A personal injury settlement can include compensation for pain and suffering. The injured party must prove the damage existed because of the traumatic event. Once they establish the connection, they can ask for money from the defendant.
One question on people’s minds is how much pain and suffering is worth. While victims can have difficulty estimating the worth of an intangible loss, personal injury attorneys have experience estimating the value of pain and suffering.
Why You Should Wait for Maximum Recovery?
Over 97.9 million emergency department visits are for unintentional injuries. Many of the visits are due to someone’s negligence. Carelessness can lead to pain and suffering for accident victims, and injured parties have the right to demand reimbursement.
Nevertheless, a person should wait to ask for compensation for pain and suffering until they reach maximum medical recovery. Maximum recovery is when the doctor decides a patient’s condition has improved as much as it can. At this point, the person may still suffer from an injury and require ongoing treatment.
An individual should wait to reach maximum medical recovery before seeking reimbursement to know the accurate value of the damages. An early settlement means a lower likelihood of being aware of the full extent of injuries. The person could later discover their pain and suffering are greater than they initially believed.
Furthermore, some formulas for pain and suffering calculations rely on how long the damages persisted. Other algorithms use all the economic losses you accumulate over time. As a result, a maximum recovery can get you an accurate estimate of pain and suffering. You and your lawyer can be confident when demanding compensation from the defendant.
How Much Can You Get for Pain and Suffering?
Like other non-economic damages, pain and suffering do not have a fixed value. Judges, juries, and personal injury attorneys do not use the same algorithm to calculate damages. Your amount depends on your lawyer’s method of calculating the settlement.
One way a firm may calculate a typical pain and suffering settlement is the per diem method. This method estimates the value by looking at how long the damages lasted. The attorney assigns a dollar amount to each day and counts the number of days the injuries affected the person.
For example, consider if your lawyer values one day at $120. If the pain and suffering lasted five weeks, totaling 35 days, the damages would be around $4,200. Your attorney would then add this amount to your other losses in the final settlement.
Another method some personal injury lawyers use is to add all the costs of the economic damages. Your attorney finds the sum of lost wages, medical bills, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Then, they increase the sum to determine the value range of your pain and suffering.
You can ask your attorney how they plan to calculate pain and suffering damages. They can inform you of their method and how much they plan to ask for in a settlement. Nevertheless, different parties may determine various numbers. During negotiations, your lawyer fights to ensure the settlement is in your best interest.
Factors That Affect the Value of Pain and Suffering
When lawyers decide on how much pain and suffering damages are worth, they look at multiple factors. One of the factors is the extent of the person’s injuries. Debilitating injuries are more likely to gain additional money for pain and suffering.
The value of your pain and suffering goes up if the consequences of the accident last a long time or are permanent. Notes from a doctor can help show how an injury affects you.
Another factor is if the injuries impact your quality of life. Pain and suffering can hinder an individual’s ability to participate in activities or do daily chores. Communicate with your attorney about how your injuries lowered your quality of life.
How Much Should an Insurance Company Pay for Pain and Suffering?
Many insurance companies use a similar system to find a figure for pain and suffering damages. They begin by calculating how much they already owe claimants. Typically, they add medical expenses and any repair costs for property damage.
Then, an insurer may rate the severity of the accident’s aftermath. A lifelong debilitating injury likely will have a higher rating than a broken bone. After the company assigns a number, it estimates the worth of a claimant’s pain and suffering.
Insurers should assess damages and pay you accordingly. Since adjusters try to avoid large payouts, their calculations may not be fair. A personal injury lawyer works to convince the company to agree to a higher settlement deal.
How to Negotiate With the Insurance Company Successfully?
Insurance adjusters typically handle anywhere from 50 to 100 claims a month. They know how to resolve cases and have methods to save the company money. A low settlement offer is a common way to avoid giving you what you deserve. However, you do not have to accept a small payment.
Instead, you can negotiate for better compensation. Adjusters have plenty of experience, but you can prepare yourself for the phone call to avoid any intimidation from them.
First, pick a range for the settlement figure and decide on a minimum. The minimum can keep you focused when the insurance agent applies pressure. However, do not reveal the chosen amount to them.
Next, ask the adjuster to justify why they want to offer a low settlement. When they give you their reasons, make a note of each one. You can write a letter in response to the justifications. The adjuster will know you understand your claim's worth and may offer more compensation.
Another successful way to meet with the insurance agent is to mention the emotional points of your claim. Emphasize the injury’s pain and refer to any photos of the accident. Using emotional arguments in addition to the facts can help with reimbursement for pain and suffering.
Be sure to wait until you have a lawyer before you negotiate. Attorneys know the tactics insurance companies are likely to use, and they will protect you during negotiations.
For a free consultation to see if legal representation is right for you, contact a personal injury lawyer near you today.