How is Pain and Suffering Calculated in Texas: An Overview

How is pain and suffering is calculated in Texas? How pain and suffering is calculated in a personal injury case will depend on where you are in the timeline of your case.  The approach to calculating pain and suffering before a trial and during trial are not the same. 

Insurance companies typically use claims software to calculate pain and suffering. On the other hand, a jury does not use any special formulas, but only their own best judgment based on the evidence presented to them.

However, keep in mind that there are many steps that are required before you go to court for a trial.  Many personal injury cases settle even before a lawsuit is filed and most settle before trial.  Before a trial you may be negotiating with the insurance company to reach a reasonable settlement amount. 

Alternatively, if your case goes to trial, your attorney may be arguing your case before a jury or judge.  We will discuss how pain and suffering is calculated in both situations, how you can maximize your pain and suffering in both instances, how you can prove pain and suffering in court, and look at some real-world Texas settlements and jury verdicts for examples.  But first we need to define some terms to better understand Texas pain and suffering law.

What Are Damages?

Before we can get into calculating pain and suffering, we need to learn some key legal concepts.  In any personal injury case based in “negligence,” you need to prove “damages.”  “Damages” are the actual harm or injury as a result of the responsible party’s carelessness. 

These are not presumed in cases where you are claiming someone else’s negligence caused your injuries.  You need to prove them with evidence, such as with medical bills.  “Compensatory damages” are those that are meant to compensate you for your losses, intending to place you back where you were prior to the accident.  In Texas, there are two types of compensatory damages: Special Damages (economic damages) and General Damages (non-economic damages).

What Are Special Damages?

Special damages, also known as economic damages, are those that can be easily quantifiable.  These damages can be proven by medical bills, pay-stubs, or some other evidence showing out-of-pocket expenses that flowed from the injury. 

These damages are intended to compensate the claimant for monetary losses that were suffered.  Special damages include past and future medical expenses, past lost wages, and future loss of earnings.

What Are General Damages?

General damages are damages that are not so easy to quantify.  They are also meant to compensate the claimant for losses, but for those that are not quantified specifically in a dollar value.  Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 41.001(12) specifically lists what are considered general damages, including:

  1. Physical pain and suffering;
  2. Mental or emotional pain or anguish;
  3. Loss of consortium;
  4. Disfigurement;
  5. Physical impairment;
  6. Loss of companionship and society;
  7. Inconvenience;
  8. Loss of enjoyment of life;
  9. Injury to reputation; and
  10. All other nonpecuniary losses of any kind other than exemplary damages.

What is “Pain & Suffering”?

Now that we know how pain and suffering is categorized under the law, what exactly is pain and suffering, anyhow?  Pain and suffering damages are awarded for the purpose of compensating a claimant for the physical pain that he/she endures as a result of an injury.  This is distinguished from the mental aspects of an injury, known as “mental or emotional pain or anguish.” 

Pain and suffering strictly concerns the actual physical pain that an injured party feels from a physical injury.  Although pain and suffering and mental or emotional pain or anguish are two distinct types of damages, they are often lumped together when submitted to the jury. 

However, there are many Texas cases that recognize that these are two distinct elements of a plaintiff’s damages. (See Daniels v. Univ. of Tex. Health Science Center of Tyler, No. 12-03-00399-CV, 2005 WL 1642969, at *2 (Tex. App.—Tyler July 13, 2005, no pet.)(mem. op.).  Texas law allows recovery for physical pain and suffering in the past and future (See A.T. & S.F. Ry. Co. v. O’Merry, 727 S.W.2d 596, 599-600 (Tex. App. Houston [1st Dist.] 1987, no writ)

As you guessed, quantifying someone’s pain in dollars is difficult.  Texas courts have stated that there is no definite way to measure pain and suffering in terms of money but that the jury should arrive at some fair compensation based on its “common knowledge and sense of justice.” Hernandez v. Baucum, 344 S.W.2d 498, 500 (Tex. Civ. App. 1961).  Below, we will discuss how pain and suffering are calculated both pre-trial and during trial.

Calculating Pain & Suffering Pre-Trial (Claims Software)

Before a trial, either before or after a lawsuit is filed, you will be negotiating your case with the insurance company.  The claims adjuster will be valuing your case based on a variety of factors.  

Typically, the large insurance companies use claims software programs such as Colossus, Mitchell Claim IQ, and Claims Outcome Advisor (COA) to calculate settlement offers, especially on soft tissue injury cases (e.g., whiplash, sprains, and strains).  They’ll enter in medical billing codes, injury codes, and several other factors to arrive at a settlement range. 

