Category: Personal Injury Posted on Jul 19, 2017

How is Compensation for Pain and Suffering Determined After a Car Accident?

Under Connecticut law, car accident victims are entitled to recover compensation for the full value of their damages from the at fault party. This means that injured victims can seek financial recovery for both monetary losses, such as medical bills, and for noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. While determining the value of a hospital bill is straightforward, it is more challenging to put a dollar figure on pain and suffering.

Pain and Suffering Compensation

Two Ways to Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages in Connecticut

In Connecticut, courts give the parties some flexibility on how to calculate damages. Two that are used are the multiplier method and the per diem method. Neither of these methods use a clear mathematical formula. Instead, they set up a basic structure to put a value on a fundamentally intangible loss.

The Multiplier Method

The multiplier method is more common. It begins with the court adding up the car accident victim’s economic damages. This includes losses like medical costs and lost wages. Then, the court will use a multiplier (generally between one and five) to get to the value of the victim’s pain and suffering losses. For example, if a car accident victim sustained a broken leg in a crash, racking up $15,000 in total economic damages in the process, the court may select a multiplier of ‘2’ to assess their pain and suffering damages. This entitles the victim to $15,000 multiplied by 2, or $30,000, for their pain and suffering damages. This would be awarded on top of the victim’s economic losses. When selecting a multiplier, courts will look at many different factors, including the severity of the victim’s injuries, the disruption that was caused to their life and their anticipated recovery time.

The Per Diem Method

Less frequently used, the per diem method of calculating pain and suffering damages is usually reserved for short-term injury claims. With this method, the court will put a dollar figure on each day that the victim has to live with the pain and suffering. Then that figure is multiplied by the total number of days that the victim is expected to need to make a full recovery. For example, a court might award a victim $100 per day in pain and suffering damages and assess that they will need 30 days to recover. In that case, $3,000 in pain and suffering compensation would be awarded.

There are No Damage Caps in Connecticut

Unlike many other states, Connecticut has no caps on pain and suffering damages. Many jurisdictions have put in legal caps that limit the amount of noneconomic damages that a victim can recover after an accident. Connecticut has no damages cap, so an injured victim can seek compensation for the full value of their pain and suffering from the responsible insurance company.

Bruce Stanger

My litigation experience includes family law, divorce, product liability, construction law, professional negligence, shareholder disputes, medical malpractice, legal malpractice, and general commercial litigation.