When pain and suffering are calculated by using the “multiplier method,” the multiplier is a number between one and five that is used to multiply the amount of the total economic damages. In the most extreme cases, the multiplier maybe six. The result of this calculation will be your total pain and suffering settlement or award amount.

What Is a Pain and Suffering Multiplier?

The multiplier that is applied to your case will depend on the severity of your injury or illness. If you had a severe injury and your life was put at risk, the multiplier maybe five. For less-serious injuries, a lower multiplier would be used. There is no set formula for choosing a multiplier. Instead, your attorney and the insurance company or jury will agree to one.

What Is the Average Pain and Suffering Settlement?

If your claim was the result of a minor accident or injury your pain and suffering settlement maybe $15,000 or even less. However, severely injured parties could get a pain and suffering settlement in the six-figure range. The amount you stand to get will depend upon your lawyer’s skill and the specifics of your case.

What Are Some Examples of the Multiplier Method?

Here are three examples of how the multiplier method can be used. These are all hypothetical situations, and your case may be different.

Example 1

A woman is in a minor car accident and she suffers a whiplash injury. Her hospital bills total $2,500, she spends $300 on follow-up care, and she lost $600 in salary because she missed work. Her total economic damages are $3,400. Her injuries were not serious, so insurance and the lawyer agreed to use two as a multiplier. Therefore, her pain and suffering settlement amount is $7,200, making her total settlement of $10,600

Example 2

A man breaks both legs in a car accident. He requires surgery on both legs, and the bill is $75,000. On top of this, he spends $1,000 on follow-up care, he loses $10,000 in salary, and he spends $700 on transportation and a wheelchair. The man’s injuries were serious, but he made a full recovery, so his multiplier is three. His total economic damages were $86,700, his pain and suffering would be valued at $260,100, and his total award would be $346,800.

Example 3

A couple is involved in a car vs. semi-truck accident, and the husband’s injuries were fatal. The husband remained alive in intensive care for three days before he passed. The wife was also severely injured and she will never walk again.

Their combined hospital bills were $1 million, and the wife will require another million in care over the rest of her lifetime. They lost another million in the husband’s future earnings. She is traumatized because she witnessed her husband’s fatal injuries. Her multiplier is 6, so her pain and suffering are worth $18 million and her total award is $21 million.

How Can I Get the Most for Pain and Suffering?

Hire a car accident lawyer for a car accident that was not your fault. You can represent yourself in court, but you don’t have the experience of negotiating with insurance companies that a legal professional has. You also may not understand the true value of your case, so you may end up settling for less than you deserve.

Speaking of settling, it’s important that you do not accept the first settlement offer an insurance company offers. The first settlement offer is an attempt to pay you off for less than what is fair or adequate, and this is done in the interest of maintaining the insurance company’s profits. To make sure you have a big enough settlement to fully recover, it’s best to consult with a lawyer.