Compensation For Pain And Suffering After a Car Accident

Compensation for pain and suffering after a car accident is possible, but the pain and suffering must be documented to have a fair car insurance settlement. To calculate pain and suffering after a car accident, we recommend hiring a car accident lawyer. Car accident pain and suffering compensation is different from medical bills from a car accident injury. Car accident pain and suffering settlements will require hiring a lawyer.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 20, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Pain and suffering are defined as the discomfort, inconvenience, mental anguish, and other physiological effects that a car accident victim goes through.
  • Being compensated for medical bills and car repairs is separate from a pain and suffering claim.
  • Insurance companies do not usually volunteer to pay a pain and suffering claim, so make sure you have adequately documented the recovery process to ensure a fair settlement and speak up to claims adjusters.
  • If you feel compensation is necessary for severe injuries, do not feel guilty about requesting more money from your insurance provider.

Each car insurance provider determines the amount of money paid out for the pain and suffering caused after an accident occurs. Usually, car insurance companies will try to settle these types of claims as quickly as possible, but it is important that victims get a complete medical report before settling.

Parties that have been injured in car accidents can also be further compensated for pain and suffering if they continue to experience issues in the future.

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What factors are used to calculate compensation for a pain and suffering claim?

While neither a doctor nor insurance adjusters can feel your physical pain, photos of your injuries and your medical condition can play a significant role in your accident injury settlement. You also should do your best to carefully document any out-of-pocket expenses associated with medical treatment after you sustain your injury.

Minor types of injuries that only require an ice pack, aspirin, and a few days off from work might not qualify for a pain and suffering injury claim.

However, accident victims who receive more than just minor injuries that go on to require surgery, are hospitalized for extended periods of time, or have to attend dozens of doctor’s visits could be eligible to receive a large settlement. If this is close to your situation, or you sustained permanent injuries, you should talk to a personal injury lawyer to help you with your insurance claims.

Keeping a journal that details your mental condition, the challenges that you encounter, and doctor’s notes can help to establish how much you should be compensated.

Remember that car insurance companies do not usually volunteer to pay for pain and suffering; you may need to specifically bring it up to the insurance adjuster that is helping you with your claims.

If you receive a settlement offer very early on, you should ask for more time to consult with your doctor before accepting it.

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How do you decide how much money is fair compensation for a pain and suffering claim?

The only person that can determine how much your pain and suffering is worth is you. Since you are the person that has been in immense pain, you will need to figure out the minimum settlement that you will accept. You can talk with a personal injury attorney to help you decide as well; an experienced attorney could even help you more effectively present your case and how it will impact your quality of life going forward.

If you have physical scars, experienced head trauma, or were permanently physically injured, you can ask for a sizable sum of money.

Most car insurance companies will ask you to sign legally binding documents that will prevent you from suing or asking for additional economic damages in the future once your pain and suffering claim is paid out. This is designed to protect them from future losses, so it makes it even more critical that you get a reasonable settlement when you originally make your pain and suffering claim. You will need to think about the nature of your injuries before you agree to these terms.

If there is even the slightest chance that you will require future surgeries or other medical treatments, you should not relinquish your rights.

What should you consider before you settle your pain and suffering claim?

Most physical injuries heal eventually, but you should also consider the fact that physical pain can come and go. Broken bones, torn muscles and ligaments, concussions, and even lacerations can continue to cause discomfort or severe pain several weeks, months, or years down the road and those things can require ongoing medical treatment and rack up significant medical expenses.

Consulting with several doctors, including medical specialists, can help you to anticipate what types of complications may occur. Insurance companies may help with the associated medical expenses for testing and evaluation.

You should not feel guilty about asking your car insurance company for more money, if you believe that it is necessary. You only have one shot at getting a settlement for pain and suffering.

While your request may not be answered, you should make it apparent that you are fully aware of the extent of your injuries.

If your family and friends have aided in your recovery, you might also want to think about whether they will be available in the future. In the event that your injuries flare up, you may be in even more pain if you do not have a strong support system.

What can you do to insurance your compensation for personal injury claims?

As a general rule, remember that insurance companies need to see ascertainable proof to approve claims. This means that you need to have a file prepared to get the settlement that you seek for your pain and suffering claim.

It is your responsibility to inform the car insurance company if further injuries are found. Photos taken when you were first injured will be helpful, but pictures taken at various stages of your recovery will be even more beneficial to your case.

Ask your doctor to write detailed medical reports, including any complaints of pain and discomfort. If you were on any medicines, had to see a physical therapist, or needed to be referred to a specialist, be sure that all of this information is forwarded to the insurance company.

As long as you are truthful and transparent, you should receive the amount of money for your pain and suffering claim that you requested.

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