Calculating Pain and Suffering in a Texas Personal Injury Case
If you have been injured due to someone else's negligence – such as in a car accident, in a slip and fall accident, by a defective product, or in any other kind of accident – you can seek compensation for specific damages. These include your medical expenses, your lost wages, your property damage (such as damage to your vehicle), and your pain and suffering. While the other categories are relatively straightforward, calculating losses related to your physical and emotional pain and suffering is more complicated. Let's take a closer look.
Pain and Suffering
When it comes to personal injury cases, pain and suffering refers to both the physical and emotional pain you endure due to the accident in question and the attendant damages you incur. For example, if a negligent motorist causes you to suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a car accident, you are forced to cope not only with the physical pain involved but also with the emotional fallout associated with enduring a violent accident that someone else is responsible for causing. A serious injury can leave you unable to participate in the activities that you once enjoyed and unable to perform tasks that are important to you and your family, such as transporting your children, maintaining your home, and much more.
Assigning a Value
If you miss hours on the job, it is not difficult to assign a value to that loss. Further, tallying your medical bills is not hard to do. Putting an amount on your pain and suffering, however, is much more complicated. There is no exact pricing system for pain suffered – because that simply does not make sense. Instead, the State of Texas employs what is known as a multiplier method.
The Multiplier Method
The basic multiplier method that is used in Texas works in the following manner:
Your medical expenses, lost wages, and any other economic damages will be tallied.
Your accident will be graded with a number that ranges from 1.5 to 5. If the injuries you have sustained are life-threatening or life-altering, they will be graded as a 5. The least severe injuries – that nevertheless cause pain and suffering – are graded as 1.5. Your injuries can fall anywhere within this range.
Your total damages will then be multiplied by this number (from 1.5 to 5). The result equals your compensation for pain and suffering.
In other words, the State of Texas takes your pain and suffering seriously.