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How Do Insurance Companies Calculate Pain and Suffering?

Personal Injury

Understanding Pain and Suffering

Come to think of it, how can you determine a monetary value for pain and suffering after an accident? While there are no set standards for establishing pain and suffering in an injury claim, there are some factors that an insurance company puts into consideration when calculating the settlement amount.

Pain and suffering entail a broad range of damages ranging from physical pain to emotional turmoil, fear, worry, inability to sleep and loss of enjoyment of life as well as other inconveniences. You can recover some damages for pain and suffering in almost every personal injury case.  That said, how does an insurance provider determine the value of pain and suffering?  As stated, there is no particular formula to calculate the value of pain and suffering after an accident. However, most often, lawyers either multiply the value of actual damages (medical expenses and lost income) by a number between 1 and 5 based on the intensity of the injury.

Thus, if your actual damages have a value of $5,000, the attorney may triple that, so you end up getting $15,000 as the value for pain and suffering.   Alternatively, the lawyer may use the per diem method, also known as the per day approach. The attorney will assign a particular daily amount, say $500 from the day you sustained injuries up to the date of maximum recovery. Consequently, if it takes 90 days before you can achieve maximum recovery, the pain and suffering amount will be $45,000.  In the advent of technology, most insurance companies are now using sophisticated computer programs to determine the value of pain and suffering following an accident. These programs are designed to consider factors such as the type of injury and the treatment regimen.

How Do You Prove Pain and Suffering?

You can recover damages for pain and suffering, but how can you show the said damages? Proof of these type of damages can take many forms and the more evidence you collect, the higher the odds of getting a compensation amount that is equivalent to your damages.  You can show pain and suffering through pictures and personal journals that document your emotional and physical feelings. Additionally, video recordings from friends and family can be used as evidence of how the injury has negatively impacted on your way of life. Evidence of visits to a mental medical facility can prove helpful when claiming for damages such as depression and lack of sleep as well as anxiety.

How Do You Know That the Settlement Amount is Reasonable?

The insurance company will pay for damages caused by pain and suffering alright, but how do you know if the offer made is fair? The best way is to use either of the methods mentioned above to calculate an approximate value of your claim.  Engage a personal injury attorney to help you determine a reasonable value for your pain and suffering and get the ball rolling on your personal injury claim. The lawyer will advise if there is a need to increase the amount if the proposed figure is not reasonable. Additionally, he or she will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf with the aim of protecting your interests.


Employer Liability in Car Accident Cases


When Can an Employer Be Held Liable After an Accident?

As an employed driver, you are expected to carry out your duties as assigned by your employer. But, what happens if you cause an accident while performing the said duties with the car and on behalf of your employer? Can your employer be sued for the crash? Simply put, yes, legal action can be taken against the employer, but there must be sufficient grounds to do so.  Employer liability can arise in the event of an accident caused by a driver if there is negligence on the employer’s part or if the theory of vicarious liability is applied as outlined below.

Employer Negligence

An employer is expected to vet a driver comprehensively before hiring. For instance, an employer should ensure that the driver has a valid commercial driver’s license and has enough experience required for the job. The employer should as well check the prospective driver’s past driving record and carry out a drug test. In other words, a hiring company has a responsibility to ensure that a commercial driver is fit for the job in every aspect.  Failure to do so amounts to negligence, and the employer can be sued if the driver causes an accident and it is determined that the employer did not vet the driver accordingly before hiring.

Negligence Supervision

As an employer, once you have hired a driver, it is your duty to ensure that he or she adheres to the set safety standards and laws. In essence, this means that if you have commercial drivers working for you, it is your responsibility to ensure that they follow logging requirements as per the federal and state laws. You should also see to it that the cargo is appropriately weighted and loaded.  If an employer neglects the duty to check and ensure that the driver(s) are showing levelheaded care and proficiency in carrying the job as required, that employer can be sued in case of an accident.

Vicarious Liability

Under the theory of vicarious liability, legal action can be taken against an employer for an accident caused by their driver even when the hiring company is not necessarily at fault. The theory of vicarious liability states that when an agent acts in a certain way, he or she is acting, in the same manner, the principle would have. In this context, the employer is the “principle”, and when he or she gives instructions to the driver (agent), it is as if that employer is the one executing the orders.  For instance, if a driver is instructed to pick up cargo and crashes as he makes his or her way to collect the freight, legal action can be taken against the employer. However, if the driver makes a stop at a coffee shop and is in a collusion while getting the coffee, the employer cannot be held liable. Additionally, the employer is not liable for malicious acts of an employee such as when the driver decides to disobey traffic lights leading to an accident.

Seeking Legal Assistance

If you or a person you know has been in a car crash in which a hiring company can be held legally responsible, contact the best lawyers in your area immediately. An attorney will help you analyze the circumstances surrounding your case and give the best legal advice. Most often, consultation sessions are free, so you can ask anything you need to know at no cost.


How to File a Personal Injury Claim

Personal Injury

Personal injury law encompasses a broad range of accidents from medical malpractice to slip and falls accidents as well as using faulty products. As such, the process of filing an injury claim can differ from one accident to the other. Nonetheless, personal injury claims are regulated by concepts such as severity of the injury, facts surrounding the accident, who is liable and whether or not there is an insurance policy in place for the hazard that caused the damage. Because personal injury lawsuits are different, make sure that you understand your legal rights before you make a claim. Here are the basics of what goes into a personal injury case.

Start By Finding Out If an Insurance Policy Covers Your Injuries

Before you file an injury suit, seek to know if the party to blame an insurance policy that covers the damages you intend to pursue. For instance, if you get involved in a car accident, is the at-fault driver insured? Or, does the owner of a store have a liability coverage if you slip and fall?  Determining if a policy caters for your injuries is essential as it helps you know if you can recover damages when you file a lawsuit. While you might sue the at-fault party and win, getting the actual compensation amount can be challenging if party to blame is not insured or has no assets. Nonetheless, you can still sue the at-fault party whether or not they have insurance coverage and let them find a way of compensating you.


Enlist the Help of a Lawyer

Your chances of winning an injury lawsuit are always high if you have a lawyer by your side. Get in touch with an injury attorney in your area for a free consultation session. The lawyer will assess the facts surrounding your case and advise you accordingly.  In most cases, personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning that you only pay the attorney if he or she wins your case. Once the court awards a settlement amount, the lawyer will take a predetermined percentage of the money as legal fees.

Make a Decision to File (or Not File) a Suit

Typically, most personal injury cases never get to the courthouse. A settlement amount is agreed upon before a plaintiff resolves to go to court. If the liable party is insured, initiate a third party claim against the insurance provider. Start by identifying the at-fault party’s insurance provider and the policy number. Send a correspondence to carrier, letting them know that you sustained injuries and that it is your intention to seek compensation. Include your contact information, the insured’s details and the date as well as the place of the accident.Be sure not to give intricate details surrounding the accident. You will use the specifics later on when negotiating for a settlement amount.

If the negotiations don’t bear fruits or breakdown, you personal injury lawyer will help you initiate an injury suit at your local civil court. Remember that personal injury lawsuits are subject to the statute of limitations, so make sure that you file your case before the set period expires. If the limit on the time you have to sue elapses, you lose your right to take legal action against the insurance company.