Compensation In Personal Injury Cases
Compensation for bodily injury is only part of the compensation available for a successful personal injury claim. A comprehensive personal injury claim might include the following components:
- Estimated future medical expenses if you suffered a long-term injury. These can be difficult to calculate
- Lost earnings while you were off work because of your injury
- Occupational disability if your injuries prevent you from returning to your previous job
- Pain and suffering that arises directly from physical injury
- Mental anguish is a form of psychological suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Property damage .
Punitive damages are occasionally available as well. If a court awards punitive damages, it will award them in addition to the damages listed above.
No Pain And Suffering In A No
If you live in a state that follows a no-fault car insurance system, and your car accident injuries don’t meet your state’s threshold for filing a liability claim against the at-fault driver, you can’t get “pain and suffering” damages as part of your no-fault car insurance claim.
Similarly, if you file a claim under your own “personal injury protection” or “medical payments” car insurance coverage after a car accident, the insurance company won’t compensate you for your pain and suffering only certain out-of-pocket losses are available under those kinds of claims.
Pain And Suffering Amounts Below Are Averages Of Past Personal Injury Verdicts
Below, are full settlement values below are for injuries that happen in Florida or on a cruise ship. They are from settlements that I have had or past jury verdict searches that Ive run.
These amounts are for pain and suffering before reducing the value by issues in the case. Issues can be difficulty proving liability, or fault on the injured person. Another factor that may decrease the full value is if it is tough to prove that the accident caused the injury.
Lets start by looking at ankle and foot injuries.
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Factors Affecting Payouts For Bodily Injury Claims
If there’s one question I get asked most about personal injury settlements, here it is: “What’s the average payout for a bodily injury claim?”
In 2018 researchers found that the average auto liability claim for bodily injury was $15,785.
Remember, this is the average claim value. No two cases are alike, and several relevant factors go into the final calculation of any claim. The next section will cover the three main factors involved in calculating the final payout amount.
% Of The Car Accident Settlement Was For Pain And Suffering
When he rented the car, he did not list Ashley as an additional driver. And since Ashley wasnt his wife, Sedgwick did not offer bodily injury liability coverage above $10,000.
This is true even though Eugune purchased Additional Liability Insurance with Avis.
In January 2020, I reached a car accident settlement with Sedgwick for its $10,000 policy limits. Here is the check:
This is the most that we could get. There was no other additional insurance available. Approximately $7,400 of the total settlement was for Lamars pain and suffering.
After my attorneys fees and costs, and paying his medical bills, Lamar got over $4,000 in his pocket. And his attorney did all the work. He was very happy with the settlement.
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How Much Can I Expect To Receive For Pain And Suffering After A Car Accident
It’s important to understand that any insurance company handling an injury claim after a car accident begins its analysis with the nature and extent of the medical treatment you received after the crash. Though there are exceptions to every rule, the insurance company often assumes that:
- injuries requiring a greater amount of medical treatment cause more pain and suffering than injuries needing minimal treatment, and
- injuries requiring a lengthier recovery time inherently result in more pain and suffering.
These assumptions affect how insurance adjusters value an injury claim.
After a car accident, if you chose not to seek medical treatment, the insurance company will probably not attach much value to your claim. From the insurance company’s position, it’s just your word that you were injured and that you’re experiencing pain and suffering. That’s a big reason why it’s crucial to get necessary medical attention after a car accident, especially considering that car accident injuries often don’t show up right away.
Take the situation where you have a soft tissue injury that’s not readily observable. If you seek medical treatment for that injury, the doctor will listen to the description of your symptoms and conduct a physical examination. The doctor will then note in your medical records that you complained of pain or discomfort in certain areas of your body following the car accident. The doctor’s notes will also include findings from the physical examination.
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This post was originally published in June 2019. It has since been updated with new information and was most recently .
After a serious injury, you know that an insurance company will pay for your medical expenses, damage to your vehicle, and your lost wages. However, what about your pain and suffering. In most cases, you can seek pain and suffering damages from the insurance company, but the amount you receive might not be as high as you hoped for.
Accident liability insurance is there to protect a policyholder from using personal assets to pay for any injuries they cause. Typically, these policies allow for the injured party to file a claim with their insurer and request compensation for automobile damage, personal property damage, medical expenses, and sometimes pain and suffering.
Insurance companies widely scrutinize pain and suffering requests, and they will do what they can to lessen how much they pay out even when their client is obviously at fault. After all, insurers are businesses, and like all businesses, they want to protect their revenue and never pay more than necessary even on a valid claim.
