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How is Pain and Suffering Calculated in Missouri?

December 23, 2020Personal Injury

If you’ve suffered a serious personal injury in St. Louis as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation, including for your pain and suffering. However, damages for pain and suffering can’t be simply added up like an itemized bill. No two personal injury cases are exactly alike, and everyone experiences pain and suffering differently, so the value must be determined on a case-by-case basis. Which is why it is important to understand how it is calculated.

What is Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering is meant to provide compensation in recognition of a victim’s physical, mental, and emotional pain. It is an umbrella phrase that covers the following:

  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Life limitations
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress (depression, anxiety, loss of sleep, etc.)
  • Physical pain

This type of compensation is meant to make up for the pain and suffering you have experienced now from the accident, and what you will likely experience in the future. For example, a serious car accident can result in a traumatic brain injury that can have a long-term impact on your life.

Methods Used for Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages in Missouri

A computer program is used by most insurance companies to calculate pain and suffering damages. It takes into account the type and severity of your physical injuries and the type of treatment you require. Two other common methods are the multiplier method and the per diem method.

Multiplier Method

This method will multiply the total value of your economic damages (medical bills and lost wages) by a variable, typically between one and five. The number chosen will usually depend upon the severity of your injury. For example, if you sustained $7,000 in medical bills and $3,000 in lost wages, and the insurance adjuster or jury applied a multiplier of three, the value of your pain and suffering damages would be $30,000.

Per Diem Method

This approach assigns a daily dollar amount for your pain and suffering, which is then multiplied by the number of days until you reach maximum recovery.

What a Missouri Jury Might Consider

The factors that a jury may consider when it comes time to place a dollar value on your pain and suffering, are:

  • How will your daily routine be limited or altered?
  • Will relationships at home or work be impacted by the injury?
  • Has your sleep or other lifestyle activities changed?
  • Are you facing a long term disability?

Missouri does not have a cap in place on pain and suffering damages, but the amount you recover can be reduced by your percentage of fault. The state follows the rule of “pure comparative fault,” which unless your case settles, means the judge or jury sets a percentage of fault for each party. For example, if you are found 20 percent at fault for your car accident, you will recover 80 percent of your total compensation award.

We Are Here to Help

If you have any questions regarding compensation for pain and suffering in Missouri, or would like to discuss your claim, contact Goldblatt + Singer. We offer initial consultations at no cost to you, call (314) 370-2228 or feel free to fill out our online form.

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