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Brandon & Gullo Lawyers > Articles > Calculating Pain & Suffering

Calculating Pain & Suffering

Calculating Pain & Suffering

When you suffer an injury due to someone else’s negligence, the financial and emotional costs can be overwhelming. While medical bills and lost wages are tangible expenses, the impact on your overall well-being has a right to compensation. This is where “pain and suffering” damages (often referred to as ‘General damages’) come in.

What is Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury Claims?

Pain and suffering encompass the physical and emotional distress caused by your injury. It includes the pain you’ve already endured, the pain you continue to experience, and the anticipated future pain resulting from the injury. Importantly, it also covers the impact on your daily life, emotional well-being, and overall quality of life.

Why are Pain and Suffering Damages Important?

While medical bills and lost wages cover concrete expenses, pain and suffering awards address the intangible losses you experience. These damages compensate you for the physical and emotional burdens you carry due to the injury, supporting a more complete recovery.

Factors Considered in Calculating Pain and Suffering:

Several factors influence how pain and suffering are calculated, including:

  • Severity and Duration of Pain: The intensity and length of pain significantly impacts the award. More severe and longer-lasting pain typically warrant higher compensation.
  • Impact on Daily Life: How the pain affects your mobility, sleep, daily activities, and overall quality of life is crucial. Significant limitations often lead to larger awards.
  • Emotional Distress: The emotional toll of the injury, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is considered.
  • Medical Evidence: Medical records and doctor’s reports documenting the pain, treatment, and prognosis play a critical role in supporting your claim.
  • Pre-existing Conditions: Any pre-existing conditions you have that might influence the pain’s impact are examined. Age may also be considered in the event of a common law assessment of general damages.
  • Future Prognosis: Potential long-term effects of the injury, such as chronic pain or limitations, are factored in.

Common Calculation Methods:

Injury Scale Value (ISV)

In Queensland, if a claim is brought pursuant to the Civil Liability Act 2003 (QLD), pain and suffering is most often calculated using the Injury Scale Value (ISV).  This score, ranging from 0 to 100, helps determine pain and suffering compensation. Rather than one calculation, the ISV is a blend of factors including;

  • Qualitative assessment: The type and severity of the injury are categorised based on pre-defined ranges within different body systems (e.g., musculoskeletal, nervous system).
  • Quantitative assessment: Psychiatric evaluations using the Permanent Impairment Rating Scale (PIRS) contribute to the score.
  • Individual considerations: Factors like pain, impact on daily life, and future prognosis are assessed to understand the injury’s unique impact on the individual, and may open the door for the court to apply an “uplift” when awarding an ISV.

Common Law Assessment

When the circumstances of the claim do not come within the jurisdiction of the Civil Liability Act 2003 (QLD), general damages will be determined by the court using precedent as a guide.  Generally, awards for pain and suffering under common law are more generous than that awarded pursuant to the more rigid ISV system.  

Importance of Legal Representation:

Navigating the legal complexities of personal injury claims that include pain and suffering compensation can be challenging. An experienced personal injury lawyer can:

  • Gather and present evidence effectively to support your pain and suffering claim.
  • Advocate for the appropriate calculation method based on your unique circumstances.
  • Negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you receive fair compensation.

Remember, pain and suffering are real and deserve compensation. If you or someone you know has experienced pain and suffering from an accident on the road or at work, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free case evaluation.


You can call us now on 07 54794733 and speak to one of our expert injury lawyers. 


Your first step with us is free