Typically, these soft-tissue injury cases are handled by low-level adjusters and these adjusters are prohibited from offering anything outside the claims software settlement range, unless you can present “new” information to them. Insurance companies use this software at a varying degree with some heavily relying on the settlement ranges that are provided, such as Allstate.  With more serious injuries, the reliance on this software is not as significant. 

As discussed above, pain and suffering is part of what are called “general damages” and are considered within the software’s algorithm.  The nature of the injury and treatment will have a large effect on the amount of pain and suffering and total general damages that is given in any case.  Muscle sprains and strains will yield little pain and suffering compensation. 

In many cases, the insurance company will offer a nominal amount, such as $2,500 to $5,000, on top of the total special damages (e.g., medical expenses and lost wages) to settle a soft tissue injury case.  More serious injuries such as herniated discs with nerve impingement and radicular symptoms will provide more substantial pain and suffering compensation, as will those cases with fractures and broken bones. 

In addition, medical bills are typically audited by the insurance company using software such as Mitchell Decision Point or using an arbitrary factor, such as two times the Medicare rate.  With chopping your outstanding medical expenses and placing only a minimum value on general damages, the insurance company has effectively undervalued your injury claim. 

The bottom line is the use of claims software severely undervalues injury claims.  They do not accurately assess how much a judge or jury would award for pain and suffering in a case.  You can see below in the verdict examples that the insurance companies overwhelmingly offer well below what a jury ultimately awards.

For reference, the following is a list of insurance companies that use Colossus, Mitchell Claim IQ, and Claims Outcome Advisor.

Colossus:

  • AAA
  • ACE INA
  • Allstate
  • American Family
  • American National
  • Atlantic Mutual
  • California State Auto
  • CNA
  • Farmers
  • Grange
  • Great American
  • Hartford
  • HDI
  • Horace Mann
  • ICW
  • MetLife
  • Motorists Insurance Group
  • Nationwide
  • Ohio Casualty
  • Safeco
  • State Auto
  • Travelers
  • Utica
  • USAA
  • Westfield
  • White Mountain
  • Winterhur Swiss

Mitchell Claim IQ:

  • Allianz
  • Fireman’s Fund
  • GEICO

Claims Outcome Advisor (COA):

  • Automobile Club of CA
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Progressive

Calculating Pain & Suffering at Trial (Judge or Jury)

During trial, evidence is presented by the plaintiff’s attorney to the judge and jury. The question is then presented to the jury to assign a sum of money that would fairly and reasonably compensate the plaintiff for the physical pain and mental anguish sustained in the past and future.  

The jury uses their best judgment based on the evidence presented to them throughout the trial.  They will evaluate the testimony of the plaintiff and other witnesses testifying as to their pain and suffering; medical records highlighting pain symptoms relayed to the healthcare providers; diagnostic testing such as an MRI, demonstrating an objective injury; and any other evidence that would substantiate the plaintiff’s pain and suffering claim.

Factors That Maximize Pain & Suffering Compensation

1. Injury Severity

The more severe your injury, the more pain and suffering compensation you will likely receive.  The fact is, insurance companies and juries alike will almost always award more for a broken bone than whiplash.

2. Permanent Injury

Just as the more severe your injury is, the more your pain and suffering compensation you will likely receive, the same is true for the permanency of your injury.  Injuries that heal within weeks are not worth as much as those injuries that may take months, years, or may never completely heal. 

A permanent injury is also a consideration for “physical impairment” damages, an additional type of general damages.  Physical impairment damages provide compensation to the injured party for no longer engaging in or enjoying activities that he or she was able to do before the injury.  Most of the time you’ll need a permanent injury to recover physical impairment damages.

3. Witness Testimony

Witness testimony from you, your physician, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and supervisors is extremely helpful in demonstrating your pain and suffering.  Texas courts have said that the plaintiff’s testimony may be used to prove his/her pain and suffering damages. 

However, keep in mind that testimony of only subjective complaints based on the plaintiff’s personal reports of pain to doctors, supervisors, and family members alone may not be enough.

4. Proof of an Objective Injury

Proof of an objective injury (e.g., broken bones, herniated disc), measured by diagnostic testing, such as X-rays, CAT scans, or MRIs, is crucial in any personal injury case and will most likely increase your pain and suffering compensation.  Photographs of scars, cuts, bruises, orthopedic devices, or surgical hardware (e.g., screws, plates, pins) will also provide proof that an objective injury exists.

