How Are Noneconomic Damages for Mental Anguish Calculated?

Published on Jun 11, 2024 at 6:36 pm in Personal Injury.

Two assessments occur with any severe accident: Who is at fault, and what will the remedy be for the victim? That reward is where the concept of pain and suffering comes into play. Compensation for an injury encompasses physical and emotional trauma. It is easy to assess the medical expenses, but how are noneconomic damages for mental anguish calculated in Kentucky? That depends on several factors and documentation.

Noneconomic Damages Vs. Economic Damages

An injury can happen on the highway or in a grocery store. It can even occur in the exam room of a once-trusted medical professional whose neglect causes harm. No matter the cause of the harm, the compensation will be categorized as either noneconomic or economic. Often, it will be both.

A simple way to understand the scope of economic damages due to an accident is to consider all the corresponding bills. You can have invoices for the following expenses:

  • ER visit
  • Doctor exam follow-ups
  • Prescription medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Lost wages
  • Travel costs, such as medical transportation

Pain and suffering falls into the category of noneconomic damages. These aren’t just physical issues (the pain) but also the emotional trauma (the suffering) of accident recovery. Here are some of the factors to consider for calculating that mental anguish:

  • Physical trauma and pain: There can be pain from the initial incident, recovery from immediate surgery, and ongoing stress. That can lead to physical therapy treatments that last for months or a lifetime. In other words, you could carry that pain for a long time.
  • Emotional distress: This can include various mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. All of that can stem from an accident.
  • Embarrassment: An accident can leave behind a scar or other type of disfigurement. That impacts the victim’s self-image and can lead them to avoid going out in public over fear of being pitied or ridiculed.
  • Sleep Disruption: The pain associated with an injury can prevent a good night’s sleep. That affects every aspect of a person’s daily life.
  • Grief: If the accident involves a fatality, the surviving family members will carry the burden of that loss. For some, that can be insurmountable.
  • Loss of simple pleasures: A debilitating injury can make it challenging to enjoy simple pleasures like walking, running, or traveling.
  • Diminished consortium: In addition to impacting a person’s sleep cycles, accident recovery can also affect a person’s ability to be intimate with their partner. That can lead to fractures in relationships and the family.

Calculating Noneconomic Damages

It is challenging to come up with a number for pain and suffering compensation because it is hard to quantify. This is why it is important to work with experienced attorneys like the ones at the Peterson Law Office. We understand the nature of these types of damages and approach the calculation using one of the following two methods:

The Per-Diem Formula

Per diem comes from the Latin meaning “for each day.” Under this method, your average daily earnings from your job before the accident will be the determining factor. You will be paid that per-diem amount for every day that the injury keeps you from working. That compensation can extend to future work if your injury prevents you from permanently returning to work.

The Multiplier Method

The multiplier method is an alternative approach for calculating a remedy for mental anguish. With this option, the insurance company paying the claim will assign you a number or a multiplier. That number is typically between one and five and will be based on the severity of your injuries. The more severe the pain, the higher the multiplier will be.

Once the multiplier has been established, it will be applied to your losses. For instance, suppose you broke a hip in an accident and have a multiplier of 3. If your lost wages are $50,000, that will be multiplied by 3, and your final award will be $150,000.

No matter which method is applied, you will need to provide sufficient documentation to determine the final amounts. Here is some of the evidence you’ll need to present:

  • Medical records
  • Your testimony of the changes in your life
  • Statements from friends and family
  • Expert medical testimony

Damages Limits in Kentucky

Many states cap the total amount of reward a person can receive for noneconomic damages in a personal injury case. Fortunately, Kentucky does not have those limitations, with one exception. However, Kentucky does have a “no-fault” insurance system in place, also referred to as Personal Insurance Protection (PIP). That coverage will pay individuals up to $10,000 for medical expenses and up to $200 per week for lost wages.

With this coverage, there can be no lawsuit brought by you or against you unless the following thresholds are met:

  • Medical expenses that are more than $1,000
  • A broken bone
  • A permanent injury
  • Fatality

In other words, with a severe accident and the support of qualified legal representation, you can move forward with your claim.

If your personal injury lawsuit is against the government or government employees, there is a cap of $250,00 per claim. Those claims will fall under the jurisdiction of the Kentucky Claims Commission.

Time To File

Every state also has a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit. In Kentucky, you have one year from the date of the accident to file a claim. If you miss the filing deadline, you will not be entitled to any compensation.

That is why you need to seek out the support of a qualified legal team like ours at Peterson Law Office. We are proud of our track record of positive outcomes for our clients who suffered injury from car and truck accidents, slip and fall incidents, and medical malpractice. You do not have to wait until you recover from an accident to file a claim. That process can begin when you call us to schedule a free consultation.


Legal & Firm News

What Are the Elements of Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim?

A lot of personal injury claims can become quite complex early on in the process and one of the main reasons for this is the need to prove negligence. Proving negligence caused an accident can be the deciding factor in the success of some cases, such as in a wrongful death claim, or if the […]

Read More

How Are Noneconomic Damages for Mental Anguish Calculated?

Two assessments occur with any severe accident: Who is at fault, and what will the remedy be for the victim? That reward is where the concept of pain and suffering comes into play. Compensation for an injury encompasses physical and emotional trauma. It is easy to assess the medical expenses, but how are noneconomic damages […]

Read More

The Importance of Safely Restraining Your Pet While Driving

When it comes time to travel on the road, you might want to bring along your pet. While having your dog, cat, or other animals roaming around the vehicle may seem fun, it can pose a great safety risk. Sometimes, animals behave unexpectedly when exposed to other vehicles, the noise of the car, or other […]

Read More