Pain and suffering awards are considered general damages. These damages are paid to a victim in addition to the actual costs associated with his injuries and resulting treatment.
Actual costs are referred to as special damages (or “specials”) and include medical and therapy bills, lost wages, property damage, and out-of-pocket expenses.
For very serious injuries, such as brain damage or permanent injuries, a multiple of 5x or more may be used, depending on the severity of the injury. Remember, serious injury cases should only be handled by an experienced personal injury attorney like Gioffre & Schroeder (Call us today at 216- 771-1144).
- Seriousness of the injury - If you suffered only soft tissue injuries (sprains, lacerations, bruising, etc.), the adjuster will probably offer a multiple of 1 – 2x the full amount of your specials. If you suffered a ruptured disk, broken collarbone, or other similar “hard” injury, the multiple may be between 2 – 3x.
- Liability of the insured - There are occasions when the insured’s liability is questionable. This happens when the adjuster believes the victim is partially at fault, or there was a third-party intervening force which contributed to the accident. These questions of liability can result in a lower offer.
- History of jury verdicts - Jury verdicts in personal injury cases can be higher in certain areas of the country. For example, a broken arm case in a rural county in Texas may get a lower judgment than the same case in New York City. Adjusters are aware of these differences and rely on them when considering their settlement offers.
- Exceptions - Some claims don’t fit into the basic 1-5x multiple method. The circumstances of the injury or its impact on lifestyle and future well-being may be out of proportion to the normal standards. Each case must be considered on its own merits.
- Future prognosis - Serious injury victims often require extended medical treatment and therapy. Their pain and discomfort may linger for some time. These extended treatment periods and continued pain can result in greater emotional distress, so the pain and suffering award will be higher.