How Does Compensation For Emotional Damages Get Calculated in Personal Injury Cases?

June 15, 2022 Posted In Personal Injury

After a personal injury accident, victims are entitled to damages for their physical injury but also any emotional harm they suffered. However, calculating emotional damages can be complicated since they are personal losses rather than financial. 

How Emotional Damages are Calculated

Your accident attorney in San Bernardino, an insurance company, or a jury will often use one of the following two methods to calculate emotional damages:

Multiplier Method

This method is the more commonly used of the two. First, the economic damages are totaled—past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, diminished earning capacity, and property damage. That amount is then multiplied by a number typically between 1.5 and 5. The more severe your injury, the higher the multiplier. 

Per Diem Approach

This method assigns a dollar amount to each day the victim suffers from their injury up until they recover. Frequently, the amount used is the person’s daily wages. 

Insurers and juries are not required by law to calculate emotional damages in these ways. Occasionally, an insurance company will use a software program’s sophisticated algorithm to come up with a settlement offer that includes emotional harm. 

Factors in Calculating Emotional Damages

A variety of factors will also be taken into account when calculating emotional damages, including the severity of your symptoms and the type. For example: 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia 
  • Humiliation
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of appetite
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Insomnia
  • Sexual dysfunction


  • Whether your daily life has been altered or limited, and how. 
  • If your relationships have been impacted.
  • Whether you are able to sleep and if other lifestyle activities have changed.
  • Your expected length of recovery and whether your emotional state or injuries are permanent. 
  • If your life expectancy has potentially been shortened. 

The more severe your symptoms and their impact on your daily life, the higher your award for emotional damages will typically be.  

How to Prove Emotional Damages

Calculating emotional damages is difficult, but proving them can be even harder. The reason is there is rarely extensive documentation to establish financial losses related to emotional distress that require reimbursement. However, taking these steps will be critical to proving your case: 

  • Seek medical treatment for any psychological symptoms immediately and continue any follow-up care recommended by the healthcare provider you see. Medical records and physician notes are vital to verifying your suffering and that you are in treatment. 
  • Keep copies of any therapy bills or receipts for prescription medications.
  • Write down your daily symptoms in a journal, as well as how they impact your routine and activities. 
  • Gather records of any missed work caused by your symptoms of emotional distress. 
  • Statements or testimony from your attending physician, therapist, family or friends will verify your symptoms and how they impact your life. 

Working with a skilled San Bernardino Personal Injury Attorney will significantly increase your chances of bringing a successful claim. They have the resources necessary to gather the evidence you need and help you build a solid case.

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