While you can recover pain and suffering damages, it is essential to understand the limits of each policy and how much of that the insurer is likely to pay.
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Will An Adjuster Have An Additional $100k To Offer You Above Their First Offer
From my experience, only if you either had a very long hospital stay or if you had surgery with hardware put in your body. And even if one , getting the adjuster to off you or your attorney an extra $100,000 above the initial offer is not guaranteed. It will come down to the facts of the case.
Lets say that an adjuster makes me an initial offer of $150,000. If I have dealt with that adjuster before, I have an idea of where the settlement will end up.
Ill look at my past cases with that adjuster to see if the case is more likely to settle at $200,000, or $260,000 or over $320,000 . History often repeats itself.
Here is a letter where an insurance company made a first offer of $150,000 for pain, suffering and other damages.
We ended up settling for $260,000.
$31k Paid For Pain And Suffering Damages
On July 30, 2018, Shankeva was a passenger in her boyfriends car. They were stopped at a red light in Holly Hill, Florida. In the diagram below, Shankeva was in V3.
Terry was driving vehicle 1. Terry crashed head on into vehicle 2. Vehicle 2 then hit Vehicle 3.
Paramedics arrived at the scene.
You can see them taking Shankeva out of the car.
Below, is a photo showing the damage to the car within which Shankeva was a passenger.
The front of the car was wrecked.
You can see this was a heavy impact accident.
Here is a photo of Shankeva on a stretcher:
An ambulance took her to the hospital.
At the hospital, doctors took x-rays, a CT scan and a MRI of her hip.
The x-ray showed an acetabular fracture. Here is what the acetabulum looks like:
Since she had this fracture, they had her stay at the hospital.
They gave her a room.
While at the hospital, someone took a photo of her:
After she was released from the hospital, she had to use a walker to get around.
Shortly after her accident, Shankeva got a free consultation from me. She did not want to handle her pain and suffering claim without an attorney.
After we spoke, she hired me.
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Should You Handle A Pain And Suffering Claim Without A Lawyer
If you are injured, no.
While youre never guaranteed a settlement, an attorney can help you present your pain and suffering claim in the light most favorable to you.
Some people try to get a pain and suffering settlement without a lawyer. This is a big mistake.
Because you wont know the full settlement value of your pain and suffering. Thus, youll be at a big disadvantage when trying to settle your case.
The most important thing is to hire an attorney who is competent to handle your case.
Most lawyers charge the same fee. Therefore, you should hire an attorney that has settled hundreds of personal injury cases. I also suggest getting an lawyer who has dealt with your particular injury and type of accident. That attorney will understand your future limitations and associated pain.
Also, your may be entitled to discounts on some liens if you have an attorney. This includes workers compensation liens, Medpay liens and many health insurance liens. With an attorney in these cases, it may put a lot more money in your pocket.
Get a lawyer with at least 16 years experience primarily handling personal injury cases. Hire an attorney who is part of your states justice association.
For example, in Florida, there is a Florida Justice Association. Im proud to say that Ive been a member for many years. And I actively network with other injury lawyers on a weekly basis. We share intel on insurance companies.
Speak With An Injury Advocate Today
If you were injured in an accident and you fear that the other party does not have adequate coverage, contact an attorney in Florida who is familiar with how PIP, insurance, and UIM coverage all play a unique role in these cases.
You need an advocate who will fight for maximum compensation no matter how many insurance companies you must combine to do so.
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% Of A $350k Settlement Was For Pain And Suffering
Here is another claim example showing that pain and suffering is often the biggest part of a personal injury settlement.
In 2020, Sam was riding his bike in South Florida.
You can see a crash diagram below:
At the same time, Joe was in his car heading north.
Joe was turning to go Eastbound.
Sam rode his bike westbound in the crosswalk crossing.
Unfortunately, Joe accidentally hit him with his car.
As a result of the car hitting him, Sam broke 3 bones in his leg.
Two of these were the tibia and fibula.
You can see his broken fibula here:
At the hospital, a doctor drilled screws into a plate in Sams ankle.
You can see a photo that the doctor took during the surgery:
After Sam left the hospital, he searched for a South Florida lawyer who had many good settlements for serious injuries. He did not want to handle his pain and suffering settlement without a lawyer. He found me.
Sam called my office and I gave him a free consultation. Shortly after we spoke, Sam hired me.
I told Sam to take a photo of his incision after the first surgery.
