Getting a pain and suffering settlement without a lawyer would involve handling the entire legal process by yourself. If you are thinking about filing a lawsuit for pain and suffering, the truth is that, while you are certainly allowed to represent yourself if you wish, it may be worth hiring a lawyer to assist you, especially if they work on a contingency-fee-basis, meaning you only pay attorney fees if the lawyer is able to help you win your case.
Definition of “Pain and Suffering”
Pain and suffering is a legal term referring to a specific type of noneconomic (i.e., not financial) damage. It is defined by Merriam-Webster as “mental or especially physical distress for which one may seek damages in a tort action.”
As you might imagine, this broad definition encompasses any number of conditions and injuries.
- Physical distress: this can refer to short-term pain from injuries that you will eventually recover from, like broken bones, as well as chronic pain from injuries that may never go away, like certain back or neck injuries.
- Mental distress: being seriously injured, no matter the circumstances, can be traumatizing. Whether you have experienced short-term or long-term psychological consequences of an accident, you may be entitled to compensation.
It can be difficult to put a specific dollar amount on your pain and suffering. Unlike with economic damages, which come with an obvious price tag, such as medical bills or repair bills, noneconomic damages must be calculated based on their severity, duration, and so forth.
A quick internet search turns up several pain and suffering “calculators” that claim they can help you figure out how much your pain and suffering is worth. But it is important to remember that every case is unique. Your case may involve many factors that influence how much compensation you can collect, including some you might not have considered. This is why it may be beneficial to work with a lawyer rather than depend solely on a website.
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Determining How Much You May Be Able to Collect for Pain and Suffering
As mentioned above, every case is different. The amount of compensation each claimant can receive for pain and suffering is therefore different as well. It will ultimately come down to what you can convince an insurance company to give you. If your case goes to trial, you will need to convince a jury that your pain and suffering is worth the dollar amount you are asking for.
The first step in receiving a settlement is to file a lawsuit. You have a limited amount of time to do this. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003 states that victims of a personal injury have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. Once that date passes, you may no longer be entitled to receive compensation.
If your case involves medical malpractice, your pain and suffering is also subject to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 74.301. This law sets an upper limit to what claimants can receive for noneconomic damages.
A Lawyer May Help You Get a Pain and Suffering Settlement
The laws and legal concepts discussed above may sound complicated, but they are only the beginning of what you will have to deal with if you are considering trying to get a pain and suffering settlement without a lawyer.
In order to receive a pain and suffering settlement, you will have to negotiate with the insurance company of the person or entity responsible for your injury. Many insurance companies are happy to offer settlements rather than go through the time, effort, and expense of a trial. That said, their primary interest is to pay you as little as possible, and they have a great deal of experience with pain and suffering cases like yours.
If you cannot persuade the insurance company to give you what you feel you deserve, you will either have to settle for what they offer or take them to court to try to get more.
A personal injury attorney may be an asset when you are seeking a pain and suffering settlement. They know the relevant laws inside and out. Many lawyers have experience meeting with insurance companies on behalf of their clients. They can even represent their clients in a courtroom, if it comes to that. Most importantly, they will take the legal burden off your shoulders, handling all paperwork, negotiations, and so forth so you do not have to.
Call Loncar Lyon Jenkins Today
If you are thinking about seeking a pain and suffering settlement, call in the Strong Arm. Contact Loncar Lyon Jenkins at 877-239-4878 for a free evaluation of your case. We work on a contingency-fee-basis, so you do not have to pay us anything unless you get paid.