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  4.  | How is pain and suffering calculated in an Ohio personal injury claim?

How is pain and suffering calculated in an Ohio personal injury claim?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Firm News

Figuring out how to quantify an injury victim’s “pain and suffering” is one of the most difficult aspects of any Ohio personal injury claim.

Unlike tangible economic losses, like medical bills, property damage and lost wages, the non-economic losses felt through someone’s pain and suffering will always be subjective. Everybody experiences pain and suffering differently. When it comes time to attach a dollar figure to an injury victim’s pain and suffering, the issue can become contentious.

How is pain and suffering defined?

Pain and suffering can refer to multiple aspects of a personal injury, including:

  • Physical pain: It hurts when someone is injured, and it hurts while they heal. Some injuries may even leave a victim with pain that will be ongoing for the rest of their lives.
  • Suffering: Emotional distress occurs after a physical injury. Accident victims often suffer from the unknown future costs of an existing injury. Folks can also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and sleep disturbances related to their trauma.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: Often times an injury temporarily or permanently robs someone of their liberty – the freedom to be independent, the freedom from pain, and the freedom to enjoy everyday activities.
  • Loss of consortium: An injury can have significant negative consequences on the relationship between a victim and their spouse or other family members.

In general, the more severe and long-lasting the injuries and the greater their impact on the victim’s life, the higher the pain and suffering.

How is pain and suffering calculated?

There is no official method for calculating pain and suffering damages in Ohio, but there are several methods that are commonly used, however we only use the “Golden Rule” method for our cases. These include:

The “Golden Rule” method

We always put ourselves in the shoes of the family or person we are representing by asking ourselves questions like the following:

  • What do I think is fair for taking away my ability to run and be active?
  • What do I think is the value of having an injured child?
  • What would I pay to be free from the pain caused in this crash?

Ultimately, the question of damages can be decided by a jury of everyday citizens who are asked to place a value on what was taken from an individual who was injured unnaturally and at no fault of his / her own.  We think the “Golden Rule” method is the only fair way to assess damages and we do not like the other methods that are often used by insurance companies and “personal injury” law firms.

The multiplier method

This common method involves tallying all the known economic damages (medical bills, lost current and future wages and so on) by a certain number – usually between 1.5 and 5. The multiplier represents the severity of the victim’s injuries and the impact those injuries had on the victim’s life.

If, for example, your economic losses total $50,000 and you are given a multiplier of 2, you would receive $100,000 for your pain and suffering on top of the $50,000 you are due for your other losses.

The per diem method

This method assigns a daily dollar value to the victim’s pain and suffering from the date of their injury until the date of either their recovery or the time they have reached maximum medical improvement. That dollar value is then multiplied by the number of days in between.

For example, if your per diem rate is valued at $250 per day and you suffer for 100 days, you would be due $25,000 for your pain and suffering in addition to the value of your economic losses.

It’s important to note that Ohio law imposes a cap on non-economic damages in certain personal injury cases. Generally, the legislative and arbitrary cap sets the maximum value of a victim’s pain and suffering at $250,000.

That cap can be lifted in cases where the victim suffered a catastrophic injury, such as the loss of a limb, a permanent substantial physical deformity, the loss of a bodily organ system, or some other physical functional injury that will prevent the victim from being able to live independently.

A final note about personal injury compensation

All personal injury awards are also subject to limits based on the defendant’s insurance coverage and economic resources. That makes it critical to identify all possible defendants in a claim, especially in complex accident claims involving commercial vehicles, multi-vehicle accidents and severe injuries. Experienced legal guidance can help you maximize your compensation.