But before you start counting on that extra settlement money, you should know that "pain and suffering" has a specific legal meaning, and it can sometimes be tricky to prove in a court of law.
In the state of Florida, the law says you must prove your injuries fall in one of the following four categories:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function;
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement;
- Significant or permanent scarring or disfigurement; or
From there, it's all about paperwork and communication.
The two best ways to prove your pain and suffering claim is through medical records and your own statements. This is one reason why it's so important to go to the doctor immediately after your car accident. Any delay just gives the insurance adjusters more reason to delay or even limit your settlement. And more important, just because you don’t think you’re seriously injured doesn’t mean you’re not. Skipping the doctor’s visit could have serious long-term consequences.
Make sure you communicate with your doctor. Let him know your symptoms and where it hurts. Explain what happened during the car accident. Any insight you can give will help ensure you get the best care possible, and also give the insurance adjusters the information they need to make an informed decision regarding your claim.
Then there’s the documentation. If you’re planning on moving forward with your claim without an attorney, there’s some important paperwork you’ll need to prepare:
- Make sure you send all your medical records and bills to the insurance adjuster. They’ll need everything, from the initial ambulance ride bill to the charge for your final treatment. Failure to provide any of this documentation can significantly alter your final settlement
- Prepare a demand letter to the insurance adjuster explaining your injuries, pain and suffering and how it’s affected both your personal and business life. Make sure you don’t over-dramatize. If it sounds unbelievable, chances are the adjuster isn’t going to take you seriously.
This is very tedious process that requires constant follow-up and attention. And it’s probably one of the best reasons to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. They’re well-versed in dealing with insurance companies and know exactly what it takes to get the settlement you deserve.
So before you decide to take on your claim, consider hiring the Andriotis Law Firm. Our staff offers 'round-the-clock service to our clients, and has helped injured accident victims throughout the Tampa Bay area.