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How is Pain and Suffering Valued in a Car Accident Case ?

Category Archives: Personal Injury

How is Pain and Suffering Valued in a Car Accident Case ?

If you find yourself in a car accident the costs can go beyond just repairing or replacing a vehicle. If injuries are involved there are the medical treatment costs, and other losses of income that could fall into pain and suffering categories.

 
car accidents lawyer

Pain and Suffering Explained

Pain and suffering is the legal term for bodily injury and mental or emotional anguish resulting from the actions of another. Sometimes that can be hard to quantify, while doctor’s bills and diagnoses show what kind of injury was caused and how much they charged to treat it that doesn’t adequately describe the pain you feel. Pain is invisible when looking at a person, as only they can feel the consequences of an injury. Mental suffering is even harder to accurately describe because the stress one individual feels or suffers from is different from others in similar situations. This makes proving pain and suffering challenging, but in most cases there are two ways of estimating the cost incurred from the injuries.

 

Daily Rate Method

One way to calculate the pain and suffering is to use a daily rate method, or what is commonly referred to as the Per Diem Method. Basically this is a way to break down the cost incurred for each day of recovery, though sometimes the calculation can be based on a weekly rate instead. As a general baseline, the daily rate might be what you would usually earn in that day. If the injuries prevented you from working and you normally received $100 a day, then you could claim that because you could make $100 a day then that is what you are owed on top of any covered medical treatments.

 

Multiplier Method

Insurance companies often use this method by assigning a multiplier to the actual damages. Say the damages were $10,000, the multiplier could be a 3, so the pain and suffering would be $30,000. The multiplier is created based on the severity of the injury, 1 being minimal and normally only going up to a 5 for serious harm. For more debilitating injuries exceptions can be made to use a multiplier greater than 5.

 

When making a final decision on what cost the pain and suffering incurred, using a combination of both methods above can be the most effective way of arriving at an appropriate value. Contacting an experienced attorney can help you determine what you’re most likely going to be able to receive and begin the settlement process to make yourself whole again, reducing the stress of having to take the case on alone.

What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Injuries and accidents can happen at almost any time and any place, and for most people, there’s no one to blame in particular. However, you may have been involved in an accident that was directly caused by someone else — which means that that person can be legally liable for your medical expenses, recovery and lost productivity if you can prove that their actions led to your injury.

 
personal injury lawsuit

To do this, many people may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit — a legal dispute between someone who has been injured in an accident, and the person that may be legally responsible for causing that accident. But what options do you have, and what steps do you need to take? Read on to learn more about personal injury lawsuits:

 

What is a personal injury lawsuit?

If you decide to pursue a personal injury case, you can do so through two methods: a formal lawsuit in civil court, or an informal settlement that is reached out of court. In the first case, the person who has been injured (the “plaintiff”) would file a complaint in civil court, which is separate from criminal court (in which the case involves the government). The plaintiff alleges in the lawsuit that a person or entity (the “defendant”) has acted in an irresponsible manner that led to the accident. If a formal complaint is filed, the case will make its way throughout the courts, perhaps even going to a civil trial. These stages are detailed later in this article.

 

Though a personal injury lawsuit is the formal method for getting compensation after an accident, in most cases the case is settled informally before it ever reaches the courtroom. In this situation, the plaintiff, defendant and lawyers or insurers from both sides will come together to discuss a payment that will be made, in return for both sides signing a form saying they won’t proceed with further action — like taking the case to court. A settlement is the most common way to tackle a personal injury case because it keeps the situation from dragging on through a court trial and provides nearly immediate relief to the plaintiff, but it may also be a less desirable scenario if you feel you could win a court case and get a greater compensation that way.

 

What are the stages of a personal injury case?

A personal injury case begins by talking to a lawyer, who can help evaluate your situation and work with you to understand what your options are. An attorney will advise you on what course of action to take, and will help you to file the initial papers that are required to formalize the suit — such as complaints, answers and other motions. The next stage is fact-finding and “discovery,” in which both sides share information and lay out what evidence they have in the case. If the case is not then dismissed by a judge (as the defendant may file motions to get it thrown out), both parties may go on to reach a settlement, as described above.

