How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated in Kentucky?
Pain and suffering can be a confusing part of a personal injury claim. It is a broad category of damages, or financial compensation, that looks different to each plaintiff. Placing a value on pain and suffering is difficult, as this is an intangible type of loss with no specific dollar amount. It is critical, however, to fight for the pain and suffering damages that you deserve as the victim of an accident in Kentucky. Find out how pain and suffering is typically calculated to better understand the value of your claim.
What Goes Into a Pain and Suffering Award?
The first thing to know is what the courts classify as pain and suffering. It can refer to any negative feelings, emotions or personal outcomes that result from having to endure the trauma of an accident and the pain of an injury. These losses can include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental suffering
- Psychological trauma
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Trouble sleeping
- Depression or anxiety
- Diminished enjoyment of life
- Inability to engage in favor hobbies or activities
- Grief over losing a loved one
- Loss of consortium
Pain and suffering does not only refer to what the victim has experienced so far but intangible losses that are foreseeable in the future, as well. If an injury is so serious that it causes permanent disability and a lifetime of related pain and suffering, the victim can generally recover greater financial compensation for years of potential losses.
Placing a Value on Someone’s Pain and Suffering
Calculating pain and suffering is a complicated task. Unlike specific or economic damages, such as medical bills and lost income, pain and suffering doesn’t have a set dollar amount. Instead, its value is determined by the courts based on how much the accident and injury impacted the victim. These calculations can change from case to case, as they are at a jury’s discretion. However, two equations are most commonly used:
- The Multiplier Method. This takes the victim’s full amount of economic damages and multiplies it by a number chosen based on the severity of the victim’s injuries, from 1.5 to 5. For example, if a victim is given $100,000 in economic damages and a multiplier of 3, he or she would receive $300,000 in pain and suffering. This method is most often used in cases involving long-term, catastrophic or permanent injuries.
- The Per Diem Method. This equation assigns a dollar amount in daily pain and suffering to the victim (typically matching his or her daily wage) and multiplies it by the number of days the victim will foreseeably experience these losses. For example, if a victim receives $120 in per diem pain and suffering and is projected to recover from an injury in six weeks (42 days), noneconomic damages will equal $5,040. This equation is more common for short-term injuries.
Note that a jury does not have to use one or either of these calculation methods. The courts have the right to assign a value that they deem appropriate in pain and suffering damages to each plaintiff – if any – during personal injury lawsuits. While a judge can override a jury’s decision in special cases, this is uncommon. The freedom to assign a fair amount in pain and suffering that belongs to a jury is one of the reasons it is difficult to estimate the value of a pain and suffering award accurately.
Does Kentucky Have a Damage Cap on Pain and Suffering?
No, there is currently no damage cap on pain and suffering awards in Kentucky. This means that no state law limits the amount of financial compensation that an accident victim can receive in noneconomic damages. The best way to maximize your financial recovery for pain and suffering after an accident is by hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer to represent you. A lawyer can help you gather proof of pain and suffering and negotiate for fair and full compensation.