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How Are Pain and Suffering Calculated: Understanding Compensation Assessment


Missouri personal injury Specialists

Learn how pain and suffering are calculated in personal injury cases, and discover how Buchanan Williams & O’Brien can assist you in securing the compensation you deserve.

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Calculating pain and suffering in a personal injury claim can be as complex as the human experiences they aim to quantify. Every story of hardship bears its unique scars – but how can we translate such intimate, individual suffering into a legitimate legal figure worthy of compensation? Pain and suffering constitute non-economic damages, the subjective aftermath of accidents that tangible receipts cannot fully capture.

Indeed, the challenge lies in the meticulous assessment of these intangible effects. With diverse methodologies, insurance companies might employ formulas or daily rates to attach dollar amounts to each day of discomfort endured. While it’s understood that no monetary value can truly compensate for the suffering one faces, the legal system strives to offer a semblance of solace through financial relief. 

Our firm, Buchanan Williams & O’Brien, rooted in Missouri, recognizes the gravity of these calculations and their profound impact on our clients’ lives. A blend of legal acumen and empathetic understanding is essential to navigate this intricate landscape. We must grasp the depth of our clients’ struggles while meticulously building a case that accurately reflects the breadth of their experiences. This complex interplay of advocacy not only aids in securing just compensation but also validates the personal journeys of those wronged.

Understanding Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering are pivotal components among the many forms of compensable damages when navigating the complexities of personal injury law. Given their intangible nature, these damages are not easily quantified, yet they must still be embedded within legal restitution.

Pain and suffering refer to the physical discomfort and emotional distress that a victim may endure due to an injury. Legal studies define pain and suffering to include not only physical pain but also mental and emotional distress. This encompasses a loss of life enjoyment, fear, anxiety, and the trauma associated with disfigurement or disability. It’s crucial to distinguish that these are non-economic damages, separate from tangible economic losses such as medical expenses and lost wages.

Factors Influencing Pain and Suffering Calculations

Calculating pain and suffering is inherently difficult due to its subjective nature. Several factors, however, are instrumental in this complex process:

  • Severity: The intensity of the physical pain and emotional pain experienced.
  • Duration: The length of time the victim has been and will be subjected to the pain and suffering.
  • Impact: How the injuries affect the claimant’s daily life, from basic activities to enjoyments once taken for granted.
  • Longevity: The expected long-term or permanent implications of the injury, possibly leading to chronic pain or emotional trauma.

Understanding these factors helps anchor the abstract concept of pain and suffering within concrete legal proceedings, ensuring that victims receive fair and just compensation for their intangible losses.

Understanding Pain and Suffering

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Methods of Calculating Pain and Suffering

Have you ever pondered the complexity of assigning a monetary value to pain? It is a multifaceted challenge that demands a careful balance of analytical reasoning and empathetic understanding. The multiplier and per diem methods are widely recognized approaches for quantifying pain and suffering in personal injury cases.

Multiplier Method 

This method begins with aggregating economic damages, namely medical bills and lost wages. These quantifiable costs are multiplied by a multiplier, typically 1.5 to 5. The chosen multiplier reflects the severity and duration of the suffering. Factors affecting this number might include:

  • The type and extent of medical expenses incurred.
  • The level of documented documentation of the injury.
  • The impact on daily life.

Per Diem Method

Alternatively, the per diem method applies a daily rate to the claimant’s pain and suffering duration. It’s akin to receiving a daily wage for the hardship endured. The daily rate is often equated to the claimant’s daily earnings, symbolizing the value of one’s lost comfort and routine.

Computer Programs 

Some practitioners employ specialized computer software, such as a pain and suffering calculator, to expedite these calculations. The majority of insurance companies also utilize computer programs to determine the value of pain and suffering damages. While these programs offer a consistent approach, they often fail to capture the subtleties of an individual’s personal experience.

Choosing between these methods hinges on the specific context of the injury and available documentation. Our goal at Buchanan Williams & O’Brien is to select the most fitting approach that aligns with the intricacies of our client’s experience and offers the most compelling evidence of their challenges.

Through careful analysis, we strive to ensure that the pain and suffering calculations we present are rooted in fact and empathy, fortified by clear and concrete evidence.

