As an injured person, you can claim two types of compensatory damages: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are specific losses you suffered in the accident, such as the exact value of medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages, or general damages, are harder to quantify. Non-economic damages refer to your pain and suffering, emotional distress, and missed life experiences and opportunities because of the injury.

You may need the assistance of a personal injury lawyer to prove pain and suffering damages, as well as to demand fair compensation from an insurance company for these losses.

Calculation Methods for Pain and Suffering

There are, in general, two main elements of pain and suffering damages: physical pain and emotional distress. The feelings you experienced because of your accident – pain, anxiety, depression, illness, sadness, humiliation, insomnia, nightmares, post-traumatic stress, etc. – are compensable losses in most insurance claims. How the insurance company calculates pain and suffering depends on the company’s protocols and the unique accident case. Most insurers, however, use one of two common formulas to calculate pain and suffering.

  1. Per diem method. The per diem method is most common with temporary injuries that have an estimated recovery date. An insurance company may take the claimant’s daily average working wage and multiply it by the number of days the victim will foreseeably have the injury to calculate per diem – ‘per day’ – pain and suffering damages.
  2. Multiplier method. An insurance company may use the multiplier method if the victim has a permanent or long-term injury. This method takes the total amount of economic damages awarded to the claimant and multiplies it by an appropriate multiplier. A minor injury might receive a multiplier of one, while a severe injury may be multiplied by four, five or more.

It is up to the insurance company how it wants to calculate your pain and suffering damages. It could use either, both or neither of these methods. The insurance company could deny your claim to pain and suffering damages outright or offer a random amount it believes is fair for your circumstances. No matter how the insurance provider calculates a pain and suffering award, you have the ability to negotiate for a fairer settlement amount before acceptance.

How to Maximize Pain and Suffering Damages

Once the Insurance Company calculates your pain and suffering damages, you will have the opportunity to stake a higher claim. You can hire an attorney to negotiate your insurance settlement on your behalf. A lawyer will know how to argue with insurance claims adjusters for the best possible case outcomes. Your attorney may be able to prove your right to greater pain and suffering damages through evidence such as expert testimony and statements from friends and family members.

If settlement negotiations are not enough to convince the insurance company to offer a greater award for serious pain and suffering, your lawyer could take your case to court in West Virginia. A personal injury trial against the defendant and his or her insurance company could end in a judgment award that forces the insurer to offer fair compensation. A personal injury verdict will generally award more compensation than an insurance settlement, especially for pain and suffering. It is a jury in a personal injury trial that determines a pain and suffering award for a victim.

Does West Virginia Have a Compensation Cap?

West Virginia currently does not have a damage cap, or a limit on the amount of compensation a victim can receive, for personal injury claims. No damage cap means your attorney could argue for as much compensation as he or she believes is reasonable to reimburse you for your losses. The total damages won in a case, therefore, could be substantial. A cap on non-economic damages does exist, however, on medical malpractice claims. No plaintiff may receive more than $500,000 in pain and suffering damages for a medical malpractice case.

Attorney Timothy Manchin established the Manchin Injury Law Group in 2011 after his law partner of more than 25 years became a West Virginia circuit court judge. His focus is on helping individual clients and entire families victimized by negligent acts.

  • Taylor Downs was easy to talk to (I do not speak the legal language well!) and was very upfront and honest about the entire process of my case. He kept me updated as the case progressed, and answered my relentless questions. The end result was a favorable settlement that I’m not sure could have been any better with anyone else. In short, go see Taylor if you have a case. Don’t be intimidated to go seek his help, he won’t blow your brains out with “legal speak”.


  • Being referred to Taylor was the best thing I could have asked for. Taylor and staff are very easy to talk to. I would highly recommend them to anyone.


  • If I ever have to go through it again I would definetly call Taylor right away. The group was so helpful through my situation and handled everything that needed to be done. They made a stressful situation a stress free situation. With Taylor you dont have to worry about one thing. Definietly would recomend to anyone.

    - TAYLOR G.

  • Efficient, knowledgeable, and friendly.


  • Taylor and Tim helped make a difficult moment in life, a little more bearable. Easy to communicate with and informative. I will absolutely recommend them to everyone.


  • Manchin Injury Law Group, Took care of me when I got into a car accident while I was pregnant. Very scary moment for a first time mom but thankfully Manchin Injury Law Group had my back and treated me great. They made me feel as if I was part of their family. My son is now 7 Months Old and very happy and healthy. I’m very thankful for them for helping me through everything and getting me what we deserved. I 100% would recommend them to anyone. If I ever have an accident again they will be my number 1 phone call!


  • The support given helped me to feel like I was included in my personal injury case every step of the way. I was informed about the entire process throughout. It was amazing how quick the turn around time was and I would definitely recommend Attorney Timothy J. Manchin to anyone!


  • Taylor and Kelly worked hard on my case so I didn’t have to. Thanks guys!


  • Excellent experience dealing with Manchin Injury Law. They were very responsive, professional and easy to talk to. I did my homework before I hired a lawyer after my accident and I am so glad I found Manchin Injury Law Group. If you are injured, give them a call!


  • Taylor and Tim helped make a difficult moment in life, a little more bearable. Easy to communicate with and informative. I will absolutely recommend them to everyone.


  • Kelly and Taylor did all the hard work so that I didn’t have to. They both cared about my circumstance and got me a nice settlement. Taylor knows what he is doing and I felt comfortable with my case in his hands.


  • Great lawyers. They helped me with a West Virginia case.


  • Such a great experience with Taylor and this firm. Thankful for their diligence and their work on our case. Thank you to all!


  • Had a easy and smooth experience with a great attorney so when you go there make sure you ask for Taylor.


  • My experience at the Manchin Injury Law Group was extremely positive, and I would recommend them to anyone who needs a compassionate and experienced lawyer on their side.


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