Getting into any sort of accident is undoubtedly distressing. Being injured as a result of that incident can cause the distress to elevate, particularly if you find yourself unable to work, in pain, and facing a permanent disability. In these instances, arriving at the proper amount of monetary compensation is critical. The monies collected as a result of your injury may be necessary to cover your future medical bills and loss of employment income.

The amount awarded is usually determined by the level of pain and suffering the injured individual is in due to the accident. Therefore, it is important to understand what pain and suffering actually is. By definition pain and suffering means, “physical and/or emotional stress associated with an accident and the injuries caused by it.” This can include many injuries, the most common of which can include;

  • Broken bones
  • Scarring
  • Burns
  • Ongoing soft tissue injuries
  • Surgeries and the pain associated with recovery
  • Permanent loss of function to any area of the body
  • Internal damage
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

There are two types of pain and suffering. That which is current and can be easily calculated and that which can continue into the future. Calculating future pain and suffering can be more difficult as there is often a great deal of uncertainty as to the ongoing level of pain a person will be in and for how long it will last.

In addition, there are two ways in which pain and suffering can be calculated. Initially, the insurance company or the jury (if you go to trial) will assess your individual damages. These are damages that are easily calculated based upon your medical bills, actual lost time from work, property damage and other out of pocket expenses that receipts exist for.

The second form of damages that will be assessed are called general damages. General damages are more subjective and therefore more difficult to calculate. General damages include those injuries that are less tangible, such as experiencing depression and/or anxiety or stress due to the accident. Physical pain is also included in general damages and often cannot be objectively measured, but rather, can only be determined via your own description. This can range from minor discomforts to chronic pain.

There are two methods for calculating general damages. The first is the Multiple Method. This method takes into account your special damages and then multiplies them by a number between 1 – 5. The more significant your injuries, the higher multiplier you will want to use.

Factors that are taken into consideration when determining a multiplier include;

  1. The level of fault of the other party
  2. The medical evidence of your injuries
  3. The level of pain you are experiencing
  4. The severity of both your diagnosis and your treatment
  5. The expected level of ongoing future treatment you will need
  6. The level of permanent impairment you will suffer
  7. The type of permanent impairment you will suffer
  8. The length of your recovery
  9. The medical opinions of your physicians regarding your future prognosis

The second method used for calculating general damages is known as the Per Diem rate. Using this method calculation are made using the number of days you are expected to live in pain or a compromised state. The insurance company, or a jury, will determine how many days you are expected to be in ongoing pain or discomfort. They then apply your daily rate of pay to the equation and multiply the days of pain by your rate of pay per day.

It can be difficult to decide which method to use to calculate pain and suffering. In such instances, it is best to speak with an attorney who specializes in the use of both of these calculations and allow them to advise you as to which is most beneficial and fair for your circumstances.

In New South Wales there are a couple of parameters that are placed on the calculation of pain and suffering. In accordance with the NSW Regulatory Authority, you are able to recover for pain and suffering and the loss of enjoyment of life. However, your injuries must be permanent in nature and you must experience a loss in excess of 10% of your capacities. As of October 2016, the maximum allowable award for pain and suffering is $521,000.

As the issue of pain and suffering can be both significantly personal and terrifically complicated it is important to have strong, reliable and accurate medical evidence and treatment. In addition, it is very necessary that you seek the legal advice of those attorneys who deal in this area of law as a specialty.

If you find yourself in need of such assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the law offices of Owen Hodge, we are always happy to assist clients in understanding the full ramifications of any and all of your legal needs. Please feel free to call us at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation at 1800 780 770.