 

Finally, if all other methods don’t pan out, the case could end up going to trial, during which both sides will argue their case before a judge and a jury. Afterward, if the case is decided in the plaintiff’s favor, they will have to follow through to collect on their compensation; if the plaintiff loses the case, however, they can still appeal the judgment to get a decision from a higher court.

How the Car Accident Settlement Process Works

When you get into a car accident and the accident is another driver’s fault, you can seek compensation for all damages that have been done. This can be done through a personal injury claim. The compensation money can cover any medical expenses and the money you weren’t able to make due to being off work while you recover.

 
car accidents settlement process

Unfortunately, the process is a little more tedious than just submitting an application to the diver’s insurance and getting a check in the mail. Most times it turns into a long investigation process of the accident and leads to negotiations between your lawyer and the auto insurance company.

 

Here are steps you need to go through during the settlement process:

 

Investigation

 
Once you have filed for a personal injury claim, the insurance company of the driver at fault will begin an investigation of the car accident.

 

Evidence that the investigation might need to be included in your claim are:

 

1) Official police report of the accident

 

2) Pictures of the accident scene, both cars

 

3) Statements from any witnesses

 

4) If you signed a release, your medical records

 

5) Other driver’s statement

 

6) Where the accident happened
 

 

Meet with Experts
Critical insight can be brought to your attention by experts. Any insight you receive can be used in the personal injury claim. Experts that may help you and give you their opinion on the accident include:

 

Doctor – Your injuries can be discussed as well as your treatment and end results.

 

Accident reconstruction expert – Accident reconstruction specialist can recreate the accident digitally and show all of the factors that led to the accident.

 

Civil/Mechanical Engineer – These experts can come into play when a factor of the accident was because of a malfunction from the car.

 

Filing the Lawsuit

 

If you don’t feel you have reached a successful settlement, then you might need to have your claim appear in court. Generally, car accident lawsuits are filed in the Circuit Court. Court will most likely be held in the county that the accident took place.

 
Settlement Negotiations
Settlements are negotiated between your lawyer and the insurance company. Sometimes you might not have any communication with the insurance company, for they only want to speak with your lawyer. If this is the case, you should work closely with your lawyer and make sure they are experienced in your accident.

 

Court Appearance

 

Once your lawyer has reviewed your claim and the negotiation, they will advise you if taking your claim to court is worth the time and energy. If so, they will walk you through the process and go into the details about what you should expect out of your trial.

 

During the trial, both sides will present their claim to the injury and after that is done, the jury will come to a verdict. Like all court cases, the judge will read the verdict to both sides and an appeal can also be an option after the verdict has been released. If going to court is the best option for you, just remember this can be an expensive and stressful time.

How to Find a Great Personal Injury Lawyer

When you suffer an injury due to the fault of someone else, it can be a difficult time. You may have suffered either physically or emotionally. A great personal injury lawyer can help you get justice and money for your medical bills. It’s important to find the best personal injury lawyer for your particular case.

 
personal injury lawyer

Do your research to find the best personal injury lawyer for your case.

It’s important to do your research. Asking friends and family for referrals can be one step in the process. You already know that these sources are trustworthy and will tell you both the good and the bad for lawyers that they’ve worked with. Also, do separate searches for lawyers in your area, so you don’t overlook anyone.

 

Do your research on the individual lawyer.

While recommendations are a great start, you need to do your own research as well. The first step is to take a look at the lawyer’s website. This can tell you a lot about this particular lawyer. On the website you will be able to see what kind of cases this lawyer specializes in as well as testimonials from past clients. Look for additional reviews on other places as well to get a fair evaluation.

 

Meet for an initial consultation.

Usually, this consultation will be free. This is done for multiple reasons and is beneficial to both the personal injury lawyer as well as the potential client. The lawyer will get to know the specifics of your case and be able to evaluate the likelihood of winning. You will get a feel for this person and know whether you can work with him or her. It will also give you a chance to ask any questions you may have.