5. Immediate Medical Treatment

Cases where the claimant immediately goes to the hospital after the accident are usually worth more overall.  The closer in time to the injury and the medical treatment, the better.

6. Consistent Medical Treatment

Just as immediate medical treatment, consistent medical treatment is just as important.  The value of your pain and suffering and your overall case will be less if you have gaps in treatment.  If you do have gaps in treatment, you must provide a good excuse for the gap, such as a pre-planned vacation or death in the family. 

7. Claims Software Buzzwords

Although you may have no say how your medical records are drafted and compiled, you can still have an impact on what is written in them.  Be as specific and candid as possible in describing your injuries to your doctor.  Don’t hold back. 

Medical records that thoroughly detail your injuries with specificity stating particular buzzwords, such as “muscle spasms,” “restriction on movement,” “radiating pain,” “anxiety,” “depression,” “headaches,” “visual disturbances,” or “dizziness,” provide the insurance company’s claim software with a reason to increase your pain and suffering compensation. 

How Do I Prove I Have Pain & Suffering in Court?

Texas courts have said that the plaintiff may prove his pain and suffering by his testimony describing the symptoms and showing his injury to the jury. Loughry v. Hodges, 215 S.W.2d 669, 674 (Tex. Civ. App.­ Fort Worth 1948, writ ref’d n.r.e.).  

Although a plaintiff’s testimony is sufficient, it isn’t necessarily the only thing that will convince a jury to award pain and suffering damages.  Statements given to physicians during treatment are also helpful as are medical records that substantiate a plaintiff’s pain and suffering. 

Testimony of those close to the plaintiff may also assist in proving pain and suffering.  This may include testimony from family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or supervisors.  In addition, photos of the injury or demonstrative evidence such as orthopedic devices (e.g., neck braces), or surgical hardware (e.g., screws, plates, pins) may be shown to the jury. 

It should be noted that without objective evidence of pain (e.g., MRI demonstrating nerve impingement), there is a chance a plaintiff may get nothing for pain and suffering from the jury.  According to the court in Hernandez v. Baucum, a jury may award zero damages when the pain is almost entirely subjective, based on the plaintiff’s personal reports of pain to doctors, supervisors and family members.  This is why it’s important to have additional evidence of pain.

Two Common Methods for Calculating Pain & Suffering

Throughout your search online you will most likely find two common and flawed ways pain and suffering may be calculated: the “Multiplier” and the “Per Diem” methods. 

Multiplier Method

The Multiplier Method calculates pain and suffering by multiplying the injured party’s total medical bills and lost wages, also known as “Special Damages,” by some multiplier, such as 1.5 – 5. With 1.5 being the least minor injury and 5 being the most severe injury. This figure is then added to the Special Damages total.

For example, if Paula Plaintiff has $5,000 in medical bills, $1,000 in lost wages, and she received minor sprains and strains in the car accident that was caused by Dexter Defendant, we may assign a 1.5 times Special Damages as her pain and suffering multiplier, or $9,000 ($6,000 x 1.5).  So, using the Multiplier Method, Paula’s pain and suffering would equal $9,000 and her total case value would be $15,000.

Per Diem Method

The Per Diem method is another method used to calculate pain and suffering in a car accident injury settlement.  The number of months, days, or hours are multiplied by a certain dollar figure that is either equal to the amount of pay the injured party receives in their job for that specific time period or some other arbitrary number. 

For example, if Paula Plaintiff suffered pain for 200 days from the accident and made $200 per day as a construction worker, the pain and suffering calculation would equal $40,000.  The idea behind using a daily salary rate calculation as the daily rate of pain and suffering is that it could be thought that the pain associated with an injury is comparable to the effort of working a job.  

Although the Texas court in Hernandez v. Baucum, 344 S.W.2d 498, 500 (Tex. Civ. App. 1961) ruled that it was a “fair argument and a rational approach for pain the way it was endured, month by month, and year by year,” in proposing a pain and suffering calculation to the jury at trial, it is not an accurate estimate of what the value of pain and suffering will be assigned in a car accident settlement.

The large misconception about these two methods is that insurance companies and juries actually use them to calculate pain and suffering.  They simply do not. 

