After suffering a severe injury, victims often experience emotional distress related to their physical injuries. Most personal injury accidents are caused by someone else’s negligence and could have been prevented had the defendant used more caution. Understandably, personal injury victims want to recover compensation for the physical and mental injuries they have suffered.
When we meet with new clients, they often ask us whether they can seek pain and suffering damages from the insurance company. The answer is yes, you can seek damages for pain and suffering, but the amount you end up receiving may not be as high as you would prefer. Proving emotional damages is more challenging than many people realize. However, with the help of an experienced lawyer, you can negotiate aggressively with the insurance company to recover the total amount of compensation you deserve.
What Constitutes Pain and Suffering?
Determining the value of a victim’s pain and suffering is more subjective than assessing the value of a person’s physical injuries. Pain and suffering include physical pain as well as emotional distress caused by a personal injury accident. Additionally, pain and suffering damages include pain from medical treatments and surgeries, pain during recuperation time, and the overall pain victims experience from their physical injuries.
Suffering relates to the mental distress and anguish victims suffer after going through an accident. Anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness related to the victim’s injuries are considered suffering. Worrying about the injuries and a life of physical limitations can also be included as suffering.
How Do Insurance Companies Calculate Pain and Suffering?
If you have been involved in a car accident, you will need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Oregon drivers are required to purchase minimum amounts of auto insurance. Most automobile insurance policies will pay out compensation for pain and suffering in car accident cases. They will typically use the bodily injury liability portion of the car insurance policy to make these types of payments. The bodily injury liability portion will also cover the victim’s lost wages and medical expenses related to the car accident.
Bodily injury coverage has limits based on the amount of coverage the at-fault driver purchased. For example, suppose the driver only has $50,000 in bodily injury liability. In that case, the insurance company is only required to pay up to $50,000 in medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. If you experience a catastrophic injury, it is unlikely that $50,000 will cover your medical expenses, let alone compensate you for your pain and suffering.
After the benefits have been exhausted, the insurer is not required to pay you additional benefits. In other words, once you max out the policy limit, the insurance company will not pay any more compensation to you. You will need to sue the defendant for the rest of your damages, assuming that they have enough assets to cover your expenses.
Insurance companies typically use a modifier when they calculate the amount of pain and suffering damages they will pay a victim. They will calculate the total amount of your medical expenses then multiply that number by another number suitable for your injury. The more permanent or severe your injury, the higher the multiplier and vice versa. After they have multiplied in medical costs, they will add any loss of earning capacity claims or lost wages you have endured to come up with the value of your pain and suffering.
Insurance Adjusters Will Try to Deny Paying for Pain and Suffering
Insurance claims adjusters will carefully scrutinize every piece of evidence. They will try to find any way possible to deny your claim or offer you an amount that is too low. Denying compensation for pain and suffering is easier, and they will use any means necessary to do so. The adjuster may try to claim that you already had a pre-existing injury before the car accident.
They may claim that you are exaggerating the severity of your pain and suffering. Insurance adjusters were also considering how long it took you to receive medical treatment after the accident. For example, if you waited a day to receive treatment, the insurance adjuster may claim that you were not severely injured.
Why You Need an Attorney to Fight for You
Working with an attorney is crucial to recovering the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering. At DuBois Law Group, LLC, We understand all of the games insurance adjusters play and know the arguments they will make to try to deny your claim. We will begin representing you immediately and protecting our claim. After investigating your case, we will use the evidence we discover to negotiate a settlement that ensures you receive the compensation you deserve.
We will negotiate back and forth with the insurance company, a process that can take a few weeks. Each party will counter with evidence showing why their counter-offer is appropriate. If we cannot agree to a settlement amount out of court, we may need to take your case to trial. We will bring your case before a judge or jury for a decision. Judges and juries do not use the same calculation for pain and suffering as insurance companies, and bringing your case before the court can be more unpredictable. We will advise you about your legal options so you can make an informed decision.
Contact a Portland Pain and Suffering Lawyer Today
Have you been injured due to another person or company’s negligence? Would you like to recover compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured due to your injuries? If so, the experienced Portland car accident lawyers at DuBois Law Group, LLC are here to help. We understand all of the tactics insurance companies use to deny paying victims the compensation they deserve for their pain and suffering. We will develop an effective legal strategy and negotiate strongly with the insurance company. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation to learn more about how our firm can fight for you.