 

Pick a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law.

One of the most important things that you need to do when considering a lawyer for your personal injury case is to find one that specializes in personal injury law. Some lawyers will take on cases in different areas, but it’s impossible to be a expert in all of them. You will be much better off if you find someone that focuses on personal injury cases. If a personal injury lawyer takes on many kinds of cases, that means they are not an expert in any of them. An expert is what you need in order to win your case.

 

As you move forward with your case, make sure you have the best personal injury lawyer for you. Contact us with any questions.

What Can a Lawyer Do After a Car Accident?

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, then you already know the amount of frustration and confusion that can come as a result. It’s not unusual for the people involved to want to turn to outside parties to help them make it through this tough and often tumultuous time. If you’ve been considering hiring the services of an auto accident case lawyer, you might be wondering what, if anything, an attorney can do for you. Here are just a couple of items to consider:

 
Accident Case Lawyer

An Accident Case Lawyer can Give you Advice about any Offers

If the car accident wasn’t your fault, then the other driver’s insurance company is required to cover the damages as part of the liability coverage. However, this doesn’t automatically mean smooth sailing. Often, insurance companies will try to settle for as little as possible, even if it means offering you less than you are actually owed.

 

Before you receive any offers, a lawyer can let you know what your claim is worth and how much you should expect. Once you get an offer, a lawyer can review it to let you know whether or not it’s something you should accept or reject.

 

An Accident Case Lawyer can Review other Legal Options with you

Even if the insurance company sends you a fair offer, it doesn’t mean you have to accept. In many cases, you might want to consider further legal options against the other driver — for example, if they were driving drunk and cause injuries, you might be able to file a personal injury case. An attorney can let you know what your legal options are and what course you might want to take.

 

An Accident Case Lawyer can help Fight your Legal Battles

If things don’t go smoothly, however, you are definitely going to want to consider legal counsel. If the opposing insurance company denies the claim, or if their offer is too low, or if you are sued for some reason, an attorney is not only a good idea, but is pretty much a necessity at this point. When it comes time to actually file motions or defend yourself from motions that have been filed, you’re going to need the help of an experiences, qualified attorney.

 

If you would like to know more about hiring an attorney to help with your car accident claims, we would love to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today!

How Can I Get My Car Repaired After a Crash?

Being involved in a car accident is a tragic event that can leave you feeling afraid and vulnerable. It’s chilling to know that, even when you are doing everything right, some other driver can come along and cause so much damage and destruction. While this can be terrible already, it’s even worse when you have to deal with insurance companies. Because insurance companies are in the business of making money, and not paying our for claims and repairs, dealing with them can be a hassle, to say the least.

 
Car Repair after Crash

If you have been in a car accident and it was not your fault, then the driver and his/her insurance has a legal obligation to cover the cost of repairs. The problem, though, is that this is not always easy. Even when the police file a report stating that the accident was not your fault, insurance companies might still try to fight this decision.

 

If they do decide to accept their driver’s fault, then the cost of repairs, as well as the cost for medical claims and other expenses incurred during the accident, should be covered under their liability coverage. In this case, typically the insurance company will first inspect the damage and provide an estimate for repairs. Because insurance companies want to pay out as little as possible, there is every chance that their estimate will be low. Because of this, you should insist on also taking your car to a reputable mechanic for a second opinion and estimate. If this estimate is very different from what the insurance company is offering, you might need to have the auto shop call the insurance company and explain the extent of the costs. Once a price is set, the insurance company should then issue a check to cover the costs.

 

Of course, all of this is predicated on the idea that the insurance company is willing to accept their driver’s fault. When they don’t, then you have two options: pay for the damage under the collision coverage of your own insurance, or secure legal representation. While using your own insurance won’t automatically result in higher premiums (especially when it’s not your fault) this can present its own set of hassles.

 

If you have been in an accident and are having difficulty in dealing with insurance companies, you might need to talk to an attorney. If that’s the case, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. Our experienced team of professionals can help make sure you are able to get what you deserve in order to get back on the road again.

