
  • Difficulties in eating or sleeping.
  • Severe mood swings or personality changes.
  • Shame, fear, humiliation, or other negative emotions related to the accident itself.

How Can a Compensatory Value for Pain and Suffering Be Calculated?

It can feel complicated to place a monetary value on your pain and suffering. While a dollar amount doesn’t accurately portray the full impact of these life-changing challenges on you and your family, calculating a fair settlement value can help ensure you have the money you need to get the proper care and treatment you need now and in the future. Personal injury attorneys utilize different calculation methods to arrive at a value for your pain and suffering damages. The following are two of the most common calculation methods.

Per Diem Method

In the per diem method, your pain and suffering is assigned a daily value. That value is then multiplied by the number of days it took or is expected to take you to recover from the injury. For example, if your per diem amount for your pain and suffering is $100 and it took 90 days to recover fully, your pain and suffering claim value would be $9000. For this method, it is crucial to ensure you’ve reached your maximum medical improvement (MMI) level or be certain your doctors have a clear idea of the extent and duration of your injuries so you can accurately estimate your claim amount.

Multiplier Method

The multiplier method takes into account that not all accident injuries lead to the same levels of pain and difficulties with daily life. Permanent injuries, such as the limb amputation or paralysis, will have a more significant impact on an individual long-term than broken ribs or lacerations that will heal. To use the multiplier method, your lawyer calculates your economic damages and multiplies them by a variable ranging from 1.5 to 5. Higher multipliers are associated with more severe, longer-lasting injuries, while lower multipliers are used for short-term or less serious injuries. For example, if you had $10,000 in economic damages with a multiplier of 2, then your pain and suffering damages would total $20,000.

Many factors play into determining the suitable variable for your case, and your lawyer can explain how they arrived at their specific calculations.

Does California Have a Cap on Non-Economic Damages?

Some states place statutory limits on non-economic damages in personal injury cases. California only caps non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. Even this cap has been increased under recent legislation and will continue to increase yearly to account for inflation until it reaches a cap of $750,000 for malpractice cases that do not involve wrongful death. If you have questions or concerns about the value of the pain and suffering damages in your case, you should speak to a trusted lawyer who can provide up-to-date information on state laws.

How Can Our Law Firm Assist You?

Determining a fair amount for pain and suffering damages is more akin to an art than a mathematical formula. While formulas are employed as part of the final calculations, much of the valuation process is subjective and must be sensitive to the effects of many variables on the victim and their family.

At the Law Offices of Preston Easley, we work closely with clients to uncover the full extent of the accident and the resultant injuries on their lives. We can then collect supporting evidence and expert opinions to bolster our calculations. This personalized effort and our attention to detail can allow us to help you recover the maximum compensation you’re entitled to. Contact our law firm today at 310-361-9484 to schedule a free consultation to learn more.

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Cases We Handle

  • maritime worker working on ship

    Longshoremen & Shipyard Workers

    Longshoring and shipyard work are very dangerous occupations. Workers in these fields, along with marine construction workers, are covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, a very generous no-fault workers’ compensation system. It covers medical expenses, temporary disability, permanent disability and vocational rehabilitation.

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  • sea vessel docked at US shore

    Jones Act Seamen

    A seaman is a member of the crew of a vessel or group of vessels under common ownership or control. The vessel can be anything from a raft to a cargo ship. We represent seamen who work aboard recreational vessels, tugboats, dredges, barges, skiffs, workboats and cargo ships. We also represent seamen who are marine construction workers

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  • Diving

    We represent people who have been injured in SCUBA diving accidents and Commercial diving accidents. We also handle diving boat accidents. Diving can be very dangerous. We successfully represented a commercial diver who was seriously injured while cleaning the propeller of a U.S. Navy ship at Pearl Harbor

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  • accident at construction site and hard hat on floor

    Construction & Industrial Accidents

    Construction and industrial sites can be very dangerous. Although you generally cannot sue your own employer for a construction site or industrial accident (generally workers’ compensation is your exclusive remedy against your employer) there are many circumstances in which you can file a third party lawsuit against an entity other than your employer for an unsafe condition at a work site which causes you to be injured

