When you’ve been injured in a car accident due to someone else being at fault, their car insurance will calculate what they anticipate you should receive. However, what is your pain and suffering really worth?
Understanding how the insurance companies make this important calculation in New Orleans will ensure that you’re getting all that you’re entitled toward.
You are able to seek two types of compensation: economic and non-economic. The economic damages are the ones that are easy to calculate. They’ll include such things as lost wages and the total of your medical bills. Non-economic damages are harder to calculate because there are no receipts attached to those. They include such things as missed experiences, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.
Depending on the extent of the injury, you may have significant non-economic damages that deserve compensation.
Since most insurance companies are looking to pay as little as possible, they’ll often try to get away with only the economic compensation. If they send anything for pain and suffering, it will be nominal. This is why it can be advantageous to work with a personal injury lawyer in New Orleans. It ensures that you have an experienced lawyer working through the laws of Louisiana and who will fight for what you deserve.
How Pain and Suffering is Calculated
How can you put a price on your pain and suffering? While it may sound impossible, insurance companies have gotten very good at it.
There are both physical and emotional forms of distress.
If you’ve been written prescriptions for anxiety, insomnia, or depression following your accident, it can make it easier to “prove” that you are dealing with various physical aspects of stress.
If you’ve had to visit a counselor to talk about sadness, nightmares, post-traumatic stress, or anything else, you may be able to “prove” that you’re dealing with the emotional aspects.
It’s not all about proving it, though. It’s about identifying that you’re going through it.
Is it temporary or permanent? How long will you have to deal with the stress of what happened? While some may be temporary, other aspects may be permanent – especially if you lost someone in the accident or you’ve been permanently disabled.
Most insurance companies will use one of two methods to calculate the pain and suffering:
- Per diem method: This is a common method with temporary injuries, using your daily working average by the number of days you’re suffering
- Multiplier method: When there is a long-term or permanent method, they multiply the total amount of economic damages by two, three, four, or even more.
The insurance company can choose how they make their calculation. Before you accept any kind of settlement, it’s advantageous for you to do your own calculations. If they offer you something significantly less than what you think you deserve, it’s worth negotiating for a higher settlement.
Maximizing Your Pain and Suffering Settlement
Most insurance companies work quickly to provide a settlement. They want you to accept quickly, too. It allows them to close the case and move forward to the next case that lands on their desk.
Once you’re issued your settlement amount, you can choose to accept or you can choose to reject their offer. When you reject, it can be beneficial to hire an attorney. It allows you to get help with negotiating the settlement to a number that is more reflective of your true pain and suffering.
At Allan Berger & Associates, our lawyers have experience arguing with insurance claims adjusters. We know how to achieve the best possible outcomes – and if we’re able to prove a greater amount of pain and suffering to the insurance companies, it can increase your settlement.
There are quite a few ways to maximize your pain and suffering amount. This can be done through expert testimony (such as a doctor or psychologist) as well as from statements made by friends and family members.
In some instances, insurance companies will see the err of their ways and offer more pain and suffering. In other instances, they’ll stand firm in their initial settlement offer.
This is when you have the option of suing. A personal injury lawyer will guide you through the process of taking the case to court in Louisiana. Essentially, you sue the person who caused the accident and their insurance company to seek a greater award for your pain and suffering. Particularly if you have been through an extensive amount of physical and emotional distress, a lawsuit may be the best option for you.
Often, it all comes down to what you’re willing to accept and how long you want to wait in order to see the settlement. Many insurance companies will settle to avoid the inside of a courtroom. If your case does make it to court, it can extend your case by months if not years, making it harder for you to see the financial compensation any time in the near future.
Knowing what you want and what you deserve will simplify making the tough decisions. A personal injury lawyer will talk to you about the options and calculate damages to help you every step of the way.
Is There a Cap on Damages?
While some states have a cap on the total amount that you could be compensated for, Louisiana doesn’t have a cap. When it comes to the money that you could possibly receive for such personal injury cases as car accidents, there is no cap. The only time that there is a cap is for a worker’s compensation case.
Knowing that there isn’t a cap means that you’ll want to get the most possible based on your lost wages, your pain and suffering, and the total medical expenses that you’ve had to endure.
With the help of our personal injury lawyers at Allan Berger & Associates, we can walk you through the process. We’ll fight to help you get what you deserve from a car accident claim. To learn more and set an appointment for a consultation, call us at 504-526-2222 or contact us online.