How Are Pain & Suffering Damages Calculated in Texas?
Personal injury plaintiffs in Texas can pursue pain and suffering damages following an accident. However, unlike economic damages that can be calculated using pay stubs and receipts, it can be difficult to quantify the actual value of an individual's pain and suffering. For this reason, Texas simplifies the process and utilizes a simple multiplier scale when pain and suffering damages are awarded in a judgment.
What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?
Pain and suffering is a broad term that encompasses any physical or emotional distress you suffer following a car accident, slip and fall accident, work accident, etc. Common types of pain and suffering include the inability to enjoy activities due to physical limitations or discomfort. It includes loss of companionship if a relationship or marriage ends as a result of the accident, or if a spouse dies in the accident. It includes fear, such as fear of driving or engaging in activities that remind the individual of the accident, or PTSD that causes the individual to suffer flashbacks of the accident.
The Texas Multiplier
Unsurprisingly, it's difficult to put a dollar figure on pain and suffering. This is why Texas uses the multiplier method. This is achieved by adding up the value of the economic damages that are calculable. This can include medical bills, lost income, interest paid on past-due mortgages, pharmacy bills, rehabilitation expenses, the cost of adaptive living aids, etc.
Adding everything up creates the sum total of the individual's economic losses. At this point, the court applies a simple multiplier that ranges from 1.5 to 5. For minor injuries, such as broken bones, light burns, lacerations, etc. that required minimal medical care and are expected to leave no lasting injury, the court will take the total and multiply it by 1.5. So, if your economic loss was $1000, you could expect $1500 for a pain and suffering award.
For injuries that require physical therapy or cause chronic pain, 4 is the most commonly used multiplier. Finally, if the injuries were life-changing, or life-threatening, the multiplier used is 5. If you incurred $1 million in economic damages, then you could potentially receive $5 million for pain and suffering. However, there is a caveat to the multiplier method. If it's a medical malpractice claim, then pain and suffering damages are capped at $250,000.
Contact Welmaker Injury Law at (210) 828-6033 for more information about pain and suffering damages in Texas. It is our pleasure to answer your questions and to represent you as you pursue your claim.