How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated in Birmingham? | Belt, Bruner & Barnett Personal Injury Lawyers

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How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated in Birmingham?

Sustaining serious injuries in an accident or other personal injury incident can have life-altering consequences for the victims. In addition to medical bills, lost wages, and other monetary losses (i.e., economic damages), the injured person may experience debilitating pain and suffering damages. These damages are as real as financial losses and can be compensated through non-economic damages.

Putting a price on someone’s suffering seems like an impossible task. However, that is what the court must do to determine how much their personal injury claim is worth. Our Birmingham personal injury lawyers explain more about pain and suffering damages in this guide to help you understand how we calculate the value of your compensation for damages.

Defining Pain and Suffering Damages for an Alabama Personal Injury Case

Damages fall into one of three categories. Economic damages represent the expenses and financial losses associated with your injuries and accident. Punitive damages are awarded in a small number of personal injury lawsuits to “punish” a party for shockingly reckless conduct.

Non-economic damages represent the pain, suffering, and anguish you experience because of what has happened to you. Examples of pain and suffering damages include:

  • The physical discomfort caused by your injuries
  • The emotional distress and mental anguish you experience
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Impairments and disabling conditions
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Anxiety, PTSD, and other psychological injuries
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Embarrassment and inconvenience

Pain and suffering damages are subjective. Each person experiences injuries differently. Two people could sustain the same injury, but their experiences could be vastly different because of other factors.

Therefore, it makes valuing pain and suffering damages challenging. Alabama does not have a standard formula for calculating the value of pain and suffering damages. However, two options cover most personal injury claims.

Calculating the Value of Pain and Suffering Damages in Birmingham: The Multiplier Method and the Per Diem Method

The multiplier method is the first option for determining how much your pain and suffering damages are worth. We begin by calculating your economic damages. Our legal team works to maximize this amount because it can increase the overall value of your case substantially.

Next, we assign a multiplier to your case. The multiplier is fixed between 1.5 and five. Five would represent catastrophic pain and suffering. When choosing the multiplier, we consider the factors in your case because we need to justify the choice to the insurance company or a jury.

Factors used to assign a multiplier include:

  • The type of injuries you sustained and the medical treatments required to treat the injuries
  • The length of your recovery period
  • The type and severity of impairments and disabilities caused by the injuries
  • Your ability to return to your job or work in another field to earn income
  • The impact scarring and disfigurement had on your appearance
  • The effect your injuries have on your daily activities and personal relationships
  • Your ability to care for your personal needs, including dressing, bathing, grooming, feeding, and more
  • Whether you are able to care for your family
  • The extent to which your injuries impact your quality of life and enjoyment of living
  • Psychological injuries and conditions you developed

A general rule of thumb is the more damage, inconvenience, and impact the injuries have on your life, the higher the multiplier. We multiply the total of your economic damages by the multiplier. The result is the value of your non-economic damages.

A per diem may also be used to calculate pain and suffering. We use the above-mentioned factors to assign a daily monetary value to your suffering. That value is multiplied by how long it took you to recover from your injuries. The length of your recovery is counted from the date of injury through the date the doctor releases you from treatment.

The per diem method is used less often than the multiplier method. However, the per diem method can be helpful when the person does not sustain permanent injuries and the recovery time is minimal.

How Does Alabama’s Contributory Fault Law Impact Pain and Suffering Damages in Birmingham?

Alabama is one of four states and the District of Columbia still uses the harsh doctrine of contributory negligence for damages in personal injury cases. If a victim has any fault for causing their injuries, they are barred from receiving any compensation for damages.

It is a harsh law that can result in a tremendous burden for accident and injury victims. Our Birmingham pain and suffering attorneys fiercely fight to defend our clients against allegations of contributory fault.

Insurance companies understand the law and use it to their advantage. We strongly recommend avoiding making statements or answering questions without consulting an attorney.

How Do I Prove Pain and Suffering Damages for a Personal Injury Case in Alabama?

Pain and suffering cannot be “seen” except for some physical injuries. Instead, most of the damages are determined by self-reporting symptoms.

Our legal team works with you to gather evidence that helps prove the extent of your suffering. Evidence may include:

  • Copies of medical records
  • Statements from your doctors
  • Your testimony
  • The testimony from family members and friends
  • Photographs of your injuries throughout your recovery

We also work with experts who explain how injuries impact various aspects of a victim’s life. We build a vivid “picture” of your pain and suffering for the insurance company and jurors so they understand how much you have suffered because of another party’s negligence and wrongdoing.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Claim for Pain and Suffering Damages in Birmingham, AL?

Your claim for pain and suffering damages is part of your personal injury claim. The deadline for filing pain and suffering claims is the same as the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Most personal injury claims have a two-year statute of limitations in Alabama. However, there could be exceptions that may change the deadline. It is in your best interest to seek legal advice as soon as possible to avoid losing your right to file a claim in court.

Get Help From an Experienced Birmingham Personal Injury Lawyer

At Belt, Bruner & Barnett, PC, our Birmingham personal injury lawyers work to obtain the best possible settlement or verdict for your case. We want you to receive the money you need and deserve after suffering from a tragic accident or personal injury. Contact us now at 205-206-5088 for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.