Part 1 of 2: Improving Your Chances for a Successful Personal Injury Claim
In the United States, the physical pain and emotional distress a person endures as a result of an accident is stated in a legal term known as “Pain and Suffering”. Emotional distress is also known as “mental anguish” and can include depression, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, or anything categorized as a Mental Health issue.
Monies awarded for Pain and Suffering are considered “general damages”. Damages are paid to a victim in addition to the actual costs resulting from injuries and the necessary medical care. Actual costs are called “special damages” or “specials” and include Doctor’s visits, physical or mental health therapy bills, lost income/wages, property damage, and out-of-pocket expenses relating to the accident that occurred.
If by no fault of your own you’ve been injured, following these steps and guidelines will help maximize your claim benefits:
1st) Maintain detailed Medical Records for every visit, treatment, medication, and medical test you take that is prompted by the accident. Calculate the cost of any time spent away from work and be certain of dates. Also, save receipts for every co-pay and medication. Make notes about all symptoms, pain, and problems you experience.
2nd) Next, unlike the aforementioned costs, there’s no clear way to put a price on emotional distress or “Pain and Suffering”. When it comes time to file your claim, be descriptive about lingering symptoms from pain and distress making a full account of the severity and duration. If possible, have a mental health professional document your mental anguish.
3rd) Most importantly, start to think like a Claims Adjuster – here’s how to do that.
Here’s How to Think Like A Claims Adjuster
Imagine you’re at the point where you’ve completed your medical treatment and therapy. You still have some lingering pain, but it is not severe, and the doctors cleared you to return to work. It’s time to prepare the documentation for your “Settlement and Demand Letter”. You’ve totaled your special damages, but aren’t quite sure how to assign an amount for your pain and suffering. This is where a skilled personal injury attorney is a valuable asset, because they will know how to document, describe, and report your general damages.
At this stage, it will help you to understand how Claims Adjusters evaluate pain and suffering. When deciding the amount of compensation to offer, an adjuster relies primarily on his/her own life and job experience. In addition, all your claim data is entered into a computer software program to see what figure this calculating program arrives at as the number you should receive.
The more evidence you provide to prove your level of pain and emotional distress, the higher the adjuster’s offer will be. Your ability to provide a compelling accounting of the severity and duration of your anguish will be key to convincing the Adjuster of its existence. Again, an Adjuster is guided by experience, computer input/output, your evidence, and your attorney’s persuasive abilities to arrive at an amount he/she feels is appropriate and justified.
More on this subject in Part 2, brought to you by your caring injury attorney serving McAllen, Texas and surrounding areas…Tijerina Legal Firm.