How To Calculate Pain & Suffering Damages in North Carolina

An injury in an accident does more than cost victims money in the form of medical bills or lost wages. Victims also suffer a drop in their quality of life due to pain, inconvenience, and mental anguish. These types of losses are difficult to express in dollars and cents; nevertheless, they are very real.

At Dawson & Albritton, we help clients fully understand how much their injuries are worth. This means we add up special damages but also analyze how much they can receive in pain and suffering. Below, we’ll take a look at different methods of calculating the amount of these general damages.

Multiplier Method

This is probably the easiest method to understand. You add up your economic losses—medical bills, lost wages, etc.—and multiply by a certain number, usually 1 to 5.

Using this type of pain and suffering calculator in North Carolina involves analyzing how much pain and inconvenience your injuries have caused. Generally, if you suffered life-changing injuries like spinal cord damage or an amputation, you will use 5 as your multiplier. If you suffered temporary soft-tissue injuries, like a strain or sprain, you multiply by 1 or 2.

One exception is for visible disfigurement like a scar on your face. Although it might heal in a week, it can cause intense emotional distress, so you would use a higher multiplier generally.

Per Diem Method

This method asks a jury to award a victim a certain amount for each day that he or she has suffered pain or other inconvenience stemming from the accident. The amount must be based on something, and many attorneys will use the amount you make each day. So if you get paid $200 a day, a lawyer might ask for $200 that you still feel pain from the accident.

Here is an example: You break a bone and suffer other soft-tissue injuries, leaving you in pain for around 2 months, or 60 days. Your lawyer recommends you get $200 a day, which translates into $12,000 in pain and suffering damages. North Carolina law explicitly allows a victim to argue that a jury should use the per diem method in court.

Maximizing Your Pain and Suffering Compensation

Many people do not receive the full amount of pain and suffering that they deserve because they do not fully document their suffering. Jurors tend to be skeptical about pain and suffering because they can’t see it. They can see an arm in a cast, but they tend to assume victims are exaggerating how much pain they are in.

There are steps you can take to help your case:

  • Hold onto all prescription drug bottles for painkillers.
  • If you receive medication for emotional distress, like antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication, hold onto that.
  • Keep a journal in which you document your physical pain and emotions on a daily basis.

Contact an Attorney for Help

Pain and suffering can make up a large portion of any settlement. We have seen too many people leave money on the table, so let us help you build your case the correct way. Contact an attorney at Dawson & Albritton today for a free consultation.


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