How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated in a Car Accident Case

April 2, 2023 | By Francis Firm Injury Attorneys
How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated in a Car Accident Case

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, there are definitely going to be concrete costs associated with treating your injuries. While those expenses are relatively easy to calculate in a personal injury claim, pain and suffering is another matter. The amount of discomfort you experience is difficult to quantify, but there are ways it can be done in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.

What Is Pain and Suffering?

The law allows you to receive compensation for economic and non-economic losses in a Texas personal injury case. Economic losses refer to damages that are easy to calculate, including medical bills and lost wages.

Non-economic damages are intangible losses, such as pain and suffering. The law recognizes that intangible losses are just as crucial as economic losses in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Some types of pain and suffering that often stem from auto accidents are:

  • Physical pain, aches, and discomfort
  • Disfigurement
  • Scarring
  • Loss of bodily functions
  • Mental anguish and trauma
  • PTSD
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Humiliation and embarrassment
  • Loss of intimate relationship with a partner

How Pain and Suffering Can Be Calculated

There is no one way that juries and insurance companies calculate pain and suffering in car accident cases. As a result, many auto accident cases are settled before they see a courtroom. In these cases, your personal injury attorney and the defendant’s attorney negotiate over the compensation of the claim, including pain and suffering.

If a fair settlement cannot be negotiated, the jury will decide what the case and your pain and suffering are worth. Several methods may be used to calculate your pain and suffering from a car accident:


A popular way to arrive at a pain and suffering figure is to multiply the value of your economic damages by a number, usually between 1 and 5, depending on how bad the injuries are.

For example, suppose you ruptured a spinal disc when the defendant rear-ended you at a red light. Your medical bills and lost earnings totaled $30,000. If the jury decides your pain and suffering has a multiplier of three, you will receive $90,000 for your non-economic damages.

In many car accident cases, your car accident attorney and the other driver’s insurance company negotiate the multiplier. The insurance company’s attorney will argue for a lower multiplier to reduce their payout, while your car accident attorney will fight for the highest multiplier.

The highest multipliers are usually four and five, reserved for several accidents with severe pain and suffering and weeks or months of recovery. For example, if your injured back requires several surgeries, rehabilitation, and learning to walk again, you would receive more for pain and suffering than if you did not need surgical intervention.

The multiplier method is often used for long-term and chronic auto accident injuries.

Per Diem

The other popular way to calculate pain and suffering involves assigning a fair dollar figure for each day you are injured. So, the jury, or the attorneys for the plaintiff and defendant, determine the daily value of your pain and suffering.

Then, the per diem number is multiplied by the days you were recovering from your injuries. If you never fully recover, you would receive pain and suffering compensation for the time it took to arrive at maximum medical improvement (MMI). Your doctor determines MMI after a thorough medical examination.

If your back injury required six months of recovery and your attorney negotiated a $100 per diem, you would receive approximately $18,000 in pain and suffering compensation.

This method to calculate pain and suffering is usually for short-term injuries that require less recovery time.

How to Secure Compensation for Pain and Suffering

There are several ways to potentially secure compensation for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering. These include:

Getting Immediate Medical Treatment

You should not delay seeing a doctor after a car accident. The longer you wait to see a doctor, the more you appear seriously injured. The other driver’s insurance provider will note if you didn't go to the doctor for a week. How injured? See a doctor the same day as the accident so they can document your injuries and pain.

Following Your Doctor’s Treatment Plan

If you have an injured back from a rear-end crash, attend every follow-up appointment. Also, attend any physical therapy appointments that are scheduled. When you skip appointments, it gives the other side ammunition to downplay the extent of your injuries.

Avoiding Social Media

When your car accident case is pending, you should stay off of social media. If you post anything that makes it appear you are not seriously injured, the other driver’s insurance provider might use it against you.

Injured? Contact A Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you were in a car accident in Dallas or Fort Worth that wasn’t your fault, you could be entitled to pain and suffering compensation and other damages. Contact The Francis Firm accident attorneys today to learn what your case could be worth.