There are some truly sensational stories on television these days. Whether it’s a dramatic TV show or a sensational news story, we are inundated with a lot of information, true and false. Some of this information is relatively innocuous and doesn’t affect us very much. However, there are often instances in which the news and television leave people feeling confused about dealing with situations when they encounter them.
One such instance is that of pain and suffering. This phrase is used frequently in the law world, though most people only encounter it in courtroom scenes of daytime television. In reality, pain and suffering is a very real concept, rooted in the need to survive after a tragic event. If you’ve been in an auto accident, recovery is difficult enough. The psychological toll of a crash is often significant, and the physical injuries can keep you from feeling yourself for a very long time. These are the instances in which pressing charges for pain and suffering can help ease financial worries for you and your family. However, with dramatic tales on the news of someone receiving a million-dollar settlement for a sprained neck, it’s hard to know what to expect with your own pain and suffering claim.
You can’t be sure what your pain and suffering payout will be until a liability carrier assesses the situation and you accept their payout offer. Unfortunately, liability carriers are out to save money for insurance companies. To do this, they try to look at each situation as uniform, when in reality, every auto accident has many unique factors that should be considered. If you are unaware of this, the liability carrier will take advantage of your inexperience and offer a low payout to you. Once you’ve accepted this, there is no further negotiation, and you may receive only a fraction of what is fair. This is one of many reasons why you should hire a personal injury attorney to help with your auto accident claim. Your attorney will have the background to negotiate with the liability carrier and present your case as the unique situation it is.
The Three Factors of Pain and Suffering Payouts
In determining how much money you are to receive, three main steps factor into the sum:
- Investigation. This step is where all of the pertinent information about the accident is collected and reviewed. This is also when fault can be determined.
- Evidence. This is when the information about your injuries, physical and psychological, is collected to determine the auto accident’s effects on you and your family.
- Presentation and negotiation. This final stage is when the liability carrier determines how much you deserve. This amount can be contested and negotiated, but these negotiations are generally only effective if done by an attorney. Those who hire legal representation often receive higher payouts.
Though the first two steps remain the same whether you have legal representation or not, the third can be heavily influenced by an experienced attorney.
Factors About You That Will Be Considered
Your payout will also be determined by the extent of the psychological and physical damage inflicted upon you. Minor injuries will likely receive fewer benefits than debilitating ones. However, a good lawyer knows that any injury is cause for compensation, and some factors could give you a higher payout:
- Visible injuries. Though it’s unfortunate, obvious injuries often receive higher settlements with easier payout processes. This is because the liability officer cannot contest what happened to you and that your injuries result from the accident. Internal pain, such as back and neck pain, is harder to prove because there are no external markers that prove you’re in pain at all, much less significant pain resulting directly from the accident. The liability officer will likely demand that you prove the absence of a pre-existing injury in that area. Unfortunately, these injuries often worsen over time, and the longer between the accident and the claim, the more time the officer has to doubt the accident as the cause of your ailment.
- Long recovery time. The longer your recovery time from your accident, the easier to prove the seriousness of the injury.
- Absence from normal activities. If you are unable to do normal tasks, you’ll likely receive a higher payout. Liability officers use social media, neighbor statements, and location tracking to determine how active you’ve been post-accident.
Several other instances could help your case in a pain and suffering payout. To ensure that you don’t miss any, be sure to hire the best attorneys in Orange County. The team at Easton & Easton has won over $100 million in payouts in the last five years alone. Contact us today to begin the process right away; there’s no time to waste.