Insurance companies do pay for pain and suffering. Both South Carolina and Georgia laws allow you to receive compensation for pain and suffering from insurance companies, as well as for your monetary losses and expenses from an accident. If another party was negligent or at fault for causing the accident, and you suffered damages as a result, their insurance is responsible for paying for these damages.
While it is easy to quantify expenses such as property damage, doctor and hospital bills, and lost wages, it is difficult to put a dollar amount on pain and suffering—as every person experiences pain and suffering differently. So many factors go into determining what insurance companies will pay, but as a rule, they generally try to pay as little as they can get away with.
Fortunately, there is help available in getting the settlement you deserve. A lawyer can estimate what your case is worth and fight to get you the justice and the settlement you deserve. If negotiations with insurance companies break down, they can take your case to court if necessary.
Defining Pain and Suffering
In general, pain and suffering damages are designed to compensate you for both physical and mental pain that resulted from your accident. Compensation also covers the disruption to your daily life that occurs from being traumatized and in pain—including marriage, family, work, and social life.
Physical pain is pain that you are feeling from your injuries, such as broken bones, torn ligaments, lacerations, burns, or amputations.
Mental and emotional pain resulting from your injuries may take forms such as:
- Damaged relationships with your spouse and family
- Recurring nightmares
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Grief from the loss of a loved one in the accident
- Loss of ability to enjoy the activities you once did
Insurance companies will look at the effects of the accident on your life, and take these factors into account in coming up with a settlement. A jury will do this too if your case goes to court. Some of the factors considered include:
- Shock and trauma from the accident
- Whether your pain interferes with normal living, activities, family relationships, and enjoyment of life
- Whether your pain interferes with your ability to work and earn money
- How long the pain is likely to continue
- If you suffering mental anguish or emotional problems (and whether they are likely to continue into the future)
Proving Pain and Suffering
There are no bills and receipts for pain and suffering damages, so they are often disputed by insurance companies. The best way to obtain a fair settlement is to show how the accident has impacted your life.
Ways to demonstrate pain and suffering include:
- Documentation of your medical problems and all treatment received
- Testimony from medical providers and therapists who have worked with you
- Testimony from mental health professionals about symptoms such as insomnia or anxiety
- Testimony and statements from friends and relatives who knew you before and after the accident
- Your own testimony describing your pain and suffering
- Photographs and videos of your injuries and documentation of what you have to go through each day as a result of your pain
- Testimony from experts who have worked with other accident victims
How to Calculate the Value of Pain and Suffering
There are no clear rules to calculating an amount for pain and suffering. Insurance companies will consider what a jury may award in coming up with a settlement offer, as well. The more categories of pain and suffering you are experiencing and the more permanent and serious your symptoms are, the more your case may be worth.
Your insurance company may arrive at a figure for your settlement offer by using the “multiplier method.” This means taking your actual monetary expenses, including medical bills, property damage, and lost wages, and multiplying it by a number between 1 and 5—according to the severity of your injuries. The greater your injuries, the higher the number that will be used as a multiplier.
The “per diem method” may also be something that an insurance company may use. This is done by calculating your total compensatory damages including taking a dollar amount and multiplying that by the number of days it should take you to recover.
Our Team Can Begin Working on Your Case Today
Contact George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers. We are aware of the tactics that insurance companies use and how to combat them. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the circumstances of your individual situation or explain how insurance companies may pay for your pain and suffering. Call us today or fill out our online form.