Personal injuries can happen to anyone, anywhere, and in many different ways. You may have been injured in an automobile accident, experienced a slip and fall accident, or were the victim of medical malpractice. Any of these instances, and more, are grounds to hire a personal injury lawyer to seek compensation for damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. When requesting compensation for pain and suffering, how much do insurance companies pay?
What Is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is a legal term that refers to the emotional and physical injuries a victim suffers after a personal injury. Any physical or mental anguish you experience after an accident can qualify as pain and suffering. If the victim of a personal injury dies from their injuries, the family of the deceased may also seek pain and suffering via a wrongful death claim.
Physical Pain and Suffering
Physical pain and suffering include pain that lasts beyond the accident itself. Chronic pain can last for days, weeks, months, and even years after the accident. Examples of physical pain and suffering that you can seek compensation for include:
- Nerve damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Back pain
- Internal organ damage
- Fractured or broken bones
- Sprained or pulled muscles
Many of these conditions may last a substantial amount of time, or even become permanent, leaving you with constant physical pain.
Emotional Pain and Suffering
Severe psychological, mental, or emotional distress after an accident may result in emotional pain and suffering. This type of pain and suffering is often debilitating. Examples of emotional pain and suffering include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Psychological trauma
- Cognitive issues after a brain injury
- Loss of joy in activities
- Diminished quality of life
As with physical pain and suffering, this emotional pain and suffering may last a substantial amount of time or cause permanent lifelong damage.
Loss of Consortium
If the injuries result in the victim's death, the family can file a wrongful death claim to receive compensation for economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. A type of pain and suffering specific to family members experiencing the loss of a loved one is called loss of consortium. Tremendous mental anguish and grief from the unexpected death of a family member can result in loss of consortium pain and suffering. Examples include the loss of:
- Parental guidance.
- Spousal intimacy.
- Household services.
- Love and affection.
This list doesn't begin to cover all of the different areas of pain and suffering due to the loss of consortium. For example, a parent who loses a child won't be able to watch them grow, graduate, get married, have children, or get the job of their dreams. There's no price tag that can be put on losing a family member and a compensation package is designed to help alleviate the financial burden added to this pain.
How Much Do Insurance Companies Pay for Pain and Suffering?
There is no hard dollar amount that an insurance company will pay for pain and suffering in a personal injury claim. Several factors go into the calculation of this type of damages, including the severity of the injuries, circumstances of the case, medical treatments required, length of recovery time, and any long-term effects of the injury. Another factor that plays a part in the amount awarded for pain and suffering is the amount of insurance coverage available. It's important to note that insurance companies use over 70 factors when calculating the value of pain and suffering in your case.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer to File a Claim for Pain and Suffering?
The answer to this question is no, you're not required to have a lawyer in order to file a claim. However, your chances of winning your case and getting the compensation you deserve are greatly increased by having an experienced personal injury lawyer representing you. The insurance company is going to work hard at reducing the payout of your claim, so you need a personal injury lawyer to work harder to get you the damages you deserve.
Michigan law requires that the bodily injury threshold, or tort threshold law, be met in order to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. This means that the victim must suffer a serious impairment of bodily function as a result of the injuries sustained. A personal injury lawyer is well-versed in the evidence required to prove the bodily injury threshold, taking the stress out of this burden of proof from you.
If you or someone you love has suffered a personal injury in Michigan, reach out to the knowledgeable team at Goodman Acker. We have the expertise needed to recover pain and suffering damages to help alleviate the stress of your injuries. You can reach us by phone for a free consultation. We're also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via our secure online messaging system.