Do Insurance Companies Pay For Pain and Suffering?
The fast answer: Yes! Depending on the circumstance, insurance companies may pay for “pain and suffering” and inconvenience if a person sustains a physical injury because of someone else’s negligence. Usually, you cannot get compensation for intangible losses like “pain and suffering” or inconvenience in a personal injury claim when a physical injury is not present.
Example: Several cars were engaging in illegal street racing on narrow streets in a downtown area of a city. A pedestrian who was crossing the roadway legally in a crosswalk nearly got struck by the speeding vehicles. Luckily, the walker did not sustain any physical injuries, even though the event was terrifying. The pedestrian is unlikely to win an award of money damages for “pain and suffering” or inconvenience.
An Overview of “Pain and Suffering” and Inconvenience
If you’re wondering do insurance companies pay for pain and suffering and inconvenience, the first step is to understand how it is defined. “Pain and suffering” can include physical discomfort and emotional distress caused by an accident, associated medical treatments, and recuperation time. The term “pain” refers to physical hurting from injuries.
“Suffering” relates to the mental anguish of going through an accident, worrying about the severity of your injuries and whether you will have to face a life of limitations, and other types of emotional distress.
Inconvenience deals with the disruption in your life. On the day of the pedestrian accident, your schedule most likely got turned upside down. If you got admitted to the hospital, other things that you planned to do likely were canceled as well. Recuperating from surgery or other medical procedures often sideline a person from work and from activities for several weeks, months, or even years. Having to go to multiple physical therapy visits may also keep you from being able to work your usual hours.
Damages in Personal Injury Claims
We cannot say how much compensation you can pursue for your pedestrian accident case without first talking to you and investigating your situation. Even if you were walking down the sidewalk with a friend and you both got hurt, your friend’s losses could be quite different from yours.
If you’re wondering do insurance companies pay for pain and suffering and inconvenience, you should know that the amount that you can go after will depend on the unique facts of your claim. Every case is different, which makes every outcome different.
Economic losses are things like medical bills and lost wages that are straightforward to measure in dollars because of the paperwork that tends to come with these items. Losses that do not typically have these documents can be more difficult to calculate, but we can determine their value.
Here are some examples of money damages you may be entitled to based on the facts of your case:
- Medical expenses. You can include the reasonable cost of medical treatment you needed for your injuries, including things like the ambulance, emergency room, hospital, doctors, diagnostic procedures, imaging studies like x-rays, blood transfusions, surgery, pain management, and physical therapy.
- Rehabilitation center. If you sustained severe injuries, you might need to receive specialized care at a facility that focuses on specific types of harm, like traumatic brain injury (TBI) or spinal cord damage. These services could be inpatient, outpatient, or both.
- Lost income. When you miss time from work, you might not get paid. If your injuries prevented you from working and you missed paychecks as a result, you might have a claim for your lost wages, salary, self-employment, and other forms of regular income.
- Diminished earning capacity. A significant injury might leave a person unable to make as much money as before. The decrease in earnings can be compensable if you have to work fewer hours or take a lower-paying position because of your injuries.
- Other intangible losses. In addition to “pain and suffering” and inconvenience, you might be eligible for other noneconomic damages. This category refers to losses that typically do not come with invoices or receipts to set a dollar value of the claim. Things like disfigurement, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the loss of enjoyment of life can be part of this category.
If you’re asking yourself do insurance companies pay for pain and suffering and inconvenience, don’t overlook that you might have other types of losses that could be compensable. We can talk with you to find out the appropriate claim items for your circumstances. If you try to handle your injury claim on your own without a lawyer, the insurance company might make a lowball offer to settle your case on the cheap.
The state of Virginia (§8.01-243) limits the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit seeking money damages for your injuries. If you miss the deadline, the law can prevent you from ever going after compensation.
I was injured in a car accident and the other driver’s insurance company paid for my car repairs and rental car. An entirely different insurance adjuster will likely handle your injury claim. The adjuster will either pay you as little money as possible to settle your claim or find an excuse to deny your injury claim altogether.
You should read my book, The Virginia Car Accident Guide, (it is free of charge for people involved in Virginia car accidents) for more information about the insurance claims process and the schemes the insurance companies use to avoid paying fair settlement amounts.
What Happens if I Was Injured in a Collision Caused by an Uninsured Driver?
You may have a claim for Uninsured (or “UM”) benefits under your own automobile insurance policy.
If you make a UM claim, your own insurance carrier has the right to use all defenses that the other driver would have against you. Many people mistakenly believe that they will be treated better by their own insurance company; however, this just is not true.
Your insurance carrier will be allowed to assert all defenses available to the at-fault driver and will defend the claim as aggressively as any other claim against it. Accordingly, a UM claim creates an adversarial relationship between you and your own insurance carrier. Thus, it may be wise to retain experienced counsel when asserting a UM claim.
As can be expected, your own insurance carrier will NOT be looking out for your interests (even though you are its own insured!). Rather, your insurance carrier will be looking for ways to pay out as little money as possible. In the event you do not have UM coverage, you may have no other practical means of obtaining compensation for your injuries.
This is why you should always carry UM automobile insurance coverage, preferably with liability insurance limits of at least $300,000.
How to Get Legal Help for Your Injury Claim
We dedicate ourselves to helping people who get hurt through the negligence of others. At the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC our clients get to focus their attention and energy on getting better because they know that we are taking care of their legal matters.
You can call us today at (571) 229-1800 to get started. The initial consultation is free, and there is no obligation.