When you are injured in a bicycle accident and someone else is at fault, the at-fault party’s insurance company may be liable for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is compensation for your physical and emotional distress (Legal Information Institute). As such, your attorney must establish that the pain and suffering you experienced was enough to file a claim and pursue compensation.
Pain and suffering may include emotional distress which is suffering as a result of an experience someone else’s negligence caused and other damages:
- Ongoing severe physical pain or discomfort
- Anxiety or depression
- Loss of companionship/consortium
- Loss of parental guidance or support
- Loss of joy of life
- An overall decline in quality of life
Understanding How Pain and Suffering Are Calculated
Attorneys or insurance companies may classify damages in two different categories: economic and noneconomic.
Economic damages are losses that can be calculated using measurable evidence. For instance, your attorney can calculate the total amount that you have paid out-of-pocket in medical expenses by reviewing past or current bills and receipts. They can also determine how much pay you have lost based on your current wage and the number of hours of work that you have missed or simply by getting verification from your employer.
Noneconomic damages are not calculated damages. Consequently, they can be difficult to determine. For instance, an attorney can calculate how much a victim has paid out in medical costs to heal a broken femur. However, an attorney cannot calculate how much pain the victim has been in due to the broken femur.
If you file a lawsuit and take your case to court, a judge or jury may decide how much your pain and suffering is worth. If you file your claim directly to the insurance company, an adjuster may be left with that decision.
Proving Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case
Since pain and suffering are incalculable, there may be some dispute as to the validity of your claim or how much the insurance company should pay out. Furthermore, you may have a difficult time establishing your case since there may not be enough evidence.
However, your attorney may plead your case on the grounds that some forms of pain and suffering are self-evident such as:
- A family grieving the loss of a loved one
- A person who spends several months in bed recovering from an accident
- A victim who has multiple severe life-altering injuries
- A victim who is dismembered or permanently disabled
- A couple who can no longer share intimate moments
Your attorney may also be able to point to evidence that clearly demonstrates the level of pain and suffering you experienced after the bicycle accident. These forms of evidence may include:
Doctor Report or Testimony
Your attorney may gather doctor reports or speak with medical experts who can testify to the level of physical pain or discomfort you endured during your recovery. A doctor’s report may show a direct correlation between your injury and your level of physical pain. The type of pain medication your doctor prescribes may also indicate how much you suffered after the accident.
If you went through several months or physical or emotional trauma, you may have visited a counselor or therapist for clinical depression, anxiety, or PTSD. If so, counseling records may attest to the level of emotional distress you have experienced since the accident. This can be compelling evidence that shows just how much the accident negatively impacted your life.
Diminished Earning Capacity
If you are no longer able to work or your earning capacity has been reduced significantly, you should be able to account for that when filing your claim. Your lawyer can estimate the amount of income or retirement you may have accumulated before the bicycle accident. While these calculations are not 100 percent verifiable, they present an estimate of what you have lost financially due to someone’s negligence or careless actions.
For a free legal consultation, call 317-743-7971
Rejecting the Insurance Company’s Calculations for Pain and Suffering
Each insurance company may have its own ‘formula’ for calculating pain and suffering. However, these formulas rarely tell the whole story or reflect your actual losses. Therefore, you may want to get a second opinion before accepting the insurance company’s settlement offer.
A personal injury attorney in Indianapolis, IN can sit down with you to go over all of your past, present, and projected future damages that fall under the category of pain and suffering. They can help you determine what your case is worth based on your actual damages and not the insurance company’s perceived damages.
By seeking out consultation and legal representation from an attorney, you may have the leverage you need to verify your claim and get the compensation you deserve for all of your damages, including pain and suffering.
Get Started With Your Personal Injury Case Today
Do not let the insurance companies tell you what your case is worth. Get help today from a personal injury lawyer in Indianapolis, IN. Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. provides comprehensive legal services for all types of personal injuries including bicycle accidents. Call us today at (317) 636-7777 for a free case assessment.