This image shows the raised incision site after surgery:
Below you can see the size of the incision needed for the surgery.
GEICO insured the Joe . We found out that Joe had a $300,000 in insurance . Joe also had an umbrella policy.
I Got A Settlement That Was 20x The First Offer
Less than 11 months after the first offer, I settled Angelas injury claim for $250,000, which was 20 times the insurance companys first offer!
Here is the settlement check :
Take a look at the insurance companys first offer vs. the settlement:
I was able to settle this case without the increased stress, attorneys fees and costs that come with suing.
After Angelas health insurance company paid her medical bills, and they reduced their lien, approximately $240,728 of the $250,000 settlement was for pain and suffering.
Thus, 96% of the settlement was for pain and suffering.
This $250,000 settlement amount was 27 times Angelas out of pocket medical bills .
This is just one of my many pain and suffering settlement examples where my client benefited by having a lawyer.
After my attorney fees, costs and paying her medical bills, Angela got $157,353 in her pocket.
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What Is Covered Under Bodily Injury Coverage
The types of expenses a third party can file against your bodily injury liability policy include:
- Medical bills: For the other party’s hospitalization, follow-up care and related medical or health care.
- Lost wages: If the harmed party was seriously injured and unable to work, your bodily injury liability coverage makes up for their lost income. This amount will be based upon the amount of time they are unable to work as a result of the injury, and subject to various limits based on where you live.
- Legal fees: This is the one item where bodily injury pays for your expenses instead of the third party. Your insurer will usually provide legal defense for you if you are sued by the other party, and that’s paid for under your own bodily injury coverage.
- Funeral costs: Pays for costs associated with funeral and burial if someone is killed as a result of the crash.
Does A Hospital Stay Increase A Pain And Suffering Settlement
If you have to go to the hospital due to an accident, this may increase the value of your pain and suffering. However, insurance companies do not use a pain and suffering multiplier that factors in the hospital.
Not every hospital stay is treated equal. If you are admitted to the hospital, and have surgery, this has the biggest positive effect on your pain and suffering payout.
Let me give you an example. Ryan was driving in Clearwater, Florida. Another driver made a left turn directly into Ryans car. They crashed. Here is the diagram from the Florida traffic crash report:
Here is a photo of the accident scene:
Just look at this photo below. It was taken after Ryan had been in the hospital due to the accident.
Ultimately, he had surgery to his broken leg .
While in the hospital, he realized that it was not smart to handle his pain and suffering claim without a lawyer. Therefore, he got a free consultation with me to see if I could represent him. After we spoke, he hired me.
The fact that he had stayed for a few days in the hospital, and had surgery, greatly increased his pain and suffering payout.
We settled for $300,000.
Here are the two settlement checks:
Here is a short video about this settlement:
For several reasons, I did not use my settlement calculator to determine the value of Ryans case. First, my pain and suffering calculator does not list his particular injury, which is a fracture below the kneecap.
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If You Cant Do Activities It Increases The Pain And Suffering Settlement
If you can no longer do activities because of an accident, this increases the full case value. This often leads to a bigger auto accident settlement. This includes being unable to do things like go fishing, workout, run a marathon, or ride a bike.
If you were physically active before the accident, and your injuries decreased your activity, it helps your case. If you werent physically active before the accident, then the settlement value of your loss of enjoyment of life is less.
Uim Claims Are Quite Complicated
Do not try to file a UIM claim alone. You are required to notify your insurance company immediately after an accident has occurred. Otherwise, you risk losing any benefits later when you do need to use UIM coverage and the process of using your UIM benefits is challenging.
Your insurance company might also have hidden deadlines for filing UIM claims. That is why it is imperative that you use an attorney with experience handling not only car accident claims, but handling UIM claims, too.
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What A Lawyer Can Help With
Having a lawyer by your side can be beneficial to your claim because your lawyer can:
- Accurately assign the degree of fault, since Illinois is a contributory fault state according to 735 ILCS 5/2-1116
- Review police and incident reports to prove the cause of the accident
- Interview witnesses to the accident and collect testimonials and depositions
- Value each portion of your claim for full financial compensation
- Negotiate with the at-fault party and their insurer for a maximum payout
Your lawyer can also ensure you know and meet the time restrictions the state places on your ability to seek financial compensation. Do not hesitate to file your claim. While you concentrate on physical and emotional recovery, your lawyer can concentrate on the legal aspects of your claim and may be able to minimize or eliminate your out-of-pocket expenses.