If you have suffered a personal 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 part of the claim is always what we battle with the insurance company the most. They often do not see pain and suffering as being worth as much money as we do.
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To calculate pain and suffering, we discuss a number of factors with insurance company adjusters. The first thing we look at is whether your doctors indicate, in their medical reports, that you were either totally or partially disabled from the injury, or both. Total disability means that you are unable to go to work and also are unable to do many of your normal daily activities without a lot of pain. Partial disability means that you are able to go back to at least light duty work but are still in pain.
If you are a client of ours, we would tell you that if you are in pain, you must try to keep all of your doctor’s and/or physical therapy appointments, until you are either discharged by your doctor and/or pain free. When we get the final discharge report from your doctor is when we can begin to negotiate your settlement.
The worst mistake you can make is to not keep your medical appointments, because it is hard for us to prove to the insurance company that you are having pain and suffering, unless your doctors document this in their medical reports. In most cases, the insurance company adjuster simply will not believe you were in pain unless you have consistent treatment and your doctor documents your pain and suffering in their medical reports.
To calculate pain and suffering, the insurance company will first look at the type of injury you sustained. For example, in most instances, a broken bone is considered to be a much more serious and painful injury than a neck or back strain. For example, most athletes recover more quickly from a sprained ankle than a broken ankle.
How the injury has affected your life is another factor the insurance company will consider when determining the amount of money you should get for pain and suffering. For example, if you are unable to work out at the gym, are unable to attend classes, are unable to go to a wedding or another important event, or you miss a vacation, all these factors, among others, are important in determining how much your pain and suffering is worth.
If you do not fully recover from your injury, then this is considered “residual pain” and the insurance company will usually offer more money for this. In order to show residual pain, your doctor will have to write a medical report stating that, in their opinion, you will continue to have pain even after you finish your treatment. For example, herniated or ruptured discs in the back or neck area often do not heal completely and typically an insurance company adjuster will offer more money for residual pain and suffering for this type of injury than a back or neck sprain.
There are many other issues the insurance company adjuster takes into consideration while determining what to offer you to settle your case. If you have suffered a personal injury that was not your fault, call us 24/7 toll free or fill out a contact form for a free (no obligation) case evaluation.