If you have suffered an injury due to the fault of another, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering, among other losses. The pain and suffering portion of the claim is always the most challenging part of a personal injury case, and it is where our expertise comes in. The insurance companies typically do not place a high value on pain and suffering and often offer a settlement that is less than what you deserve for your injuries. We have a great deal of experience in this area and can work with the insurance company to make sure you receive the best settlement possible.
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How Do You Calculate Pain and Suffering?
To calculate pain and suffering, we discuss a number of factors with the insurance company adjusters. The first factor to consider is whether your medical records reveal that you were either totally or partially disabled as a result of your injury. Total disability means that you are unable to work or perform normal daily activities without an abundance of pain. Partial disability means that you are able to perform light duty work but are still experiencing pain.
Another factor that comes into play is the extent of your medical treatment. When advising our clients, we strongly suggest that you attend all doctor’s and/or physical therapy appointments until you are formally discharged by a medical professional and are pain free. Upon receipt of this discharge report, our attorneys will begin to negotiate your settlement.
Failing to follow-up with medical treatment could have a detrimental effect on your case. This makes it difficult to offer proof to the insurance company that you are experiencing pain and suffering due to your injuries. Lack of medical record evidence could leave the insurance company adjuster unconvinced as to your pain, and this could be reflected in the award that you receive. It is best to be sure to attend all of your medical appointments to document your level of pain along with your treatment goals and progress.
The type of injury you sustain is also taken into account. More serious injuries are considered to have a greater impact on your life, and therefore, a bigger award for pain and suffering is warranted. The insurance company will first examine the type of injury that you sustained and then determine the level of severity. For example, a broken bone is considered to be a more serious and painful injury than a neck or back strain. This analysis has an impact on the amount of the settlement you receive.
Insurance companies will next examine ways in which the injury has effected your life in order to determine the amount you should be awarded for your pain and suffering. For example, if you are unable to exercise, attend class, attend family functions, go on vacations, do every day activities, or go to appointments, these will be heavily weighted when determining how much your pain and suffering is worth.
Finally, the future impact of your injury is taken into account. If you do not fully recover from your injury and in turn experience “residual pain,” the insurance company will often compensate you more. In order to prove residual pain, it must be indicated in your medical records that your doctor believes you will continue to experience pain following the termination of treatment. For example, herniated or ruptured discs in the back or neck area often do not heal completely, so an insurance company adjuster will often offer more compensation for this residual pain and suffering than that of a less severe injury.
Depending on the facts of your case, there can be many other factors surrounding your injuries that the insurance company adjuster should take into consideration when determining a settlement amount for your case, so it is important to seek legal advice in order to get the settlement or award you deserve. If you have suffered an injury that was not your fault, call us 24/7 toll free at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out a contact form for a free (no obligation) case evaluation.