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How Is Pain and Suffering of the Decedent Determined in a Wrongful Death Case?

When people file wrongful death lawsuits after the loss of loved ones, they can get compensation for many types of damages, including medical expenses, burial costs, lost wages, loss of companionship, and more.

Most of the damages that surviving family members receive in wrongful death lawsuits are designed to compensate them for their losses after their loved ones’ deaths.

However, there’s one type of damage that family members can receive that’s specifically to compensate them for what their loved ones went through before they died: pain and suffering damages.

Here’s how pain and suffering damages are determined in wrongful death cases.

First, the Pain and Suffering the Deceased Experienced Are Determined

People who die as a result of others’ negligence may continue to live for long periods of time after becoming injured or developing fatal illnesses before eventually succumbing. During that time, they may experience severe pain and suffering that can dramatically impact their lives.

In order for their loved ones to receive pain and suffering damages, it must first be determined exactly what types of pain and suffering they experienced before they died.

Some of the types of pain and suffering that people who were harmed by others’ negligence may experience before they pass away include:

  • Physical and emotional pain
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Impaired cognition
  • Inability to enjoy hobbies or relationships with friends and family
  • And more

Determining exactly what your loved one experienced before they passed away may require using their own words, their medical records, and expert testimony from doctors and other healthcare professionals who handle the types of injuries or illnesses your loved one suffered.

At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, we work hard to collect all evidence to paint a clear picture of exactly what your loved one went through before they died.

Next, the Pain and Suffering Damages Are Calculated

Unlike damages for things like medical bills and lost wages, determining how much money wrongful death victims’ families deserve for their pain and suffering isn’t easily calculated.

Instead of tallying up an exact figure, pain and suffering damages in wrongful death claims are often calculated by using one of two methods.

The Multiplier Method

This method involves multiplying the victim’s economic damages (which can include medical bills, lost wages, and property damage) by a number between 1.5 and 5 to determine how much money their family is owed. The higher the number, the more pain and suffering the victim is likely to have experienced before they died. For example, the families of victims who suffered catastrophic injuries such as amputation or paralysis before death may be awarded pain and suffering damages based on a multiplier of 4 or 5.

The Per Diem Method

This method involves establishing a per diem (or per day) monetary award for the pain and suffering the victim experienced before they died and then multiplying it by the number of days the victim lived after their accident or injury.

Insurance Companies Are Reluctant to Pay Fair Pain and Suffering Damages

Insurers are always looking for ways to reduce or deny settlements, and damages for pain and suffering in wrongful death claims are no exception.

When victims’ families and their lawyers push for the multiplier method for obtaining compensation, insurance companies often argue for the lowest possible multiplier for calculating damages. And when the per diem method is chosen, they argue for the lowest per diem rate.

Although the multiplier method is more commonly used when calculating pain and suffering, both methods require experienced and aggressive legal representation to maximize the chances of getting full and fair compensation.

Our Oklahoma Wrongful Death Lawyers Want to Help You Get Maximum Compensation for Your Loss

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences in life. It can be even worse when their death was preventable and their injuries or illness caused them to experience significant pain and suffering before they passed away.

At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, we believe the family members of wrongful death victims deserve full compensation for what they’ve experienced during and after the loss of their loved ones—including pain and suffering on their loved ones’ behalf.

Contact our Oklahoma wrongful death attorneys anytime for a free case review. You need an experienced and aggressive law firm during this difficult time of your life, and we aren’t afraid to push insurance companies to do the right thing when grieving families need and deserve compensation.