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What is the pain and suffering multiplier?

If you sustained injuries in a serious accident, you may live with substantial pain and emotional suffering. If you do, the law entitles you to recover compensation for pain and suffering.

The law considers pain and suffering a non-economic damage, meaning it does not have a “fair market value.” Rather, pain and suffering is subjective, making calculating compensation for it difficult. To help with the valuation process, insurers came up with a technique. According to FindLaw, they refer to this technique as “The Multiplier Method.”

The Multiplier Method

To use the multiplier method, insurers add up all the actual damages, or economic damages, and multiply that number by a number between 1.5 and five. In more severe cases, insurers may multiply the total economic damages by six or seven. The number by which insurers multiply the damages is called “the multiplier.” The multiplier denotes the degree of pain and suffering you may have endured because of the damages you sustained.

For example, say insurers determine that your pain and suffering warrants a multiplier of four. The value of your actual damages is $100,000. In this case, your pain and suffering award may be as high as $400,000.

Factors for Determining the Multiplier

Insurers and other deciding parties consider several factors when setting a multiplier. The most common factors they consider are as follows:

  • The egregiousness of the other party’s actions
  • The severity of your injuries and damages
  • How clearly you can demonstrate your pain and suffering via verified documents
  • The length of your period of recovery

If you hope to receive a higher multiplier, it is crucial that you present a strong case. If you cannot justify your multiplier, the insurance company may assign a lower multiplier or, in the worst case, deny your claim altogether. You can prevent such an outcome by seeking professional help when valuing your claim.


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