If you are injured in an accident, the chances are likely that you can file a personal injury claim. Your claim will include the cost of medical treatment as a result of the accident; however, you may also be entitled to reimbursement for pain and suffering. After establishing that the defendant is, in fact, at-fault, you will then need to prove your financial losses so that you can rightfully claim the money you need to rebuild your life. The money for these losses is known as damages, and there are a few different kinds.
Pain and suffering is a legal term which considers the stress that you experience resulting from your injuries. It can include both physical pain as well as emotional and psychological trauma like insomnia, fear, depression, or anxiety. The definition is admittedly vague, but the law will allow you to file an insurance claim for pain and suffering compensation which is apart from lost wages and other medical expenses, like x-rays, medications, or hospital visits. Mental pain and suffering, like physical pain and suffering, includes not just the effects that the victim has endured to date, but also the mental pain and suffering that he/she will more than likely suffer into the future.
If you do not end up seeking medical treatment for the injuries that you get from a car accident, then your auto insurance company will likely not accept your claim of pain and suffering since it was not recorded. The best ways to get adequate compensation for your claim are to get immediate medical attention and to document your symptoms along with any care you received.
Negotiating a settlement for a car accident or personal injury claim requires you to calculate a reasonable amount of money that you would accept to resolve your claim. Most insurance companies and injury attorneys rely on some type of formula to give them an idea of what a case is worth. This is true for almost all types of injury cases. Some commonly used methods by car insurance companies include:
- Multiplier method: Multiply the total medical bills related to the car accident injuries by a number from 1 (for more minor injuries) to 5 (for more severe injuries) to find the pain and suffering amount.
- Per diem method: Use a formula based on daily suffering.
For example, if hurt your knee in a car accident, then you might evaluate your daily pain by all of your daily activities that can’t be performed due to the injuries. You could then attribute a cost to each day and multiply this figure by the number of days that you’ve been injured. In general, the more serious your injuries, the greater amount of compensation you can expect for your pain and suffering. Remember, going to the doctor will substantiate your personal injury claim and show that you were in fact suffering symptoms that required medical attention.
Insurance companies are not obligated to calculate using these methods when evaluating your pain and suffering, and many companies today use computer programs to calculate what the settlement offer should be according to their measurements for pain and suffering. These programs might consider not just the type of injury, but also the medical treatment that was received. The personality of the plaintiff, their witnesses, and the overall damages which the victim sustained will play a powerful role in any settlement if damages are even awarded once liability is assumed. The experience and personality of the lawyer representing the victim may also factor into a high money damage award case.
Documentation to Prove Pain and Suffering
Whatever method you end up choosing, be mindful that you’ll also need to give the insurance company evidence to support your personal injury claim in order to win your case. Try to provide as much documentation as you can find, including any
- Photos of your injuries,
- Medical examination reports,
- Prescription or OTC medication receipts,
- Medical bills for therapy, ambulance costs, x-rays, emergency room visits, etc.,
- Proof of lost wages or time off from school, or a
- Journal of medical treatments, pain, and missed activities.
The extent of your injuries and related pain and suffering can be proven with documentation like photographs and personal journals recording the plaintiff’s physical and emotional feelings. Written statements from friends or family could provide good evidence for the way your injuries have negatively impacted your life. Proof of treatment by a mental health professional would also be helpful and is required if the victim is claiming injuries from increased anxiety, insomnia, or depression.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
In most cases where the other party was clearly at fault, the injured party will receive at least some compensation for their pain and suffering. Most insurance companies recognize that people who are injured in a car accident deserve something for their pain and inconvenience. Often, the amount insurance carriers try to get away with, at first, is very low. But with proper attorney representation, this number can be increased to reach an acceptable sum.
If you do not think you will be able to get the compensation you deserve working solely with your claims adjuster, consider hiring a personal injury lawyer. Injury attorneys are experienced with the abstract nature of pain and suffering claims and will use their experience to help you establish a claims amount. They can also help you gather evidence and present your personal injury claim in the way that is most likely to have a favorable outcome. Contact your local injury attorneys Gordon & Gordon Law Firm today if you need assistance with filing your injury claim, and we will make a concerted effort to understand your situation & provide you with the best service possible.