Pain and suffering for a slip and fall accident injury?


How do insurance adjusters calculate pain and suffering for a slip and fall accident claim?


If you slip and fall, you may be able to make an accident claim against the owner/operator of the premises where you suffered your accident. This claim is a form of personal injury claim made under premises liability law. When you have a valid claim for a slip and fall case, one of two things is usually going to happen:

  1. You may accept a settlement offer made by the premises owner or his insurer. If you accept this offer, you waive your rights to sue based on the slip and fall in exchange for the cash awarded in the settlement
  2. You may file a lawsuit. You will need to prove your case (i.e. that you slipped and fell because of a breach of duty on the part of the premises owner and that you suffered an injury as a result). Once you have proven your case, the jury decides damages. 

Insurance Adjusters and Pain and Suffering Damages

If you do decide that accepting an out of court settlement is appropriate in your case, then it is important to know that your settlement should include compensation for economic losses (medical bills + lost income/wages) as well as for pain and suffering (and potentially other things like emotional distress as well.) These factors should be included because they'd be included in a jury verdict. 

However, putting a price on pain and suffering can be quite the challenge, so it can be helpful to know how insurance adjusters make their calculation for how to award pain and suffering. While this might vary from adjuster to adjuster, there are a few possibilities for how an adjuster decides what is appropriate:

  • A multiplier, called a "pain multiplier" may be used. Essentially, this involves multiplying economic losses you suffered times a set number between 1.5 and 5 (depending on the severity of your injuries). This can allow the adjuster to arrive at an estimated amount for pain and suffering
  • A per diem calculation can be used, where it is determined how much your pain is worth each day and then this number is multiplied by the amount of days you endured pain. 

These are just two of the possible methods used. The key thing to remember is just because the insurer uses a method and arrives at a number doesn't mean you have to accept. You can negotiate, and you can also assess the strength of your case and decide if going to court is the right choice.

Of course, these assessments are not things you should do yourself. It is always in your best interests to hire a lawyer when making an accident claim as your lawyer can fully explain your legal rights and help you to get the compensation you deserve.