Emotional Distress Can Affect Your Settlement
As you probably know, when there is an accidental injury due to the negligence of another party the victim is entitled to a settlement.
If you’ve been injured you are probably curious as to how much of a settlement you will get.
That depends on many factors including how old you were when you were injured, how bad the injury was (did it cause permanent or temporary injuries), how much medical expense you will have and much more.
Aside from the more tangible aspects of an injury, you will also have emotional distress.
Being in an injury can be very traumatic for most people.
By nature of an accident, they are unexpected and therefore are a traumatizing event both while it is happening and also in dealing with it after.
Most accidents cause injuries to people.
These injuries can be external (such as scars or dismemberment of a body part) or can be internal like traumatic brain injuries or back issues (vertebrae or spinal problems).
Those injuries can cause distress through the pain that is often associated with them.
Aside from injuries there is also mental anguish due to the intangible issues that are caused by an injury.
Often times injuries will put a victim out of work for a time while they get there ailments treated.
When someone who suffered an injury is out of work and is making less money than what they usually do (or no money at all) there is extreme stress.
Not only does the person need to get healthy, but they also have to pay bills and dealing with both challenges simultaneously can be an emotional nightmare.
This psychological harm needs to be included in any settlement. It will be difficult for you to correctly calculate this if you are dealing with the insurance company on your own.
And the insurance company will most likely not offer any help in this regard.
So it is very important that you find a reputable and competent personal injury attorney to assist you with getting the best settlement available.
The Richard Harris Law Firm is precisely the people you want to reach out to.
We have been serving the Las Vegas and Reno areas for over forty years and take our jobs very seriously.
We will review the details of your claim and will work to get you the most money possible.
We know that anyone involved in an accident did not ask to be in that situation and we are aware of the massive inconvenience being injured and/or out of work can cause.
Most importantly we know the emotional distress that all of the above causes.
How Much is Emotional Distress Worth?
The first thing we will do after reviewing your case is to figure out how much your emotional disorder is valued at.
There is not a one size fits all answer so it really depends on your case specifically.
Some of the many factors we might look at are how egregious was the negligence that caused the accident, how sudden was it and much more.
Although there is not a said rule as to how much “emotional distress” is worth, there are some formulas that some insurance companies will use.
In many cases, they will calculate the amount of medical expenses and will multiply that by one or two times to cover “pain and suffering”.
Sometimes though, more money than what is calculated from that simple formula is needed to truly repay the victim.
Although those higher payouts are usually reserved for injuries of the most severe situation, a good law firm will work to get you a significant amount.
Emotional disorder compensation usually falls under “pain and suffering” so as a claimant you should not expect to see two line items.
A good personal injury attorney will negotiate an amount of the physical pain their client suffered and will also negotiate for the mental anguish suffered.
If there was no physical harm on an injury it is difficult to negotiate for emotional distress.
A defending lawyer working on behalf of an insurance company will argue that without an actual physical injury the claimant could not have suffered emotional issues.
Everyone knows that may not always be the case as an accident (even without an injured body part) is still traumatic which can cause both present and future mental stress.
Evidence to Show Emotional Distress
As a reminder, the insurance company you are making the claim with is not working for you.
As a matter of fact they are trying to limit their exposure to the claim as much as possible.
An insurance adjuster will be as tight as possible when it comes to making a claim payout recommendation.
They account for every dollar they earmark towards payment as that is part of their job.
Because emotional distress is nothing that can be seen or touched (like an actual physical injury) you will need to make your case.
Again, this is where a personal injury firm such as the Richard Harris Law firm can assist you.
Our legal experts know what it takes to prove your case for the emotional distress you have been suffering from.
Because you have been the one suffering, you are aware of how true your emotional harm actually is.
But how do you prove that to an insurance adjuster and what should you provide to them?
The more documentation you can provide the better.
Aside from providing the insurance company with various forms of documentation, you also want to give them different types of emotional distress that you have been suffering from.
Documentation may include the following:
Mental Health Records
If you have been treated for mental health then those records should be submitted to the insurance or your personal injury lawyer. Proper documentation would include invoices, bills, daily notes and other reports that cite your diagnosis and progress. It is best if your treatments are with a licensed professional serving in mental health. This would include psychologists, psychiatrists and licensed counselors.
Although your medical records most likely pertain to physical injuries they can help you make your case for emotional distress. For instance, if you see your doctor for an injury where they propose a limitation to you physically (for example: no standing for more than 10 minutes at a time) then that could cause you mental distress. Sticking with the same example, if you cook and feed your children but are unable to because of your doctor’s directive of standing then that could be emotional distress.
It is recommended that you keep a daily journal of all of your issues and setbacks. It is not as effective to do this if you only document certain days so it is important that you be consistent and write each day or week. Only writing something every few weeks may not help set a pattern of your emotional distress. Items to document might be any nightmares that you have had, documenting your pain levels, sleep issues and other details about how your daily life routine has been negatively impacted by your accident.
Statements for Witnesses of your Distress
Getting as many statements from coworkers, friends, family members and other people is very significant. It is important that they write the statements in their own words using their own observations of you since your accident and how your actions and demeanor has differed since it occurred. By relating the change in your behavior from before and after the incident, you can make the case that the injury was the catalyst in your change.
Emotional Distress Settlement
As we have previously mentioned, hiring a law firm to assist you with your emotional disorder settlement is very important.
The Richard Harris Law Firm has been around for decades serving in all types of personal injury cases.
We focus on personal injury and can help you obtain the most dollars possible for your injuries and pain & suffering.
You will need professional legal help to get the full value out of your claim and to battle against the insurance companies.
Insurance companies have their own lawyers on retainer so if you go about this alone you will be head to head with their law team.
They will most likely also try to make the case that the injury was not as significant as you are stating it was.
Another common strategy that is often used against victims of injuries are accusing them of being partially to blame.
If they can make a viable case that the victim had something to do with the injury then they can possibly get out of paying the claim entirely or at the very least getting the settlement amount reduced significantly.
You never want to settle for less and want to get everything you deserve.
If you were involved in an accident and incurred injuries and or mental emotional disorders please reach out to the Richard Harris Law Firm.