Personal injury claims are a legal vehicle to seek compensation after being injured due to someone else’s negligence. Most people understand that they can pursue damages for their medical costs, lost wages, and in some cases, other miscellaneous losses that can be supported by bills and receipts. But did you know that you can demand compensation for non-economic damages, like your pain, suffering, and inconvenience?
In a personal injury case, calculating how much compensation for pain, suffering, and inconvenience is not as clear as calculating your out-of-pocket losses for property damage, medical expenses, and lost wages. Your pain and suffering can include your discomfort, physical pain, stress, anxiety, changes or limitations in your activity level, physical limitations, and the inconvenience of not only the injury but the treatment as well. But how do you put a dollar amount on these very real yet intangible losses?
How Pain & Suffering Damages are Calculated in Virginia
Many articles on the subject will detail how insurance companies use either a “multiplier” method where your medical bills are multiplied by a number between 1.5 and 5 or a “per diem” rate to calculate your pain, suffering, and inconvenience. This information usually provides unrealistic expectations as each insurance company has its own unique algorithm to calculate the pain and suffering amount that they will offer an injured claimant.
Insurance companies use many different methods and factors to calculate pain and suffering, and each method varies greatly. Some insurance companies use sophisticated computer programs and algorithms. Other insurance companies may rely on their adjusters to evaluate the claim. The one thing that is common among all methods used by insurance companies is that they will try to minimize the value that is offered to the injured party. Insurance companies look at an injured person as simply a number and they do not factor in a person’s unique experience when calculating their pain and suffering. That is why it’s extremely important to have an experienced attorney personalize the impact that the injury had on a person’s life.
Keep in mind, the insurance companies handle claims daily, so they are typically aware of the general values that are awarded by specific areas, courts, and even specific judges. They may even track how well particular injury attorneys and firms do in your geographic area. These are all factors that insurance companies know that the average person making a claim does not know. So, they use that to their advantage. These are the same factors that a good injury lawyer can use to the advantage of their client.
Having Sufficient Evidence is Important
Like in every personal injury claim, having the proper supporting evidence is vital to the success of a case. This is especially true for getting properly compensated for your pain, suffering, and inconvenience following a car accident, slip and fall, or other injuries that was the fault of someone else.
Evidence to help determine the value of your pain and suffering may include:
- Medical bills.
- Medical documentation that details your injury, restrictions, and impact on your everyday life and activities.
- Photographs of your injuries.
- Receipts for medication.
- Journal of narrative statements that you have written following your accident.
- Video or written statements from people that are close to you on the impact the accident has had on your life.
- Expert witnesses to support disabilities or impairments.
Why Having an Attorney Helps
There is no objective way to measure emotional trauma, physical stress, limitations of some activities, or even physical pain from an injury with a universally accepted or used program, system, or calculation. All insurance companies, adjusters, and judges will have their own methods to try to reach a fair assessment.
Because the method of determining pain and suffering values is so open to discretion, having an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side from the very beginning of your injury is to your advantage and gives you the best chance at being fairly compensated. Your attorney can present the most compelling case and ensure that supporting evidence is presented so that you may be compensated as much as possible, not a small amount that the insurance company tries to say is “fair.”
Call the Firm that Treats you Like Family
If you have been injured in Virginia by someone else’s negligence, contact Huffman & Huffman Brothers-in-Law for legal assistance in all steps of your personal injury claim, including the valuation of your pain and suffering damages. Let our personal injury attorneys do the heavy lifting so that you can focus on your recovery and feel confident that you will get the compensation you are entitled to. Don’t let the insurance companies take advantage of you. Contact our firm today for a free consultation.
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