Calculating Emotional Distress Damages in Personal Injury Cases

Two crashed cars in the middle of the street

Personal Injury Damages

You can pursue a personal injury settlement when you’re the victim of someone’s negligence. This compensation may include tangible damages with actual receipts, such as medical bills or salary cuts, and intangible or non-economic damages, like mental anguish caused by PTSD, grief, phobia, insomnia, and so on.

While the former is easier to calculate due to paperwork, the latter is a whole different ballgame and may vary based on whether it was intentional or caused by negligence and the experience of your litigation and trial attorney.

Types of Emotional Distress

Unlike other states, you can actually seek compensation for emotional distress in the state of California, whether it was caused by a physical injury or not.

It’s divided into two types:

1. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED)

If you sue them for an IIED, you’ll have to express that the guilty party acted outrageously, rashly, and recklessly, knowing their actions would cause you distress, shame, and embarrassment.

2. Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (NIED)

NIED claims are extremely specific because you have to prove that the guilty party was careless in their actions, but that’s not all. You also have to draw a clear correlation between those careless actions and your mental anguish.

Silhouette of a Woman Being Hit from Behind by A Car Driven by A Different Woman

Calculating Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering are abstract and differ from person to person. They’re not biological, although they may lead to a biological issue, and one cannot put a price on them.

Even so, here are the most commonly employed calculation methods:

1. Multiplier Method

As the name suggests, attorneys and insurance providers multiply the economic damages by 1.5 to 5 times to settle emotional distress claims. This system is more complicated than it sounds as it adds all medical bills—past and future—with financial damages and multiplies them by the multiplier number

2. Per Diem Method

The per diem method is much simpler than the multiplier method because it takes things one day at a time instead of calculating future costs in the present. Under per diem, the lawyer for the claimant and insurance provider settle on an amount, to be paid per day until the victim gets better.

Hire a Car Accident Attorney in Chico

A good settlement is one where no rights are reneged upon, and no violation of someone’s rights goes unpenalized. Even if you know the law book inside and out, you need a competent attorney to help you reach the best possible accident claim settlement, be it inside or outside the courtroom.


We also have lawyers on hand to mediate cases related to family law and wills, trusts, and probates whose services you can employ to contest your case.

Reach out to our general practice firm for legal advice.


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