Although insurance companies in the past may have employed some sort of multiplier to calculate a rough estimate of an appropriate settlement offer in cases involving soft tissue injuries (e.g., whiplash), insurance companies now use the settlement software, as discussed above, to arrive at an appropriate settlement range, based on prior settlements, localized medical charges, and other claim characteristics.

As mentioned above, if a case goes to a jury trial, juries are instructed to assign a sum of money that would fairly and reasonably compensate the plaintiff for the physical pain and mental anguish sustained in the past and future.  Juries use their best judgment based on the evidence presented to them throughout the trial.

Pain & Suffering Settlement Examples

The pain and suffering settlement examples below are from real Texas cases that were settled after a lawsuit was filed but before a jury gave its verdict.  In most of these cases, an allocation of what was given for pain and suffering was not provided.  However, we can assume that any amount paid above “special damages” (i.e., medical expenses and lost wages) is compensation given for non-economic damages, encompassing past and future pain and suffering.

Donatta v. Fomond (Fort Bend County)

  • Facts: Plaintiff, Chester Donatta, stopped at a traffic light, and was rear-ended by defendant, Tiffany Fomond.
  • Injury: Neck, lower back, and shoulder pain; lumbar herniations at L3-4, L4-5; cervical herniations at C2-3, C3-4, C4-5, and C6-7.
  • Medical Treatment: Chiropractic treatment, MRI, physical therapy, lumbar epidural steroid injection
  • Past Medical Bills: $19,454
  • Insurance Company: GEICO
  • Settlement Amount: $40,001
  • Pain and Suffering: It may be presumed that at least some of the difference in past medical bills and total settlement amount, $20,547, was allocated to general damages, including pain and suffering. The plaintiff did claim future medical expenses, although this amount is unknown.

Montalvo & Montalvo v. Odom (Hardin County)

  • Facts: Plaintiffs, Juan Montalvo (driver) and Mario Montalvo (passenger) were stopped at a traffic light when they were rear-ended by Defendant, Erica Odom.
  • Injury:
    • Juan Montalvo: Mild shoulder bursitis, shoulder joint effusion, cervical herniations at C3-4, C4-5, and C5-6 with annular fissure; C3-4 herniation impinged the spinal cord causing radiating pain, numbness and tingling in limbs
    • Mario Montalvo: Cervical herniations at C4-5 and C5-6 with stenosis, thoracic herniations at T7-8 and T8-9 with canal stenosis at T7-8, and radiating pain, numbness and tingling in limbs.
  • Medical Treatment:
    • Juan Montalvo: Emergency room, chiropractic treatment, MRI, should injection, lumbar trigger points injection; anterior cervical discectomy and fusion from C3 to C5
    • Mario Montalvo: Chiropractic treatment, lumbar epidural steroid injection, and trigger point injections.
  • Past Medical Bills:
    • Juan Montalvo: $42,000
    • Mario Montalvo: $150,000
  • Insurance Company: Farm Bureau
  • Settlement Amount:
    • Juan Montalvo: $275,000
    • Mario Montalvo: $350,000
  • Pain and Suffering:
    • Juan Montalvo: Claimed past and future physical pain and mental anguish and past and future physical impairment. Based on the total settlement of $275,000 and the past medical bills of $42,000, it appears that Mr. Montalvo received $233,000 in general damages, most of which was likely for pain and suffering.
    • Mario Montalvo: Claimed past and future physical pain and mental anguish and past and future physical impairment.  Similarly, Mr. Montalvo received a significant amount for general damages based on his past medical bills of $150,000. Although no pain and suffering allocation was given, it is likely most of the $200,000 in general damages was given for his pain and suffering.

Streetman v. Gardner Trucking, Inc. (Gregg County)

  • Facts: Plaintiff, Joseph Streetman, driving a box truck on I-20, while stopped in traffic was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler driven by a Gardner Trucking employee.
  • Injury: Disc bulges at C3-4, C4-5, C5-6, C6-7, T11-12, T12-L1, L2-3, L3-4, and L4-5 with residual stenosis; rotator cuff tears in both shoulders; aggravation of pre-existing injuries of back, left shoulder, and neck.
  • Medical Treatment: Minor treatment at the emergency room (by ambulance), cervical fusion surgery, physical therapy, left and right shoulder arthroplasty, and laminectomy at L5-S1.
  • Medical Bills: $415,000
  • Past Lost Wages: $55,000
  • Insurance Companies: Mercury, North River, National Interstate, Lexington
  • Settlement Amount: $15,000,000
  • Pain and Suffering: No allocation was provided on how much of the $15,000,000 settlement went towards Mr. Streetman’s pain and suffering but given the amount of his past medical bills and claimed lost wages of $55,000, the pain and suffering element in this case was clearly substantial, in the several millions of dollars.  Mr. Streetman claimed an undisclosed amount of future medical bills, future loss of earning capacity, in addition to past and future pain and suffering, past and future physical impairment, and past and future disfigurement.  

