If you have been injured and are filing a claim for damages, you may be wondering whether or not damages for noneconomic harm, such as pain and suffering, can be a part of your settlement.
You may further be wondering if you can negotiate your claim without legal counsel.
While it is possible to pursue a pain and suffering claim without lawyers’ help, doing so isn’t advised.
That being said, here are some tips for how to settle an insurance claim and how to file a personal injury claim without a lawyer–
In order to make a claim for damages, you will need to present a plethora of evidence that supports your claim that the party against whom you’re filing an action owed you a duty of care, breached the duty of care owed to you, that the breach of the duty of care was the direct result of your accident and injuries, and that you’ve suffered actual damages–including noneconomic damages like pain and suffering–as a direct result. Evidence that is recommended to prove these elements include:
- Witness statement;
- Physical evidence;
- Pictures of the accident scene and your injuries;
- The other party’s statement;
- Experts’ opinions; and
- Medical evidence.
Determine the Value of Your Damages
It is not enough to just present evidence showing that you suffered harm and that another party is to blame; you must also determine the value of your damages in order to demand this amount from the appropriate insurer.
Your economic damages, which are damages that are reflective of your actual financial losses, will be easier to calculate. Noneconomic damages are much more difficult to calculate as they do not have an objective cash value.
In order to calculate your pain and suffering damages, you will need to understand one of the two common calculation methods used: the multiplier method and the per diem method.
The first relies on assigning a multiplier from one to five to your case and multiplying the number of your economic damages by this multiplier (the more significant your harm, the greater the multiplier used).
The latter assigns an amount of money per day to your case and then multiplies this amount by the number of days for which you have experienced pain and suffering.
Send a Demand Letter
Once you understand what your claim is worth and you have the evidence to back up your estimate, you will send a demand letter to the appropriate insurance party that explains your accident and injuries and requests compensation.
There are online resources and sample letters that you can reference in drafting your demand letter.
How to Settle an Insurance Claim without a Lawyer – Negotiating Your Damages
After you send your demand letter, the insurance company will respond by either denying your claim or offering you a settlement. However, the settlement may be less than you asked for, and if this is the case, you maintain the right to negotiate for a larger settlement amount.
You should also prepare to file a complaint with the court; if you threaten a lawsuit, the insurance company may be intimidated, and be more inclined to offer you a larger settlement amount as such.
How to Get Money from a Car Accident without a Lawyer
Filing a pain and suffering claim without a lawyer is possible, and depending upon the extent of your injuries and your ability to navigate the legal system, you may be able to do so successfully.
In most cases, however, the chances of recovering the settlement you deserve will be maximized by working with an experienced legal professional who understands all legal elements of your case (how to write a demand letter, how to value pain and suffering damages, how to file a lawsuit, the statute of limitations, etc.) and is a skilled negotiator.