Do Texas Insurance Firms Compensate for Suffering from an Accident?
The term “pain and suffering” refers to the physical and mental anguish you experience during and after an accident. Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t automatically pay pain and suffering compensation after a vehicle accident in Texas.
In fact, people who have experienced a car, truck, or motorcycle crash may have been offered settlements that barely cover their health care expenses. Personal injury lawyers help clients seek compensation not just for medical bills, lost income, and out-of-pocket expenses but also for pain and suffering. Here is more about how it works on this video from one of the top personal injury experts at Haines Law, P.C.:
Seeking Pain and Suffering Compensation by Filing an Insurance Claim
The first way to seek compensation for your pain and suffering is to file a claim with your insurance company.
Texas has a “fault” auto insurance system, which means the at-fault driver must pay for the accident. If you were over 51% at fault, you or your insurer will be responsible for the costs. Conversely, if you got hurt and are less than 51% at fault, you can file a claim with both your insurer and that of the other driver.
All Texas drivers must carry a minimum of $30,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident. As long as your injuries don’t require extensive treatment, the other driver’s insurer will likely pay your expenses in full. You may also be able to negotiate a settlement that takes into account your pain and suffering.
Seeking Pain and Suffering Compensation by Filing a Lawsuit
An alternative way to seek compensation is to file a civil lawsuit. If the court finds that the other driver acted negligently or recklessly, it may award you a sum of money or damages as compensation.
Texas courts routinely award damages for pain and suffering. In calculating the amount, they consider the severity of the accident and your injuries.
However, note that if you can’t prove that your injuries caused pain and suffering, you may receive nominal damages only or none at all. Courts will generally deny frivolous or meritless claims. So, if both you and the other driver have coverage and can settle the claim through insurance, filing a lawsuit may not be appropriate.
Calculating Pain and Suffering Compensation in Texas
Insurance companies use two main methods to calculate pain and suffering compensation:
- The multiplier method: This is one of the most popular calculations. Insurers total your medical bills and multiply them by a number between 1.5 and 5. The exact multiplier depends on the severity of the injuries, your prospects for recovery, the impact of the injuries on your daily life, and your fault for the accident.
- The per diem method: Per diem is Latin for per day. Under this less popular method, the adjusters assign a dollar value to each day you feel pain and suffering. However, pinpointing the exact rate can be challenging, and this method isn’t conducive to evaluating pain and suffering from long-term or permanent injuries.
Looking To Seek Pain and Suffering Compensation in Texas?
It’s very hard to put a dollar value on subjective experiences like pain and suffering that don’t show up on an X-ray or a lab result. Insurance companies know this and will do everything they can to downplay your pain and avoid making a payout.
At Haines Law, P.C., our Houston personal injury attorneys can ensure that this doesn’t happen. We will review your case, advise whether you can seek compensation, and support you throughout the process. To learn about compensation options, call us at 832-770-6603 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.