Martinez v. SEF Energy, et al (Bexar County)

  • Facts: Plaintiff, Mark Martinez, collided with Ramon Ortiz’s work truck while Mr. Ortiz turned left in front of Mr. Martinez, causing a near head-on collision and significant damage to his vehicle.
  • Injury: Abdomen contusion, disc herniations at C4-5, C5-6, and C6-7, including a radial tear of the outer annulus at C5-6 and impingement of the C4-5 nerve root; and radicular symptoms in his arms.
  • Medical Treatment: Emergency room, medical clinic, cervical epidural steroid injections, and physical therapy.
  • Past Medical Bills: $41,082.78
  • Past Lost Wages: $1,365.76
  • Insurance Company: American International Group, Inc.
  • Settlement Amount: $115,000
  • Pain and Suffering: Mr. Martinez claimed past and future pain and suffering among other types of general damages, such as mental anguish, and past physical impairment.  Based on the settlement amount of $115,000 and the past medical bills and past lost wages, the general damages calculation totaled $72,551.46.

Araujo v. Pennington (Harris County)

  • Facts: Defendant, Robert Pennington, turned his SUV in front of Plaintiff, Lorena Araujo’s vehicle causing a collision.
  • Injury: Herniated disc at L5-S1 with nerve impingement
  • Medical Treatment: Chiropractic treatment, MRI, lumbar epidural steroid injection, and an emergency room visit a year after the accident due to a pain flair up.
  • Past Medical Bills: $23,000
  • Insurance Company: Allstate
  • Settlement Amount: $65,000
  • Pain and Suffering: Ms. Araujo claimed past and future pain and suffering, mental anguish, and future physical impairment. Based on the past medical bills, it can be assumed that $42,000 was for general damages, including pain and suffering, although no allocation was given.

Rutkoske v. Hartford Insurance (Denton County)

  • Facts: Plaintiff, Janine Rutkoske, a passenger in defendant, Wayne Secore’s, vehicle, ran a red light striking another vehicle and light pole.
  • Injury: Cervical and lumbar sprains and strains, concussion, 1 mm disc herniation, annular tear at L2-3, 4 mm disc herniation at L3-4, and aggravation of pre-existing lumbar conditions.
  • Medical Treatment: Emergency room (by ambulance), physical therapy, MRI, and intralaminar epidural steroid injection at L3-4.
  • Past Medical Bills: $76,605
  • Future Medical Expenses: $257,000
  • Insurance Company: Hartford and State Farm
  • Settlement Amount: $230,000
  • Pain and Suffering: It is uncertain whether any of the $230,000 settlement included pain and suffering compensation in this case.  It was noted that this settlement included not only Ms. Rutkoske’s injury claim, but also Mr. Rukkoske’s derivative claim for loss of consortium for the effects Ms. Rutkoske’s injuries had on their relationship.

Spencer v. Pizza Venture of San Antonio, LLC, et al (Bexar County)

  • Facts: Plaintiff, Zachary Spencer, a pedestrian, was walking on the sidewalk when he was struck by a vehicle driven by a Pizza Ventures of San Antonio employee (DBA Papa John’s Pizza).
  • Injury: concussion, post-concussion symptoms, anxiety, major depressive disorder, major neurocognitive disorder, loss of consciousness at the scene, dizziness, post-traumatic stress disorder, memory problems, cognitive problems, personality changes and headaches, aggravation of pre-existing psychological problems; fractures of the tibia and fibula; fractured teeth; elbow effusion and laceration, shoulder, foot, forehead, and scalp abrasions; scars on the right leg, face and elbow; and a limp.
  • Medical Treatment: Emergency room (by ambulance), irrigation of the right leg with intramedullary nailing and closing of elbow laceration, cranial lacerations sutures; physical, mental, occupational, and cognitive therapy; brain injury rehabilitation; and root canals.
  • Past Medical Bills: $111,973.36
  • Future Medical Expenses/Life Care Costs: $2,853,117
  • Lost Earning Capacity: $1,013,908
  • Insurance Company: Cincinnati Insurance, Ace Group, Redpoint Insurance
  • Settlement Amount: $9,000,000, which included Mr. Spencer’s parent’s claim for bystander damages
  • Pain and Suffering: Factoring in past and future medical expenses, lost earning capacity, and Mr. Spencer’s parent’s bystander claim, to the $9,000,000 settlement, it is likely a significant amount was given for pain and suffering considering the seriousness of the plaintiff’s injuries.

