It’s a common misconception that an insurance company will automatically compensate an accident victim for pain and suffering.
The reality of the situation is that the extent of your pain and suffering must be proven before an insurance company can write a check to cover it.
This article will explore how insurance companies calculate pain and suffering and how an accident lawyer can maximize your compensation.
Understanding Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages
When determining the amount of compensation an accident victim can receive in an insurance claim, there are two types of damages to take into account: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are relatively straightforward, and it’s possible to objectively assign a dollar amount to them. They include financial losses that can be measured, such as:
- Past and future medical bills, treatments, and therapies
- Lost wages
- Loss in future earning potential
- Property damage
Pain and suffering fall into the other category of damages, known as non-economic damages. By contrast, these damages measure how an injury affects your quality of life. For example, does a physical impairment caused by the injury diminish your enjoyment of certain activities or prohibit you from participating in your favorite hobbies?
Determining Pain and Suffering
Measuring pain and suffering is subjective, and the “worth” of a case will vary based on the person and the circumstances.
Insurance companies may use one or more of the following when they decide how much to pay for pain and suffering:
- Proprietary cost algorithms: Most insurance companies will have built-in models where they can plug in various factors to decide how much to pay.
- Type and severity of injuries: Some injuries are deemed more serious than others. For example, losing a limb or being permanently disfigured tends to command a higher amount of compensation than a broken wrist.
- Medical treatment: Long-term or extensive medical treatments can result in extreme physical discomfort. Related to this concept is the idea of mental anguish and other psychological effects, including sleeplessness, anxiety, and depression, for example.
- Local policies: Some states limit the amount of pain and suffering that can be paid out for a personal injury claim. In Florida, a medical malpractice suit is limited to $500,000 in pain and suffering damages. This limit has recently been removed in wrongful death lawsuits, however.
Every Case Is Different
Though your medical records give insurance companies a starting point in determining damages from physical injuries, how your injuries affect your quality of life has to be argued before an appropriate measure of compensation can be established.
For example, suppose you’re an avid soccer player and an accident has resulted in a leg injury that prevents you from playing soccer for the rest of your life. In that case, the amount of pain of suffering should be higher than if you lived a sedentary lifestyle.
To determine how much a victim’s pain and suffering is worth, an accident lawyer will gather evidence from the following sources:
- Personal testimony
- Testimony from friends and family
- Expert testimony from doctors and other professionals
Find Out How Much Your Case is Worth
At Aigen Law Firm, it’s our goal to maximize compensation for each and every one of our clients. We offer a free consultation, and there is no fee unless we recover money for you. Contact us today to discuss your case.