Many people are surprised to discover that they may be entitled to more money than they realized for their automobile accident claim. One of the reasons for consulting with a New Orleans personal injury attorney is to ensure that you do not accept a settlement amount that is lower than the value of your claim. Unless you are familiar with Louisiana personal injury laws, you may not be aware of all damages that may be included in an auto accident claim. Therefore, it is usually in your best interest to talk to an attorney before you accept any settlement offers from the insurance company for the other driver.
Is the Insurance Company Required to Pay All My Expenses?
An insurance company will pay as little as possible to settle your accident claim. The insurance adjuster does not work for you. The adjuster represents the insurance provider. Therefore, the adjuster is not going to tell you if you are accepting a settlement offer that is below the true value of your injury claim. If you do not understand personal injury laws, you may not know that you can include an amount for your travel expenses to and from doctor appointments; the cost of paying someone to clean your home or mow your grass; or, the cost of over-the-counter medical supplies and medications.
In most cases, an insurance company should reimburse you for all your financial losses related to the accident, your injuries, and your recovery. In addition, the insurance company should also compensate you for your non-financial losses. Non-financial losses are usually referred to as “pain and suffering”damages. Pain and suffering damages may include:
- Physical suffering and pain
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional stress
- Impairment and disability
The compensation for pain and suffering damages may be substantial, especially in cases of permanent impairment of disability.
Calculating the Value of an Auto Accident Claim
Calculating the value of your claim can be difficult. You must have evidence of your financial damages. Therefore, you need copies of medical expenses and other expenses related to your claim. For loss of income, you need evidence of your income before the crash and a detailed record of the income you lost because of the accident and your injuries.
Future financial damages are much more difficult to calculate. If you suffer an injury that requires ongoing medical care and prevents you from returning to work, you may be entitled to compensation for the anticipated future financial losses. In many cases, financial and medical experts are required to calculate future damages correctly.
Pain and suffering damages are also difficult to calculate. Converting human suffering to a dollar amount would be easier if the personal injury laws provided an equation for pain and suffering damages, but they do not. Therefore, a New Orleans personal injury lawyer utilizes the evidence in your case to substantiate the claim for non-economic damages. An experienced attorney understands how to maximize the compensation for non-economic damages.