FAQ: How Much Money Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering?

In most cases, there is no limit on how much you can sue for pain and suffering; however, there may be a cap on non-economic damages—which includes pain and suffering—for medical malpractice cases in some states.

To determine how much you should sue for pain and suffering is subjective and takes into account many different factors in order to calculate a final amount. Learn about how to calculate pain and suffering as well as the caps on these types of damages below. Contact a personal injury lawyer at The Hayden Law Firm for additional help.

How to Calculate Pain and Suffering?

Understandably, the term “pain and suffering” can be pretty vague. In a personal injury case, most of us understand the concept of “pain” and therefore getting compensation for the physical pain you endured; however, “suffering” is subjective, wide-ranging, and may include several non-tangible emotional injuries that cultivate over time, often in ways we would never expect. This often includes compensation for mental anguish and emotional distress, in which both may manifest as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Insomnia
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Loss of appetite

Emotional injuries are far less black and white than physical injuries. Two people can be involved in the same type of accident and suffer the same exact injuries, but one person may suffer more emotionally than the other. So how do you possibly quantify this?

While there may be no calculator or equation for determining the dollar amount, there are certain methods that can be used to help you understand the approximate value of your pain and suffering.

These include:

  • Multiplier Method – This method is based on the belief that the higher the combined costs of medical treatment, lost wages, and property damage, the more severe your pain and suffering is likely to be. When you add up all of those costs, you multiply it by a number between one and five. This “multiplier” will be lower or higher depending on the severity of your injuries, the amount of time you need to recover, and other circumstances. For example, a truck crash multiplier might be up to five while a small fender bender may only be two.
  • Per Diem – This method involves generating monetary figure for every day that you had to live with the pain and suffering caused by the accident— or in other words, a “daily rate” for your suffering.

While these formulas and rules of thumb exist, in the end it is up to you and your attorney to ask for an amount that you feel comfortable walking away with and is adequate for your losses.

Caps On How Much You Can Sue for Pain and Suffering

Once again, some states have limits to the amount you can ask for non-economic damages—which includes pain and suffering—in medical malpractice cases.

In the case of Missouri law, Senate Bill 239 was signed into law in 2015 and caps the amount of non-economic damages between $400,000 to $700,000, adjusted annually by 1.7% every year to account for inflation. Illinois, on the other hand, has no caps on both economic and non-economic damages.

While caps are meant to keep awards under control and reduce the potential for abuse, they may also limit recovery available to those who are legitimately suffering from pain or emotional distress. At The Hayden Law Firm, we believe that if a victim is severely injured or dies because of someone else’s negligent behavior, the victim or their family should be awarded to the maximum extent of the law for the pain and suffering. Contact us to fight for everything you’re owed.


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