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How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated in Oregon?

How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated in Oregon?

After an accident, you may sustain severe injuries that require medical attention and ongoing treatment, such as physical therapy. You may also miss work due to your recovery, leading to lost income and job benefits. Most people know they can pursue these types of monetary losses by filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. 

However, did you know you can also seek compensation for certain non-financial losses, such as pain and suffering? Below we discuss what qualifies as pain and suffering damages in Oregon and how to calculate and prove them. 

What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?

Accident victims can seek compensation for their economic and non-economic damages. “Damages” refer to the actual losses or harm suffered by the plaintiff, and they must be proven. 

Economic damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, out-of-pocket costs, and other financial losses.

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, account for the physical, emotional, and psychological impact of an accident and injuries, including pain and suffering. These losses are subjective, making them more challenging to value and prove.

Pain and suffering damages can encompass the following: 

  • Physical discomfort
  • Chronic pain 
  • Mental suffering
  • Cognitive changes or alterations in your mood
  • Psychological trauma 
  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Loss of companionship 

For example, a car accident victim sustains a brain injury, leading to extensive medical bills and expenses. They also suffer from various symptoms, including persistent migraines, memory problems, and depression. These symptoms prevent them from working and negatively impact their interpersonal relationships and enjoyment of life. 

If the victim files a personal injury claim, they can pursue compensation for their economic losses resulting from the collision. They can also seek pain and suffering damages for their chronic pain, new mental disorder, and diminished quality of life due to their inability to work or maintain relationships with friends and family.

Methods Used To Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages

Putting a dollar value on pain and suffering isn’t an easy process. There are “pain and suffering calculators” available online, but they won’t factor in the unique aspects of your case. 

Every personal injury claim must be closely evaluated based on specific facts and circumstances, including: 

  • The severity of the victim’s injuries and their long-term consequences
  • The various ways the victim’s injuries impact their daily life, including their ability to care for themself, earn a living, and enjoy activities 
  • The victim’s age and life expectancy 
  • The strength of the available evidence
  • The victim’s credibility and testimony

Using these factors and the methods outlined below, you can better understand how to value pain and suffering. 

Multiplier Method 

If the multiplier method is used, you must first assess the value of your economic damages. That value is multiplied by a number – typically between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of your injuries and the factors discussed above.

For example, you incurred $100,000 in economic losses after a pedestrian accident that caused a spinal cord injury. If a multiplier of 5 is used, you may be awarded up to $500,000 in non-economic damages. 

Per Diem Method 

Under the per diem method, a daily value is multiplied by the number of days you suffered between the accident date and the day you reached maximum medical improvement. The daily value may be based on your income or the abovementioned factors. 

For example, if the assigned value is $240 per day and it took 90 days for you to recover, your non-economic damages would be $21,600. 

How Do You Prove Pain and Suffering Damages? 

Once you or your attorney has calculated your pain and suffering damages, you must also prove them. 

This requires gathering crucial evidence, which might include: 

  • Medical records
  • Photographs and videos of your injuries 
  • Statements from your healthcare providers regarding your prognosis and mental health
  • Expert witness testimony regarding your injury, how it generally affects a person’s life, and the financial and emotional impact 
  • Statements from your family and friends regarding your quality of life after the accident 
  • Journal entries and other documentation of how your injury has impacted your everyday life

The more evidence you collect to prove your pain and suffering, the better your chances of recovering full and fair compensation. 

Take daily photos of your injuries (if you can see them) and document your thoughts and feelings. Note any issues or limitations you encounter due to your physical and emotional pain and suffering. Ask your family members to do the same. 

Document any inconveniences you run into or challenges you face after your accident. Keep track of your appointments with physicians, physical therapists, psychologists, and other specialists you visit. This evidence will help your attorney build your case and ensure that you receive an amount that fully compensates you.

Is There a Limit on Non-Economic Damages in Oregon? 

Oregon law currently limits the amount of non-economic damages in wrongful death cases to $500,000. 

However, the courts and legislature have been arguing over this statutory cap for years. The limitation included personal injury cases in the past, but that was recently ruled unconstitutional.

A Portland Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Calculate and Prove Your Pain and Suffering Damages

Identifying, calculating, and proving non-economic damages like pain and suffering isn’t straightforward. Accident victims who attempt to handle their case alone frequently receive far less compensation than they could obtain with an attorney’s help. 

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Portland, OR, you likely have many questions. Tillmann Law Personal Injury Lawyers offers a free consultation to discuss your case and answer any questions you have. Give us a call at (503) 272-8986.

Contact our Portland personal injury attorneys today to discuss your injuries and the damages you can seek for them. We’ll assess your economic and non-economic damages and fight for the compensation you deserve. 

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