Most insurance companies pay for pain and suffering, along with other types of damages. However, pain and suffering can be more challenging to prove than other kinds of losses. That is why many bicycle accident victims rely on a lawyer to help them negotiate for all their damages, including pain and suffering.
Understanding Pain and Suffering
The Cornell Law School defines pain and suffering as “physical or emotional distress resulting from an injury.” Meanwhile, Texas law includes both physical pain and suffering and mental or emotional pain or anguish under its definition of noneconomic damages.
Damages for pain and suffering are not as easily calculated as other losses, such as a bill from a bicycle repair shop or the hospital.
Physical pain and suffering might include:
- Nerve damage
- Torn ligaments
- Broken bones
Mental or emotional pain or anguish can include:
- Distress over disability or disfigurement
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Diminished quality of life
Pain and suffering damages are more subjective. It might be in your best interest to have a lawyer who is familiar with these matters to negotiate with an insurance company on your behalf.
Valuating Pain and Suffering Damages
Pain and suffering damages are usually valuated separately from more direct losses, such as time lost from work or medical expenses. Sometimes, an insurance company will use specific costs such as a medical bill or a pay stub to valuate pain and suffering.
Other factors that insurance companies consider for pain and suffering damages include:
- Extent and severity of injuries.
- Long-term medical issues, such as disability, which resulted from these injuries.
- Length of rehabilitation or recuperation.
Insurance companies should consider how these injuries affect your quality of life, including daily activities, working, family life, having children, and other factors.
Insurance Companies Also Consider Their Bottom Line
If you know anything about insurance companies, you know that they profit by collecting premiums, and they suffer losses by paying claims.
While the insurance adjuster may be a friendly individual, it is their job to find ways to downplay, delay, or even deny your pain and suffering damages.
The most common tactics that an insurance company uses to avoid paying out pain and suffering awards include:
- Attempting to get you to say something that would jeopardize your pain and suffering claim.
- Alleging that your pain and suffering damages were due to a pre-existing physical or psychological health issue.
- Blaming you for the accident, thereby nullifying their obligation to cover pain and suffering damages.
- Pressuring you into accepting a lowball settlement that inadequately addresses your injuries.
A personal injury lawyer can negotiate on your behalf to help you recover pain and suffering along with other damages. Their work allows you to rest and focus on your health.
How a Lawyer Can Help You Recover Pain and Suffering
Most people do not have the legal experience or knowledge to exert their rights fully. You should know that insurance companies often have several lawyers working for them. It is your right to have a lawyer represent you to protect your rights and pursue recovery.
A lawyer may do the following to bolster your claim of pain and suffering:
- Establish liability or wrongdoing by the other party with evidence such as photos, police reports, witness statements, and other documentation.
- Consult medical, vocational, and financial experts.
- Cite relevant cases as precedents for your situation.
- Obtain testimony from your doctor about the extent, severity, and outlook of your physical and emotional health.
If the insurance company will not negotiate for a fair settlement, your lawyer can represent you in court, if necessary, and fight for the financial recovery you deserve.
What to Look for in a Bicycle Accident Law Firm
Choosing a lawyer to help you recover damages is a serious decision. You want to feel comfortable and confident in your selection.
Here are some suggestions:
- Make sure the law firm offers you a free case evaluation, no strings attached.
- Ask if the law firm has handled cases like yours.
- Find out if the law firm has sufficient staff and resources to get started on your case as soon as possible.
Each state has its statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. You should make sure that the lawyer you select understands the liability and negligence laws in your state.
Call D. Miller & Associates, PLLC for a Free Case Evaluation
Bicyclists have a higher rate of severe injury and loss of life than motorists in an accident, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Insurance companies do pay for pain and suffering, but it is helpful to have a lawyer by your side who can pursue these damages for you.
Call D. Miller & Associates, PLLC today at (713) 850-8600 for a free case evaluation with a member of our team.
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