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Lawyers! Pain and suffering, what is it worth.

billsbillsbillsbillsbillsbills Posts: 142Registered User Junior Member
edited January 2013 in Parent Cafe
I was in a car accident (not my fault) where I broke my finger which is requiring a splint and being taped to the finger next to it. It isn't my dominant hand. Both my and the other person's insurance company say I'm entitled to "pain and suffering" Getting a lawyer for this doesn't seem worth it. I'd like to know what is usually worth so I have an idea when the insurance company gives me a number. Thanks all!
Post edited by billsbillsbills on
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Replies to: Lawyers! Pain and suffering, what is it worth.

  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 33,289Registered User Senior Member
    Id ask for your medical expenses + $100.
  • MomofWildChildMomofWildChild Posts: 17,104Registered User Senior Member
    Meds plus $500
  • SteveMASteveMA Posts: 6,079Registered User Senior Member
    9-10 million, easy :D.

    Did they seriously ask you for a pain and suffering amount???
  • MommaJMommaJ Posts: 4,681Registered User Senior Member
    I can't imagine it would be worth it for a lawyer to take your case anyway. Since your actual pain and suffering seem minimal, my inclination would be to tie this to the culpability of the other driver. Was he or she being a reckless idiot (in which case I'd say ask for $2000)? Or was it just one of those "stuff happens" accidents (go for a token $500)? I realize it's coming out of the insurance company's pocket, not the driver's, but the amount paid will impact the driver's experience rating with the company, and seeing the amount in writing may have an impact on the driver's future driving habits.
  • ECmotherx2ECmotherx2 Posts: 929Registered User Member
    Nothing! Unless it was reckless endagerment, in which case there should have been an arrest. This is what gives lawyers a bad name, increases insurance costs and makes us greedy. If it impacted your career, there are actuaries who would give an estimate on lost wages based on potential impact. Accidents happen. If it happened to be your fault, would you feel that the injured person deserved compensation for "pain and suffering" for a fractured finger? As long as medical costs and repair are covered, it is too minor.
  • MomofWildChildMomofWildChild Posts: 17,104Registered User Senior Member
    I'm a lawyer on the defense side of these things, so I certainly don't like to see over-reaching. However, yes, a fractured finger IS painful and an inconvenience and some compensation is completely reasonable.
  • billsbillsbillsbillsbillsbills Posts: 142Registered User Junior Member
    In the police report, the person who caused the accident said they didn't see the car. The medical bills are going to my insurance company who I guess will then get the $ from the other company. I did miss work until my employer could find something for me to do that didn't involve patient care (I'm a nurse and you can't be washing your hands or wearing gloves with your fingers stuck together and a splint) I asked for something to do but I suppose I could have just stayed home until the splint comes off (3-4weeks) so I wasn't being greedy and that saved them some money!
    I would never have thought of any other compensation but the claims people from both insurance companies mentioned it. I'm well aware that accidents happen and it could just as easily been me that caused it.
    And yes, MOWC, it does hurt!
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 36,970Registered User Senior Member
    There appear to be various methods of putting a monetary value on pain and suffering in legal cases, based on a quick web search. If you know any actual lawyers, you may want to ask them about it.

    How to Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages in a Car Accident Case
    http://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1672&context=californialawreview
    http://www.law.northwestern.edu/lawreview/v100/n1/87/LR100n1Avraham.pdf
  • bookwormbookworm Posts: 4,889Registered User Senior Member
    i would consider a broken finger lucky. My accident a full year ago was caused by a driver running a red light in middle of day, a Sunday. I tore my rotator cuff, broke rib, tore elbow tendon, and 3 discs in neck ruptured. I've been thru lots of pain past year, but have postponed the neck surgery. I went from being a healthy person, good weight, frequent exerciser, to someone who has gained 5 #, had to start over with weights and exercise, and deal with chronic pain. My friend, who was driver, had his car totaled, and only got current value. of course, the driver of the new Lexus SUV was underinsured. I do not think it fair that my insurance company has to pay, and they have been stingy.

    I do not mean to sound unempathetic. I want reckless drivers to be held accountable. I do not think it is enough to just pass on the charges to an insurance company. There are accidents, and then there are careless, reckless drivers. People should be accountable.

