After a motor vehicle accident, collision victims may seek compensation from a driver whose actions or inaction caused the crash. The auto insurer of the driver who negligently caused an accident will be the one who must deal with the victims.
Auto insurers should treat claimants fairly and should pay damages their policyholders caused, up to policy limits. Unfortunately, insurance companies overly concerned with profits often fail to provide fair monetary compensation to victims harmed in accidents. Crash victims can face many car accident insurance issues, including difficulty obtaining a fair amount of compensation for pain and suffering.
Understanding How Auto Insurers Award Damages for Pain and Suffering
Georgia is a fault state, so car crash victims can pursue claims from drivers who hurt them, regardless of the extent of loss or severity of injuries. Victims are entitled to be “made whole,” including compensation for non-economic damages and financial losses. Calculating actual financial losses can often be straightforward, as the victims can show the amount of work they were unable to attend, and the actual costs of medical expenditures.
Sometimes, there is uncertainty if the victim has sustained ongoing or permanent injuries which he has not recovered from by the time of settlement, or by the time of litigation related to the crash. It is possible to estimate future loss of wages as well as future medical expenditures with opinions from experts.
When it comes to non-economic damages, it is much more difficult to develop an accurate metric to measure losses. Car insurers should compensate crash victims for pain and suffering and for emotional harm experienced, but putting a dollar value on intangible losses can be one of the biggest car accident insurance issues arising after a serious or fatal collision. Crash victims may believe their pain and suffering is worth significantly more than the auto insurer who is paying the claim is willing to pay.
Auto insurers typically use different formulas and objective approaches to trying to determine how much compensation is appropriate for pain and suffering. One common metric is the use of a pain multiplier. When a pain multiplier is utilized to determine pain and suffering compensation, the actual economic damages are calculated first. Then, this total amount is multiplied by the pain multiplier. The more serious and damaging the injuries, the higher the multiplier.
Another method auto insurers use is to calculate a per diem cost of pain. A determination is made on the number of days the victim suffered pain. This is then multiplied by the victim’s daily wage, so the victim is essentially paid for each day of pain endured.
Both of these methods are inexact, and you may not be satisfied with the auto insurer’s calculations. You do not have to accept a settlement offer made by the auto insurer and can pursue a case in court. Keeping a pain journal after an accident can help to show how badly the collision impacted you and can help you maximize the chances of being awarded fair compensation.
Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit http://www.garymartinhays.com to schedule a free consultation if you have been injured in Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah or surrounding areas of Georgia.