If you have been harmed directly due to the recklessness of another person, you may be eligible to recover compensation from the insurance provider of the at-fault party through filing what is referred to as a “third-party” claim.
After you establish that the defendant is the one liable for your sustained injuries, you will also be required to provide evidence of all your financial and non-economic losses associated with the accident, also known as damages. The insurance provider should compensate you for your medical expenses as well as any lost income resulting from the incident. Even more, the insurance provider should be able to offer compensation for your experienced “pain and suffering.” This article is going to discuss when insurance companies will offer financial compensation for pain and suffering and how these damages related to pain and suffering are determined.
What is “Pain and Suffering?”
Pain and suffering is a term in the legal field which can mean numerous injuries sustained by the plaintiff as the result of an accident. It includes not just physical pain but emotional and mental injuries as well, including fear, insomnia, grief, worry, inconvenience, and even a reduced quality of life.
In nearly all injury cases, the plaintiff should be eligible to recover something, even if it rather small, due to their pain and suffering damages. However, in certain cases, these settlements can be quite significant.
How Does the Insurance Company Calculate Damages for Pain and Suffering?
There are no set standards governing how an insurance company may calculate a pain and suffering claim. Many lawyers have been trained to use one of two methods for determining the value of pain and suffering settlements. The first method is to multiply the plaintiff’s actual damages, such as medical expenses and lost income, by a given number, often between 1 and 5, depending on how serious their injuries are. For example, if a plaintiff takes on $3,000 in medical costs because of a broken leg, he or she may multiply that amount by three and state that $9,000 would be a reasonable amount for their unique pain and suffering.
On the other hand, many attorneys will utilize a per diem approach. Using this method, a given amount — maybe as much as $100.00 — is assigned to each starting from when the date of the accident to when the plaintiff has reached complete recovery.
Insurance providers have no obligation to consider these methods when calculating pain and suffering compensation. These companies will often use computer programs to calculate the amount that should be offered for a pain and suffering settlement. These programs will consider the kind of injury as well as the types of medical treatment sought by the plaintiff.
For example, insurance providers will often consider medical treatment from a medical practitioner to mean that a more serious injury, and therefore more compensable, than merely being treated by a chiropractor. Insurance companies will also consider the amount of time the plaintiff received treatment. In the case that it seems that treatment was overly excessive given the type of injury, the insurance provider will likely not include all of these extraneous treatments in its calculation for pain and suffering.
Evidence for Pain and Suffering
You are able to recover damages for pain and suffering, but you may wonder how you can prove the extent of your pain and suffering. This type of proof can take many forms. The more evidence you have to support your personal injury claim, the greater the chance that you will be able to recover a settlement worthy of your damages.
The extent of your injuries and the resulting pain and suffering can be observed through certain documentation, like photographs and personal journals that document the plaintiff’s emotions and physical status. Documentation from friends and loved ones can also be used as evidence of how sustained injuries have negatively affected the plaintiff’s life. Proof of treatment by a certified mental health professional is also useful and is required when the plaintiff claims that injuries resulted in feelings of anxiety, insomnia, or depression.
Is My Compensation Fair?
The insurance provider may offer a settlement that includes compensation for pain and suffering, but how do you know if this offer is reasonable or fair? A useful approach is to use either the multiplier method or the per diem method discussed above to get a general figure of what a reasonable offer may look like.
You should contemplate if there were any additional circumstances that may increase or decrease your final settlement. For example, if your injury left you with permanent disfigurement, you could reasonably increase the amount of pain and suffering that you may expect. However, just getting a bump to the head that healed quickly is probably not worth too much regarding a settlement claim. You should consider all these factors when determining how the insurance company valued your pain and suffering claim, as well as when considering if the settlement offer is fair.
Traumatic Car Crashes in Salt Lake City
After being involved in a car crash, you are at risk of developing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health conditions. Each year around 3 million people are injured in a car crash. Certain people are more susceptible to developing mental health issues after a crash, such as those who have experienced trauma in the past. Sadly, these traumatic crashes can leave victims unable to live their lives like that once did, causing a loss of quality in their existence. In some cases, victims can contact a Salt Lake City car crash attorney in order to recover lost compensation due to their pain and suffering.
The team of Utah personal injury lawyers at Siegfried & Jensen have helped victims when taking care of negotiations with the insurance company of the at-fault driver. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the actions of a negligent driver, contact our law offices today at (801) 845-9000 to discuss your case with a qualified legal professional and see what options are available for you.