Paying a Lawyer Who Handles a Car Accident Case

If you’ve been involved in a car accident and have considered hiring a legal representative, no doubt one of the first questions you’ve asked yourself is, “How much is this going to cost me?” While this question can’t be answered with 100% certainty (situations and locations may vary enough that these guidelines don’t apply in some instances) in most cases the answer falls somewhere along the lines of, “It depends on how much money you get to begin with.” This is because, in most cases, lawyers will charge what is called a contingency fee.

 
Car Accident Cases

What is a contingency fee?

A contingency fee is a fee that is charged to the client only if money is actually won. So, if you go to trial and end up not winning your case for whatever reason, then in most situations you don’t have to pay your lawyer anything.

 

If you win, on the other hand, then your lawyer takes a percentage of however much you are awarded by the jury. The amount that a lawyer is allowed charge for a contingency fee can vary from state to state, but it typically falls somewhere between 25 to 40%. The usual fee is right around one-third, or 33%.

 

Of course, this is a number that is subject to change. For example, the actual amount of the fee might change depending on whether a case actually goes to trial. If, for example, the other party decides they would rather settle out of court, then the allowable contingency fee might decrease a little, since the full extent of your lawyer’s services were not needed. However, if the case ends up going to trial, then that percentage may also increase.

 

What other fees might get charged?

In some instances, a lawyer might also charge a small retainer fee — a small amount of money paid upfront. In these circumstances, the retainer fee is usually rolled into the final contingency fee (so, for example, if you pay your lawyer $1,000 up front, and then win $100,000 in a case, the fee that goes to the lawyer — $33,000, maybe — will already include your initial $1,000, so you don’t end up paying more than you should).

 

In all cases, though — and this is the most important thing — fees are typically negotiable and should be discussed up front. Don’t wait until halfway through your trial preparation before you decide you’re not willing to pay what is being asked. Save everyone time and hassle and be honest with each other about what is expected. That way, you can get the unpleasant discussions about money out of the way early, and focus on winning your case.

The Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

When you have been in a car accident, many thoughts can immediately start running through your head. If the accident has caused your any type of injury and was not your fault, you may need the assistance of a personal injury lawyer. Although that may seem like an extreme step, it is often the best course of action. Here are just some of the benefits of hiring a personal injury lawyer.

  car accidents compensation attorney

A Personal Injury (PI) Attorney Knows How Much your Claim is Worth

If you are not well versed in personal injury compensation law, all you can do is guess at how much money your claim is worth. It is possible that if you go into court without a personal injury lawyer, there is a good chance that your settlement will be far less than you deserve. However, an experienced PI attorney will understands the subtleties of your case The attorney will also know the monetary value to put on your pain and suffering and will also know what to expect from the insurance companies. When you have a qualified PI lawyer on your side, you have a much better chance at getting the maximum award for your injuries.

 

Using a PI Attorney Improves your Chances of Winning

Insurance companies are notorious for being prepared for a battle when going into court. It is their main objective to avoid losing money in a lawsuit. If you try to battle them on your own, you will almost definitely lose. Their legal team will do everything possible to make sure you receive the least amount of money possible. But, if you arm yourself with a good PI lawyer, you immediately put yourself in a better position for success.

 

Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer will Save you Time

Most people these days have extremely busy lives. When you get into a car accident the paperwork involved with it can quickly suck up what little free time you have in your life. However, when you hire a PI lawyer they will take that burden off of your hands. A PI lawyer will take on the responsibility of obtaining your medical records, tracking down investigative reports, will meet with your doctors on your behalf, and communicate with the insurance adjusters. So, none of these important responsibilities will need to fall to you.

 

If you have been in a car accident and would like to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer, or if you have questions about how a PI lawyer can help you, contact the law office of James Mitchell Brown today to see how we can help you.