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  • Forklift and Crane Injuries Lawyer

    Crane & Forklift Accidents

    The Easley firm has extensive experience with crane and forklift accidents and workplace accidents involving dangerous equipment and machinery. These accidents can be caused by operator error and they can be caused by the unsafe and defective condition of the equipment

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  • auto accident involving two cars on a city street

    Motor Vehicle & Truck Accidents

    Motor vehicle accidents can result in serious injury and death. These kinds of accidents can involve automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians and unsafe road design and unsafe road conditions

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  • Catamaran Injuries Attorney

    Passenger Vessel Accidents

    Passenger accidents are common on recreational vessels, catamarans, tour boats and cruise ships.  They are frequently caused by rough sea conditions and unsafe conditions aboard the vessels.  The Easley firm has extensive experience in the field of maritime law.  We have made new law in the field of maritime law with numerous precedent setting decisions in the State Appellate Courts, the Ninth Circuit Federal Court

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  • Defense Base Act

    The Defense Base Act is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act which covers civilian employees of U.S. defense contractors injured overseas, including war zones. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensations Act as extended by the Defense Base Act is a very generous no fault workers’ compensation system

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Areas Where We Practice

Preston Easley is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. He served five years of active duty as a Naval officer — three years as a deck officer on a fast frigate and two years as a patrol boat skipper. Mr. Easley also served aboard a tank landing ship in the reserves.




Let Us Get You The Compensation You Deserve

Preston Easley is an experienced lawyer with considerable expertise in handling federal and state personal injury cases. He will aggressively seek the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to receive. Attorney Easley represents victims of serious and fatal accidents involving cars, trucks, construction projects and maritime work.

Construction Workers We Help

  • Crane and Forklift Operators
  • Pile Drivers
  • Scaffold Workers
  • Iron Workers
  • Carpenters
  • Electricians
  • Operating Engineers
  • Electricians

Maritime Workers We Help

  • National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) Shipyard Workers
  • Manson Construction Company Workers
  • Manson Dredging Workers
  • Dutra Dredging Workers
  • Commercial Divers
  • Scuba Divers
  • Commercial Fisherman
  • Government Maritime Claims Against the Navy, Army Corps of Engineers, or the US Coast Guard, etc.
  • Marine Construction Workers
  • Offshore Oil and Gas Workers
  • Seamen
  • Shipyard Workers
  • YYK Enterprises, Inc.
  • Pacific Tugboat Service
  • Long Beach Container Terminal
  • Tugboat, Dredge, Longshoremen, and Ferry Workers
  • Barge Crews and Barge Workers
  • Marisco Limited
  • HL Welding
  • SSA Marine
  • Catalina Express
  • R.E. State Engineering
  • Shimmick Construction
  • Nova Group
  • American Scaffolding
  • Safway Scaffolding
  • Kirby Tugs
  • Crowley Tugboats
  • P&R Water Taxi
  • Continental Maritime
  • Pacific Ship Repair
  • Seaward Marine
  • Healy Tibbitts
  • General Construction
  • BAE Shipyards
  • South Coast Welding
  • Matson
  • Pasha
  • Hawaii Stevedores, Inc.
  • McCabe, Hamilton & Renny
  • Young Brothers
  • Sause Bros.
  • Foss Maritime
  • Fenix Marine Services
  • ITS
  • Total Terminals
  • TraPac
  • PCMC
  • Maersk
  • Yang Ming
  • China Overseas Shipping
  • Evergreen

Boating Accidents

  • Catamaran Accidents
  • Charter and Tour Boats
  • Cruise Ship Accidents
  • Passenger Accidents
  • Jet Ski and Personal Watercraft
  • Motorboat Accidents
  • Recreational Accidents
  • Scuba Diving Accidents
  • Speed Boat Accidents
  • Yachts and Sail Boat Accidents
  • Repair Accidents
  • Crew Accidents
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