Hendon & Cotton v. Analytical Technology Consultants, et al (Jefferson County)

  • Facts: Plaintiffs, Mason Hendon and Darlene Cotton, driving separately in their vehicles on I-69 were struck by crane’s frame and boom operated by American Technology Consultants.
  • Injury:
    • Mason Hendon: Severe head laceration, concussion, post-concussion syndrome, traumatic brain injury, headaches, cognitive and memory impairment, and herniated discs at L4-5 and L5-S1.
    • Darlene Cotton: Herniated cervical disc and lumbar bulging discs.
  • Medical Treatment:
    • Mason Hendon: Emergency room (by ambulance), neuropsychological testing, pain management, and lumbar fusion recommendation.
    • Darlene Cotton: Emergency room (by ambulance), physical therapy, cervical and lumbar epidural steroid injections, and recommended cervical fusion.
  • Past Medical Bills:
    • Mason Hendon: $102,000
    • Darlene Cotton: $117,000
  • Future Medical Expense:
    • Mason Hendon: $300,000
    • Darlene Cotton: $250,000
  • Insurance Company: Evanston and State Farm
  • Settlement Amount:
    • Mason Hendon: $3,800,000
    • Darlene Cotton: $1,000,000
  • Pain and Suffering:
    • Mason Hendon: Mr. Hendon was significantly disabled as a result of this accident and had lost the opportunity to become an electrician, which was factored into the $3,800,000 potentially as lost earning capacity.  Since the lost earning capacity figure was not disclosed in this case, it is uncertain how much was given for pain and suffering. However, based on the seriousness of the plaintiff’s injuries, it is safe to assume that a significant amount of the $3,398,000 (i.e., general damages and lost earning capacity) was paid for his pain and suffering.
    • Darlene Cotton: Taking into account Ms. Cotton’s past and future medical expenses, it seems she was given around $633,000 in general damages, which would include pain and suffering.

Luckey v. Martinez, et al (Orange County)

  • Facts: Plaintiff, Christopher Luckey, was rear-ended at a traffic light by a flat-bed truck driven by Daniel Rodriquez, an employee of Clean Portables.
  • Injury: Herniated discs at C4-5, C5-6, and C6-7, and radicular pain in the shoulder.
  • Medical Treatment: Emergency room, physical therapy, MRI, cervical steroid injection, anterior cervical decompression and fusion at C4-5 and C5-6
  • Past Medical Bills: $437,000
  • Past Lost Wages: $11,000
  • Insurance Company: Employers Mutual Casualty Company
  • Settlement Amount: $1,550,000. This included both Mr. Luckey’s injury claim and wife’s loss of consortium claim.
  • Pain and Suffering: Mr. Luckey also claimed several hundreds of thousands in loss of earning capacity. It is uncertain an exact amount for pain and suffering but it’s likely that at least a moderate portion of the $1,550,000 settlement was for Mr. Luckey’s pain and suffering.

Bell v. Melasqui (Fort Bend County)

  • Facts: Plaintiff, Leonard Bell, a bicyclist, was struck by an SUV driven by Sirlei Melesqui.
  • Injury: Two fractured ribs; half collapsed lung; concussion; left periorbital soft tissue hematoma; headaches; claimed traumatic brain injury; and neck, lower back, and shoulder sprains and strains.
  • Medical Treatment: Emergency room (by ambulance), including CAT scans, MRIs, and a chest tube for his collapsed lung; and chiropractic treatment.
  • Past Medical Bills: $31,951.86
  • Insurance Company: AAA
  • Settlement Amount: $87,073.23. This case went before a jury and the jury returned a verdict of $74,951.86, although only nine of them agree. Since you need 10 out of 12 to agree to a verdict, the court ordered that deliberations continue. The parties agreed to a settlement of $87,073.23 before the jury reached a final verdict.
  • Pain and Suffering: Mr. Bell sought a jury award of $200,000, which would have been $168,048.14 in general damages, including past and future physical pain and mental anguish and past and future physical impairment. However, based on the settlement, general damages totaled $55,121.40, with no information as to how much was allocated specifically for pain and suffering.