How to Calculate Damages with Permanent Injuries

Costs associated with personal injury claims are clearly defined. For example, you acquire specific costs for medical treatment, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses if you suffer a broken arm or leg in an automobile accident.

 personal injury attorney

Determining pain and suffering compensation with permanent injuries is a more serious and complicated scenario. It is always challenging to determine the amount of compensation when an injury is long-lasting or permanent due to ongoing, open-ended costs. It is hard to define future damages which make it even harder to reach a settlement figure.

 

In addition to physical injury, pain and suffering encompass mental and emotional injuries, such as anxiety, fear, grief, worry, insomnia, and even the loss of the enjoyment of life. Compensation for pain and suffering can vary from small to large amounts, but almost all injury cases result in the plaintiff recovering some amount.

 

The long-term emotional toll to the victim, caused by a permanent physical injury, is nearly impossible to quantify. How do you determine what someone’s life would be like had they not become disabled? What is it worth to lose the ability to participate in past activities? Who can put a dollar amount on a diminished quality of life?

 

Depending on the severity of the injury, attorneys will usually calculate pain and suffering damages by a number ranging from 1 to 5, or they assign a dollar amount to each day from the date of the accident to the day of recovery. However, most insurance companies use computer programs to determine what settlement amount to offer. These programs are designed to consider what type of medical treatment was sought by the plaintiff. For example, care given by a physician carries more weight than treatment provided by a chiropractor, and most likely will result in higher compensation.

 

Your chances of recovering an amount you find satisfactory will depend on the proof you provide about the pain and suffering. It is important to support your claim with as much evidence as possible, including pictures and personal journals, which will show your physical and emotional condition. Be sure to include documentation from all physicians, including mental health professionals.

 

When faced with a personal injury due to an accident, your priority is to seek medical attention. The next step is to contact a personal injury attorney who can protect your rights and guide you throughout the process of filing a claim for pain and suffering compensation with permanent injuries.

Disability Insurance – The Most Ignored Insurance of Them All

We insure our cars, our homes, our jewelry and other property. But what about the most important asset we have – our bodies? Disability insurance is the most ignored insurance coverages out there. So what is disability insurance, what does it cover and how long does it cover the individual?

 
Disability Insurance

There are two types of disability insurance, short and long term. Though they offer distinct coverage, they also work together. For example, if you use up your short term disability, the long term disability steps in to take over.

 

Short Term Disability Insurance:
A short term disability policy normally is designed to replace 80% or more of your gross income, typically for 60 to 180 days. Usually you have to wait for an “elimination period” of five to 10 days before coverage can start. Many businesses offer short term disability but there is usually either a copay from the employee or they pay the whole premium amount.

 

Long Term Disability Insurance
Long term disability, as stated above, steps in after your short term disability ends. Although it can last much longer, even through the rest of your life depending on the policy, it only covers typically up to 60% of your salary. Although this coverage is offered by some businesses, others do not offer it.

 

Short term and long term disability differ from worker’s compensation in that it will cover you for injuries not sustained at work, such as a car accident. It also differs from Social Security Disability Benefits in that the definition of ‘disability’ is a lot harder to prove with Social Security. An example of this is if you are an injured factory worker who stood on their feet all day and Social Security could say you could work at a sedentary job and deny you payments.

 

If your place of work does not offer these insurance coverages, you can shop for personal coverage.

 

What if you have coverage and you are being denied?
There are horror stories associated with denial of personal injury disability cases. One of the biggest culprits of being denied is the Medical Consultant Review. If your doctor is not sufficiently informed about your symptoms and your condition, this review can terminate any benefits. Be aware that they can surveille you as well during the process of review. Also, there are a multitude of other ways the claim can be denied, such as not understanding your policy to the full extent. This is where a seasoned personal injury disability lawyer could help. Consulting with a licensed attorney to ask the right questions and navigate the difficult field of disability insurance can save you heartache, time, and a potential loss of disability coverage.

 

Short term and long term disability insurance are important and very often overlooked. These insurances help assure you can keep your life going after suffering a debilitating injury. If you don’t have disability coverage, it would be wise to research the subject and decide if getting policies in these areas are right for you.