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How much can you sue for pain and suffering?

There is no limit to how much you can recover for pain and suffering in California, except in cases of medical malpractice, where “non-economic” damages are capped at $250,000. The amount you’ll recover for pain and suffering is usually tied to the physical injury; the more severe the injury, the greater your damages for pain and suffering. A reasonable amount for pain and suffering may be calculated by coming up with a dollar amount and multiplying it by every day you suffer injury until you are healed. Another approach is to apply a “multiplier” to the actual damages (medical bills, lost wages) you incurred. The greater the injury, the larger the multiplier. Plaintiff’s attorneys and insurance companies often use this method and apply a multiplier between one and five, depending on how severe the injury was. Since the actual damages can be calculated to a fair degree of certainty, agreeing on an appropriate multiplier is an effective way to come up with a reasonable settlement value for pain and suffering damages.

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