Pain & Suffering Verdict Examples

The following are several real Texas motor vehicle accident jury verdicts from all over Texas.  In each of these cases the jury provided a breakdown of how much they awarded for past and future pain and suffering, as well as other damages.  This will provide some insight as to how much juries award in pain and suffering compensation at trial.

Simpson v. Daniel (Harris County)

  • Facts: Defendant, Larranicia Daniel, failed to yield the right of way at a stop sign to Plaintiff, Clarence Simpson, causing Ms. Daniel’s vehicle to strike Mr. Simpson’s vehicle.
  • Injury: Hand contusion, lower back and thoracic spine pain, herniated discs at C2-3, with canal stenosis; C3-4 and C4-5, with canal stenosis and foraminal stenosis; C5-6 and C6-7, with annular tears and canal stenosis; L4-5, with moderate foraminal stenosis; and L2-3 and L3-4, causing foraminal stenosis; disc herniation at L5-S1 with annular tear and severe foraminal stenosis. Radiculopathy, with pain radiating to his limbs; and brief loss of consciousness on impact.
  • Medical Treatment: Emergency room, chiropractic treatment, lumbar and cervical epidural steroid injections,
  • Past Medical Bills: $44,463.56
  • Insurance Company: Allstate
  • Insurance Company Settlement Offer: $19,368
  • Verdict Amount: $33,525
  • Pain and Suffering: The jury did not award any money to the plaintiff for pain and suffering.

Cryer v. Macdonald (Collin County)

  • Facts: Plaintiff, Angela Cryer, was struck on the right side of her SUV by defendant, Jacen Macdonald, who was driving an SUV and making a left turn.
  • Injury: Abrasions and burns to her forearms, hands, and eyes caused by airbag deployment; and abdominal contusions.
  • Medical Treatment: Emergency room (by ambulance) and two visits to her primary care physician.
  • Past Medical Bills: $40,500
  • Insurance Company: Allstate
  • Insurance Company Settlement Offer: $9,000
  • Verdict Amount: $47,606
  • Past Pain and Suffering: $3,000. In addition, the jury awarded $40,500 for past medical expenses, $1,500 for past physical impairment, $106 for past lost wages, and $2,500 for past mental anguish.

Thompson v. Manry (Johnson County)

  • Facts: Plaintiff, Jesse Thompson, a pedestrian, was hit and dragged while defendant, Zachary Manry, backed up his vehicle.
  • Injury: Dislocated hip, broken ribs, broken nose, severe lacerations of buttocks,
  • Medical Treatment: Emergency room (by ambulance), physical therapy, and orthopedic surgeon consultation.
  • Past Medical Bills: $93,643
  • Future Medical Expenses: $5,000
  • Insurance Company: GEICO
  • Insurance Company Settlement Offer: None
  • Verdict Amount: $130,143
  • Pain and Suffering: Mr. Thompson was awarded $5,000 for past physical pain. In addition, he was given $1,500 for past physical impairment, $20,000 for future physical impairment, and $5,000 for past mental anguish.

Quintero v. Gronberg (Harris County)

  • Facts: Plaintiff, Rey Quintero, was rear ended by defendant, Tiana Gronberg, while stopped at a red light.
  • Injury: Disc herniations at L2-3, L4-5, and L5-S1; radicular leg pain; and cervical and lumbar sprains and strains.
  • Medical Treatment: Chiropractic treatment and lumbar epidural steroid injection.
  • Past Medical Bills: $40,489
  • Insurance Company: State Farm
  • Insurance Company Settlement Offer: $5,000
  • Verdict Amount: $3,550
  • Pain and Suffering: $500 for past physical pain.  Also, $500 for past mental anguish.

Acosta-Hernandez v. Vashisht (Dallas County)

  • Facts: Plaintiff, Victor Acosta-Hernandez, proceeding through an intersection, struck the vehicle driven by, defendant, Sunil Vashisht, while Mr. Vashisht executed a left turn.
  • Injury: Disc protrusions at C5-6 and L3-4; and neck, back, and shoulder sprains and strains.
  • Medical Treatment: Chiropractic treatment, MRI
  • Past Medical Bills: $19,891
  • Insurance Company: GEICO
  • Insurance Company Settlement Offer: $20,000
  • Verdict Amount: $22,890.50 was awarded but reduced to $18,312.50 due to comparative fault reduction of 20%.
  • Pain and Suffering: $1,500 for past physical pain and mental anguish. $1,500 was also awarded for past physical impairment.

