You can recover for pain and suffering in most Indiana personal injury cases.   Pain and suffering can be very “subjective” in the sense that it is hard to value.  How do you calculate a dollar amount for pain and suffering in Indiana?    Pain and suffering can be calculated in a few different ways.   This is a very emotional and difficult subject.  Remember, it is a subject that effects people lives.   It’s not just about numbers, we will do our best to discuss it.

At-fault parties are required not to just compensate you for “conventional” damages (special damages), such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.   They must also compensate you for what is termed “general damages.”  These general damages are things such as pain and suffering, stress and anxiety, and emotional distress.   

Pain and Suffering Calculation: The “Mathematical” Method

Because it is so difficult to determine a fair value for pain and suffering, insurance companies and courts have unofficially defaulted many times to a “mathematical” method for determining pain and suffering.  It is important to point out, however, that this more “mathematical” approach is not always perfect.   It is only a starting point in many cases.   
The most important part of the pain and suffering “calculation” is many times the total amount of the medical bills.   Usually, this amount is multiplied by another number (usually between 1.2 and 3.5) to determine how much should be awarded for pain and suffering.   The number chosen is usually correlated to the severity of the pain involved (as example, compound bone breaks and 3rd degree burns ranging in the much higher end).    The results of these calculations are, unfortunately, very impersonal.   This is also a simplification of the calculation process: there are many calculation methods.

Pain and Suffering: Using a More “Subjective” Approach

In many cases, “calculation” is a wholly insufficient approach to figure out pain and suffering.   Other factors are also taken into consideration.  These other factors are based on a more emotional or “common-sense” approach.  Juries take all factors into consideration when calculating compensation.  Insurance companies do as well.
Obviously, a higher award will be given for an automobile accident where the automobile was badly mangled.   Other factors such as the “likeability” of the injured party and how personal the loss was – these have a strong effect on pain and suffering awards.   Other factors such as permanent injury, impairments, and the strength of liability – these all also play a factor.

Pain and Suffering is Very Different on Each Case

Each personal injury case is very different.  In Indiana pain and suffering awards, general principles and calculations can apply.  Remember, ultimately we are dealing with people who were placed into bad situations many times by their injuries.   Each person needs to be respected and compensated on a personal, individually-focused basis, making a generic “calculation” ill-equipped to handle most cases.


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