Even if you’ve heard the term “pain and suffering” as it relates to auto accident cases, it is confusing to understand exactly what it is and how it’s valued. If you were in a car accident in Mobile, AL, and you’ve been seriously injured, pain and suffering can be an important part of valuing your case.
Keep reading to learn more about pain and suffering, how pain and suffering is valued after a car accident in Mobile, AL, and how our team at Long & Long, Attorneys at Law can help you.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
The first step is to understand what “pain and suffering” means. It is a blanket legal term that covers all of the “invisible injuries” you might suffer. This includes the toll of the physical pain you experience from your injuries and also more internal losses like emotional trauma, fear, panic attacks, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, loss of your ability to enjoy life, and loss of comfort and relationships.
Almost every injury case involves some level of pain and suffering. After all, serious injuries are quite stressful to deal with, and a degree of anxiety and emotional trauma is common across the board. What differs is how badly you’re suffering from these invisible injuries.
How Is Pain and Suffering Valued?
Pain and suffering is considered “general damages.” This contrasts with “special damages” which include your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses that are easier to place a value on. There’s no set rule as to how an insurance company or an attorney for auto accidents calculates a value on pain and suffering. Each company or auto accident lawyer will approach it differently. For the most part, however, it will be valued by putting a multiplier on your special damages.
For example, if it’s determined that your special damages are worth $10,000, your car wreck lawyer might decide that the pain and suffering you’ve endured is worth three times your special damages. In that case, your pain and suffering compensation is valued at $30,000. In other cases, the vehicle accident law firm may decide to apply a daily figure cost. In this approach, your lawyer might decide that your pain and suffering is worth, say, $250 per day until you reach maximum recovery.
Does the Insurance Company Have To Abide by This Amount?
No insurance company is required to abide by the figures used by your auto accident law firm for your pain and suffering. In fact, insurance companies will often try to poke holes in the initial demand letter and will apply their own figures to come up with their suggested settlement amount, which is often lower than your original demand. That’s where negotiations begin. Your vehicle accident attorney will go back and forth with the insurance company until the two parties ideally meet somewhere in the middle at a figure that’s satisfactory to everyone.
How To Prove Pain and Suffering
Part of the negotiations will involve the insurance company’s demands that you prove your pain and suffering. To do this, you will need to gather documentation and evidence of the harm you’ve suffered. Documentation of your physical injuries and the treatments you’ve gone through can help to show the pain and suffering you’ve endured as well as the physical damage.
Keeping a detailed journal of your feelings and what you’re dealing with can help as well. If you have seen a mental health professional, proof of your treatment can also help. If you’re claiming injuries like anxiety, depression, loss of enjoyment of life, insomnia, or other issues like these, you may need to show proof of treatment.
What’s a Fair Settlement?
In the end, it’s up to you what you think is a fair settlement for your situation. You will need to listen to the offer on the table and discuss the issues with your vehicle accident lawyer to determine what compensation you will be able to seek. Don’t be afraid to ask how pain and suffering has been valued to gain some more insight into the numbers on the page. Understand, though, that the insurance company isn’t obliged to tell you the specific figures they used to come up with their settlement number.
In the end, you will need to think about all of the issues you’re facing and whether they seem covered by the settlement offer, then make the decision for yourself whether it’s a fair offer. Your attorney is a cherished and valuable ally in this fight and they can help you decide if a settlement makes sense for your losses.
Let the Long & Long Family Help You
If you were injured in an auto accident in Mobile, Alabama, Long & Long, Attorneys at Law is here to help. Our experienced car accident lawyers will handle your case on your behalf, ensuring you seek the maximum amount of compensation possible for your losses, and treat you like family every step of the way. Give us a call today at 251-432-2277 or fill out our form online to get your free case review.