Do You Need a Lawyer to File a Claim for Pain and Suffering?
People often settle car accident claims before going to trial. That involves negotiating with the other party, whether or not they have retained legal counsel. If you were involved in a minor car accident, you might be able to mediate the claim without an attorney, but doing so requires adequate preparation and a thorough understanding of the factual and legal issues in the case, including pain and suffering damages.
Because of the complexities of a personal injury case, most notably an evaluations of an injured persons pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life, we highly recommend obtaining legal representation to advance the case. A personal injury attorney will help you understand all aspects of the case, from filing a lawsuit to reaching a damages award at trial.
What Is Pain and Suffering in Arizona?
Pain and suffering damages includes the physical and mental anguish, pain, and discomfort caused by injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. The type and severity of the injuries and the degree of pain is the basis for a damage award for pain and suffering.
The majority of states regard damages for pain and suffering as non-economic damages, or general damages. Non-economic damages are intangible losses that are notoriously difficult to evaluate in terms of monetary value. Non-economic injuries are more subjective than economic costs, such as lost wages or medical expenses.
Deciding Whether to Proceed with an Attorney in Phoenix
You must consider several factors when determining whether or not to pursue your case with a lawyer. Legal representation could save you time and money, depending on the type of car accident case. An attorney will appreciate the full value of your case, as opposed to negotiating directly with the insurance company who intends on paying you the least amount possible. Here are some other factors to consider:
The Severity of Your Injuries
Minor accidents may result in an insurance settlement covering your medical expenses and property damages without the need to file a dispute. More severe car accidents involving significant losses, pain, and suffering, however, warrant having your case reviewed by an attorney. Without an attorney, a claim for compensation for substantial injuries is less likely to result in an insurance settlement that adequately covers your damages. The insurance companies know this so they do not want you to obtain legal representation.
Strength of Available Evidence
Evidence to support your case, including witness testimony and supporting documentation, are necessary to prove the claim. If evidence of pain and suffering does not exist, then the insurance company won’t pay a reasonable settlement value. If you are having difficulty gathering evidence for your claim, it might be time to consult with an attorney.
Evidence the Other Driver was at Fault
If you file a claim against the other driver or their insurance company, you must ensure you have proof that the other driver was at fault for the car accident. Clear evidence the other driver was at fault makes proceeding with your claim much easier.
However, if there is a dispute as to who is at fault for the accident, or if the other driver blames you, it is advisable to seek an experienced car accident attorney. You cannot advance your claim without evidence of the other driver’s fault.
Calculating Your Pain and Suffering
When filing a claim for damages, you must consider a value on your pain and suffering. Again, there is no reliable calculation that exists to determine pain and suffering so attorneys look to prior jury awards on similar cases to your own. If you are having difficulty determining the value of your pain and suffering, then you should contact a personal injury attorney with experience in this field. Personal injury lawyers use their training, experience, and professional expertise to help you calculate the maximum amount you can claim for damages suffered in a car accident.
Filing a Damages Claim on Your Own
To file a claim for pain and suffering, you need to send a demand letter to the other driver’s insurance company containing a summary of your claim and the damages you suffered. The letter should address your pain and suffering and include evidence and documentation supporting your case.
Types of Supporting Documents
You need evidence to support your claim of pain and suffering. Ensure you collect medical records and the police report. Don’t allow the insurance company to obtain documents on your behalf. That will enable them to control the documents they will consider in evaluating your case.
If possible, include the following documentation in your demand letter:
● Available medical records and bills, and lost income records,
● A doctor’s note describing your injuries,
● Any witness statements,
● Photos of the vehicles involved in the accident and your injuries.
Provide a Statement About Calculating Your Pain and Suffering
Include in your demand letter how you determined the value of the pain and suffering portion of your claim. Explain the impact your pain and suffering has had on your daily activities following the auto accident. Include the following discussion points in your statement:
● The severity of your injuries,
● The location and nature of any disfigurement or scarring,
● The amount of recovery time required,
● The potential for ongoing consequences from your injuries,
● The amount claimed for any special damages,
● Any social or economic factors,
● Your state’s damages cap, if any.
Seek Professional Legal Help with Your Pain and Suffering Claim in Arizona
Weigh the points discussed above and consider whether filing a claim on your own will bring you the desired outcome, or if an experienced personal injury attorney will help you obtain the best possible settlement. If you need assistance with filing a Pain and Suffering Claim, give us a call today to speak with a lawyer about your case. We are here to help you move forward and get the compensation you deserve.