Shirley v. Allstate Texas Lloyds Inc. (Harris County)

  • Facts: Plaintiff, Sammie Shirley was struck from behind by a pickup truck driven by an undisclosed party. She settled with the undisclosed party for $30,000 and sought underinsured benefits from Allstate, her own insurance carrier.
  • Injury: Aggravation of carpal tunnel syndrome, cervical disc herniation with nerve impingement and radicular symptoms, and sprains and strains to her lumbar region.
  • Medical Treatment: Urgent care, chiropractic treatment, epidural steroid injection,
  • Past Medical Bills: $28,614.93
  • Insurance Company: Allstate
  • Insurance Company Settlement Offer: $500
  • Verdict Amount: $125,493. However, the plaintiff actual award was $50,000, the limits of her underinsured policy coverage.
  • Pain and Suffering: The jury awarded $25,000 for past and future physical pain; $21,878 in future medical expenses; and $50,000 in past and future physical impairment.

Walker-Sanneh v. Alexandria Lewis and Michael Johnson (Harris County)

  • Facts: Plaintiff, Keidra Walker-Sanneh, was struck on the left side of her vehicle by defendant, Alexandria Lewis. 
  • Injury: Back and neck sprains and strains.
  • Medical Treatment: Emergency room, chiropractic treatment, and X-rays.
  • Past Medical Bills: $20,535
  • Insurance Company: Allstate
  • Insurance Company Settlement Offer: $5,250
  • Verdict Amount: $100,426
  • Pain and Suffering: $24,000 in past and future pain and suffering. The jury also awarded $53,000 in past and future physical impairment, and $2,891 in lost wages.

Brown-Wells v. Eunsil Jung (Collin County)

  • Facts: Plaintiff, Shontelle Brown-Wells, struck Eunsil Jung’s vehicle, as Ms. Jung negligently turned left at an intersection.
  • Injury: Neck and shoulder sprains and strains, disc bulge, and radiating pain into the right hand.
  • Medical Treatment: Emergency room (by ambulance), chiropractic treatment, and a recommendation for an epidural steroid injection.
  • Past Medical Bills: $27,562.97
  • Insurance Company: Allstate
  • Insurance Company Settlement Offer: $15,800
  • Verdict Amount: $381,563
  • Pain and Suffering: $41,000 in past and future physical pain. Ms. Brown was also awarded $128,000 for future medical expenses, $180,000 for future physical impairment, and $5,000 for past mental anguish.

Hartman v. Young (Denton County)

  • Facts: Plaintiff, Nicole Hartman, was rear-ended by defendant, Scott Young in heavy traffic.
  • Injury: Concussion, cognitive and memory impairment, cervical and lumbar sprains and strains.
  • Medical Treatment: Emergency room, chiropractic treatment, and visit to a neurologist for an evaluation.
  • Past Medical Bills: $20,244.93
  • Insurance Company: Fred Loya
  • Insurance Company Settlement Offer: $1,500
  • Verdict Amount: $35,145. The plaintiff’s verdict was reduced since she was determined to be 35% at fault, reducing her actual award to $22,844.
  • Pain and Suffering: The jury awarded $10,500 for past and future physical pain and suffering. The jury also awarded $4,400 in lost wages.

Prater v. Ukandu (Dallas County)

  • Facts: Plaintiff, Runda Prater, was rear-ended by defendant, Keith Ukandu.
  • Injury: Cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and shoulder sprains and strains.
  • Medical Treatment: Emergency room and chiropractic treatment.
  • Past Medical Bills: $7,257.04
  • Insurance Company: Home State County Mutual
  • Insurance Company Settlement Offer: $7,000
  • Verdict Amount: $57,571
  • Pain and Suffering: $15,000 for past and future physical pain. Ms. Prater also received $314 for past loss of earning capacity and $20,000 for past and future physical impairment.

While you focus on getting your life back together, we will deal with the insurance adjusters, coordinate your auto repairs, get you a rental car, and get you a top-dollar settlement. Our Houston car accident lawyers are available 24/7. Call us at (713) 489-4270.

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Anthony Milano

Anthony is a Texas and Florida personal injury attorney, concentrating on motor vehicle accidents. In particular, Anthony handles lawsuits for victims of car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle accidents.

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