Methods of Calculating Pain and Suffering

Confused about personal injury in Missouri? We are here to answer your questions.

Missouri’s Approach to Pain and Suffering Compensation

In Missouri, pursuing compensation for pain and suffering as part of a personal injury claim is multifaceted. Juries, liability, insurance claims, and settlement negotiations all interplay in determining what, if any, amount may be awarded. Missouri law does not enforce a universal cap on the compensation for pain and suffering in personal injury cases. Instead, the amount awarded is mainly left to the jury’s discretion after a trial or to the parties involved when settling. 

This approach was cemented in the landmark case of Watts v. Lester E. Cox Medical Centers. In this pivotal decision, the Missouri Supreme Court reshaped the medical malpractice litigation landscape by ruling that caps on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, violated the Missouri Constitution’s right to a jury trial (Article I, Section 22(a)). This significant decision, pronounced in 2012, has far-reaching implications for compensation for pain and suffering. It ensures cases are evaluated based on their unique circumstances without preset limits, allowing for a more equitable damage assessment.

The role of an attorney in this process is invaluable. Often, attorneys guide clients through the intricate process of filing an insurance claim and facilitate negotiations. This includes dealing with the fluctuating Average Settlement for Workers’ Compensation. It is important to remember that throughout a lawsuit, insurance adjusters and the insurance company act in their interest, which might be contrary to the plaintiff’s quest for rightful compensation. Thus, legal guidance is critical in navigating this challenging landscape.

Challenges in Calculating Pain and Suffering

Documentation and Evidence

Accurately quantifying pain and suffering relies heavily on careful documentation. Medical records, personal testimonies, and professional opinions all substantiate the claim. Legal standards such as the Missouri Revised Statutes are crucial for determining evidence admissibility and persuasiveness in court. 

Following these standards, consulting legal professionals who can efficiently gather necessary documents significantly strengthens the plaintiff’s case for pain and suffering damages. Given the subjective nature of pain and suffering, our attorneys at Buchanan Williams & O’Brien aim to present evidence that objectively reflects the extent of our client’s experiences.


Effectively presenting pain and suffering during settlement negotiation involves a meticulous approach to storytelling and quantification. The goal is to build a compelling narrative that underscores the impact of the defendant’s fault while also leveraging any available insurance policy limits. Effective negotiation requires a balance between persuasively conveying the suffering endured and presenting a pragmatic claim value assessment to encourage the insurance company to offer a fair settlement.

How Buchanan Williams & O’Brien – Missouri Can Help

The legal framework presents a complex challenge when calculating pain and suffering. At Buchanan Williams & O’Brien, we possess extensive experience in personal injury claims, ensuring that our clients’ voices are heard and that insurance companies and courts acknowledge their experiences.

Our role as your personal injury lawyers involves multiple facets:

  • Assessment: We carefully evaluate your case, considering every detail to build a strong foundation for your claim.
  • Demand Letter: A meticulously crafted demand letter lays out your injuries and associated costs, setting the negotiation stage.
  • Insurance Negotiation: Dealing with insurers can be stressful. Our experience allows us to navigate these conversations and aim for a settlement offer that aligns with your needs.
  • Legal Advocacy: Whether you’re a plaintiff seeking justice or defending against an insurer’s lowball offer, we stand firm for your personal injury protection and rightful compensation.

We work tirelessly to maximize your compensation, considering all factors such as loss of consortium, enjoyment of life, and loss of society. By calculating these non-economic damages, we advocate for a personal injury settlement that reflects the true extent of your suffering.

Secure Your Rightful Compensation with Buchanan Williams & O’Brien

Do not be discouraged by the complexity of calculating compensation for pain and suffering. At Buchanan Williams & O’Brien, we are committed to navigating you through every stage of this demanding journey, ensuring your voice is heard and your suffering recognized. Reach out to us today to discover how we can assist you in obtaining a settlement that represents the consequences of your personal injury.

Our knowledge serves as your safeguard while maneuvering through Missouri’s legal landscape. Healing transcends the physical—it’s a journey to reclaiming your peace of mind. Trust our Missouri Industrial Equipment Injury Attorney to defend your rights in personal injury cases beyond Missouri’s borders.

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