Pain and Suffering Guidelines: A Cure for Damages Measurement “Anomie”

This Note argues that adapting the criminal sentencing guidelines systems in use in several states to the personal injury context would provide appropriate standards for measuring pain and suffering damages. Part I explores why present methods for measuring pain and suffering are objectionable. A description of the proposed method for developing guidelines is provided in Part II. Part II explores the use of guidelines in criminal sentencing and the analogy between sentencing decisions and assessment of damages for nonpecuniary loss. Part II also describes how to develop and implement guidelines for assessing pain and suffering damages. Part III examines why the proposed guidelines are a solution to the problems identified in Part I. Finally, Part IV responds to possible criticisms of the proposed reform.