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Do auto insurance companies pay for pain and suffering?

If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident, and it’s very clear the other driver was at fault, then you would probably wonder, do auto insurance companies pay for pain and suffering?

Fortunately you should be entitled to receive compensation for your pain and suffering from virtually all insurers – but you might have to fight hard to get a fair settlement.

In the case of a car accident that causes even minor injuries, it’s common practice for the insurers to offer a relatively small sum – maybe $500 in full and final settlement.

They may also offer each of your passengers compensation.

While you should not accept such an opening offer without careful consideration and expert advice, it is an important signal that the insurance company acknowledge their responsibility to compensate you for your pain and suffering.

So the question then becomes: how much is a realistic sum?

Obviously, unlike physical damage to the vehicles, which can be fixed for a specific sum of money, bodily injuries are obviously a far more fluid proposition.

So, having established by their actions that you are entitled to receive compensation for your pain and suffering, the insurance company will naturally try to keep this payment as low as possible.

So they will probably employ the services of an insurance adjuster.

Always bear in mind that, despite coming from a different company to the insurers, they are working for the insurers – not you. So be very careful what you say and politely decline any suggestions to make a recorded or written statement.

Also politely decline any suggestion that their own medical staff be employed to check your injuries or they be allowed access to your employment and medical records.

You’ll probably be under the care of your own physician at this point, so tell them you will authorize your physician to release their medical notes on your injuries at the end of your treatment.

There are many factors to take into account when trying to arrive at a fair amount of compensation, so you need to be aware of all these, so you can be ready to answer any questions from your insurers or their adjuster.

Chief among these will be the severity of your injuries.

It’s vital you obtain immediate medical attention, right after being injured, because there might be hidden complications from your injury that only a trained physician could spot at this early stage.

So obtaining timely medical treatment for any injuries is paramount.

Make sure your physician is fully aware you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident and make sure you follow their prescribed treatment religiously.

Also keep a journal or other a thorough medical record, documenting your injuries, their relation to the accident, your subsequent treatment and cost of both treatment and medication plus the impact the injuries are having on your normal life compared with your life before the accident.

If your symptoms persist, then do not hesitate to obtain a second opinion from another physician.

Apart from the degree of severity of your injuries, other yardsticks that will be used to calculate the amount of compensation will be the amount of pain and discomfort typically associated with your type of injury. Your insurers will be well aware what this should be from their prior experience.

They will also want to establish how this injury has impacted on your life and how your life has changed since to the accident, when compared with your life prior to the accident.

Medical treatment can be eye-wateringly expensive, so the nature and scope of the medical treatment your injuries require will be a large element of the compensation calculations as will how quickly you can be expected to return to work and normal life.

The cost of expensive medications necessitated by the injury will also be part of the total.

With such large and contentious sums involved, be in no doubt the insurers are going to keep a lid on your payments, particularly as – if you suffer any long term effects – your compensation could run into tens of thousands of dollars.

With that in mind, do not flinch from the idea of hiring an attorney to fight your corner and even up the contest somewhat.

You will also be wise to employ an experienced insurance broker, like the ones you see here, because they can guide to the very best policies for your circumstances.

You’ll find more useful tips like these in our regular free newsletter.

Published in Auto Insurance

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