How to Use the Per Diem Approach to Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages

After an accident – especially one that causes serious injures – it may be difficult to understand how any amount of money would help the situation. The physical and emotional trauma can take its toll.

Man Reading Letter After Receiving Neck Injury

While it is true that financial compensation cannot reverse an accident or undo the pain you may have experienced, it can help reduce the financial burden. As an innocent victim in a car accident, you may be eligible for compensation from the at-fault driver.

According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, you may be entitled to damages that cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. While health-care expenses and lost income may be easy to quantify, pain and suffering is a bit more subjective. There are generally two ways you can calculate this damage – by using either a multiplier or a daily rate, which is also known as a per diem approach.

At Kent Hazzard, LLP we can assess your accident and determine the best approach to take when recovering lost wages, medical expenses, or compensation for pain and suffering. As an experienced White Plains personal-injury attorney, Mr. Hazzard can structure your claim, handle settlement negotiations and litigate your case if it goes to court. Call us today at 914-948-4700 to schedule an appointment.

In the meantime, read on to learn how to use a daily rate to calculate pain and suffering damages:

Understanding the Per Diem Approach

There is no law that governs how plaintiffs must calculate pain and suffering damages. However, the per diem approach is a common method.

Plaintiffs who use this approach assign a specific dollar amount to each day they have lived with the pain of the accident. The exact number depends on the nature and severity of the injuries.

Determining the Daily Rate

One of the difficulties when it comes to applying a daily rate is justifying the figure that you choose. If you choose a rate that is too high, you may limit your chance of success. A rate that is too low may not provide adequate compensation.

Many people choose to use their daily earnings as a starting point when determining pain and suffering damages. The justification for this approach is that you are comparing the pain of your injuries to the losses that result from your inability to earn an income. If you suffer debilitating injuries, you will likely charge more than you would if your injuries are minor.


The per diem approach may not be suitable if you suffered a long-term or permanent injury. If you receive a fixed amount for your injury and later realize it is not sufficient, then you may have difficulties justifying additional expenses. If this is the case, then you should consult a personal-injury lawyer.

If you were in a crash and you are unsure how to calculate the damages you suffered, contact Kent Hazzard, LLP. Mr. Hazzard is a White Plains personal-injury lawyer who always puts his clients first. To schedule an appointment, call us today at 914-948-4700.

James C. Freeman ESQ
James C. Freeman ESQ
At Kent Hazzard, we are committed to integrity, excellence and personalized service while providing the highest quality comprehensive legal services. We take the time to develop and foster helping, caring relationships that benefit our clients. We set ourselves apart by taking only a limited number of cases so that our clients receive the personal and proper attention they deserve.
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