    To the lawyers out there, I thought pain & suffering was about 3x medical expenses, at most.
  • hops_scouthops_scout Posts: 3,898Registered User Senior Member
    $100 million. That's what one lawyer thinks at least...
  • musicprntmusicprnt Posts: 2,488Registered User Senior Member
    Want to know the truth? There aren't any guidelines on that, at least not in my state. I sat on a civil case after an auto accident (that the jury unanimously thought was an idiotic suit and acted accordingly) but there was one injury to the neck that was agreed came out of the accident. There was no dollar amount asked, and there was absolutely no guidelines from the law in terms of amounts, we were told to come up with a number we felt was reasonable....we did the best we can (I think we came up with an amount that would represent the cost of getting housecleaning help around the house, a big complaint of the plaintiff) for a period of time, but it was a royal pain. One of the reasons I think you see the big jury awards is that the legislature and courts don't come up with any guidelines.......maybe they do in some states, they sure as heck don't in NJ.

    One suggestion would be to think of anything the injury was stopping you from doing you normally would, or if there is extra expense (for example, you can't cook and have to eat takeout), or even the loss of pleasure at for example, being able to play a sport of something.....

    Me, I would probably just want to make sure that I was compensated for any medical expenses (which is automatic in NJ, medical is no fault), or if I had, for example, to take vacation time from work for being out, or lost income because I had to go on disability or something..but those technically aren't pain and suffering. It would probably take me a lot of pain for me to sue for that, I have a higher tolerance for pain, as can be told by having a parrot with a strong beak and a son who is a musician to be....:)
  • dmd77dmd77 Posts: 7,718Registered User Senior Member
    How long has it been since your accident? Has the finger healed and do you have normal function in that hand? If you have permanent damage--can't bend the finger all the way or straighten it all the way--you will receive more compensation than if it heals completely.

    Make sure you don't talk to the insurance adjuster until ALL YOUR MEDICAL BILLS HAVE BEEN RECEIVED. You may need physical therapy for the hand; you may have other injuries that you haven't noticed yet.

    When my daughter was hit by a car while cycling almost five years ago (her collar bone was broken into four pieces), she got the first offer from the driver's insurance company four hours after the accident, while she was still in the emergency room. It was for $10,000---which would not have covered her total medical bills over the course of treatment for the injury and the physical therapy she needed to make a full recovery. It would not have covered the damage to her clothing or her bicycle, either. Nor would it have covered the six weeks she had to be out of work because her arm was splinted to allow the collarbone to heal.

    By waiting until all the data was in, she was able to negotiate a fair settlement for her injuries (actual medical bills), lost wages, damages, and "pain and suffering".
  • allyphoeallyphoe Posts: 729Registered User Member
    Alternatively, if it's a bad accident (not the case for the OP), and the other guy has no resources beyond insurance, you may as well settle once the policy caps (higher of the other guy's or your uninsured motorist's policy) are hit.

    My dad was hit by a car while cycling a few years back. His uninsured motorist's policy paid out the policy maximum for medical, for pain and suffering, and for the damage to his bike, before he left the hospital - but he was in the hospital for 3 weeks and had a couple more inpatient surgeries after that.
  • HImomHImom Posts: 18,628Registered User Senior Member
    If you have a good relationship with your insurer, you could ask your insurance agent what a reasonable sum for similar injuries are and should be able to get an honest answer.

    Be sure that you are fully healed and all your medical bills have been paid before you assess the pain & suffering. They can also pay for lost wages or sick leave you had to take because you couldn't work while healing.
  • collegemom2012collegemom2012 Posts: 65Registered User New Member
    Not a lawyer, but in the business. Don't settle until you are healed. I did handle a claim recently that seemed to be a simple fractured thumb, but the person ended up having to go to an occupational therapist due to some complications, and is still treating. If everything heals up fine, and your medical bills and lost wages were paid, most likely 3-5k. A plaintiff's lawyer would go for more, but they would get a third, and it would be dragged out. Don't settle for the first offer. Write down the things that you could not do or were painful to do while healing. The reason you were told about this from both sides, is that in many states a fracture automatically qualifies you for a pain and suffering claim.
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