A Guide to Calculating Damages in Personal Injury Cases

Calculating damages in personal injury cases might seem a bit tricky, but fear not! Whether you’re a lawyer championing for your client or going solo through the legal maze, it’s vital to grasp how to tally up those damages. So, in this guide, let’s dive into the various types of damages, what factors come into play when figuring them out, and the nifty methods that help nail down the final amount.

1. Types of Damages

There are various types of damages that can be awarded in a personal injury case. They can be broadly categorized into two main groups:

Special Damages

Special damages, also known as economic damages, are the quantifiable financial losses that a plaintiff has suffered as a result of the injury. These damages typically include:

  • Medical Expenses: This includes all medical costs associated with the injury, such as hospital bills, doctor visits, prescription medications, physical therapy, and future medical needs. [1]
  • Lost Wages: Compensation for the income lost due to being unable to work, including any potential future loss of earning capacity. [2]
  • Property Damage: If any personal property was damaged or lost as a direct result of the injury, the plaintiff may be entitled to compensation for its repair or replacement.

General Damages

General damages, also known as non-economic damages, are the intangible losses that are more difficult to quantify. These damages may include:

  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life caused by the injury.
  • Loss of Consortium: If the injury has negatively affected the plaintiff’s relationship with their spouse, they may be entitled to damages for the loss of companionship, affection, and support.
  • Loss of Enjoyment: Compensation for the loss of ability to engage in activities that the plaintiff enjoyed prior to the injury, such as hobbies or sports.
Black man on hospital bed will need to start Calculating Damages in Personal Injury Cases

2. Factors Considered in Calculating Damages

Calculating damages in personal injury cases involves considering several factors. These factors may affect the final amount. Some of these factors include:

  • Severity of the Injury: The extent of the injury and its impact on the plaintiff’s life will play a significant role. More severe injuries often result in higher damages.
  • Duration of Recovery: The length of time it takes for the plaintiff to fully recover from the injury will also be considered. Prolonged recovery periods may lead to higher damages.
  • Impact on Quality of Life: If the injury has a long-lasting impact on the plaintiff’s ability to lead a fulfilling life, the damages may be increased. This includes factors such as disability or disfigurement.
  • Comparative Negligence: In some cases, the plaintiff’s own negligence may reduce the damages they are entitled to receive.
woman in pain needs lawyer to help with Calculating Damages in Personal Injury Cases

3. Methods for Calculating Damages

There are two main methods used for calculating damages in personal injury cases:

The Multiplier Method

Multiplier method? It’s the secret sauce. Boost total special damages by multiplying with a factor, based on how severe the injury is. Mild injury? Maybe a 1.5x boost. Major? Think 5x multiplier. Math party for compensation!

The Per Diem Method

Per diem method? Your daily dose of compensation wisdom! Calculate a daily rate, multiply by days in the pain zone. Superhero for pain and suffering damages. Daily rate? Tailor-made, considering age, job, and injury details. Superpower: activated!


Calculating damages in personal injury cases is a crucial part of the legal process. It requires a careful consideration of the various types of damages, the factors that affect their calculation, and the methods used to determine the final amount. By understanding these aspects, both attorneys and individuals can effectively advocate for fair compensation.

If you find yourself involved in a personal injury case, you may be seeking the guidance of a qualified attorney. The team at John B. Jackson Law can greatly assist in navigating the complex process of calculating damages and ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.


  1. Medical Expenses – Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute
  2. Lost Wages – Legal Information Institute