Car Accident Pain and Suffering Claims Overview
You've been involved in a car accident, and as a result, you are experiencing persistent headaches and depression that distract you from your daily activities. You are planning to make a claim with the insurance company, but how do you prove such intangible damages? Read on to find out how to make a claim for car accident pain and suffering damages.
Before Filing a Pain and Suffering Claim
The vast majority of car accident cases never make it to court. Instead, these cases are settled and resolved by the insurance companies. So, before you file a pain and suffering claim, be sure to check the insurance company guidelines and applicable state laws to discover any limitations or barriers, like the "no-fault system" and "damages caps," preventing you to recover damages to a certain amount.
Some states follow the no-fault system of liability, which allows you to recover damages only in limited circumstances, regardless of who was at fault. These states won't allow you to recover pain and suffering damages, unless your injury meets certain criteria laid out under the state's laws. In addition, some states impose a damages cap on noneconomic damages, including pain and suffering. A damages cap is a law that limits the amount of damages you can recover. For example, Oklahoma puts a damages cap on noneconomic damages, which include pain and suffering damages, to $350,000 in a single lawsuit.
Calculating Car Accident Pain and Suffering Damages
After you establish that the other driver is liable for your injuries, you need to prove that your pain and suffering damages are associated with the accident. Pain and suffering damages include any mental or physical distress you've suffered as a result of the accident. Evaluating these types of damages is highly subjective, and there's no clear bright-line rule in calculating pain and suffering damages. It involves balancing many factors because two individuals may experience a significantly different level of pain and suffering from the same type of accident.
How to File a Pain and Suffering Claim
Below, you'll find a quick step-by-step guide to filing a claim for car accident pain and suffering damages.
Step 1: Gather Supporting Evidence
To prepare to file a claim for your car accident injuries, you should gather necessary documentation that supports your claim. You should first obtain a police report, if available, and use it to support your claim with accurate facts about what happened at the scene and who is likely at fault. Then, you should gather as many documents as you can to prove the severity of your medical condition. Some of the acceptable documents are:
- Medical records
- Receipts of any prescribed medication
- Medical bills
- Doctor's note
- Proof of lost wages
- Photos of your injuries
If there's no record of your injuries, the insurance company or the court will assume that you did not experience any pain or suffering. Therefore, it's important to collect as much evidence as you can.
Step 2: Write a Settlement Demand Letter
After you've collected the necessary documents, you should write a demand letter and send it along with copies of supporting documents to the insurance company. Your demand letter should explain your pain and suffering and tell your side of the story. Make sure you only state facts that are accurate and truthful.
Step 3: Wait for the Claims Adjuster's Decision
A claims adjuster from the insurance company will review your case by calculating the value of your claim. If your claim is covered by the insurance plan, the insurance company will accept your claim and issue a settlement check.
Do You Have a Claim for Pain and Suffering? A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
Pain and suffering damages can be hard to prove, and it often requires the use of complex calculations and methods to make a compelling claim for pain and suffering damages. Experienced personal injury lawyers can use these equations and their experience to maximize the damages an injured person recovers. Consider speaking with a car accident attorney today.
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Contact a qualified auto accident attorney to make sure your rights are protected.