Try These 5 Tips to Maximize Your Claim
I get a lot of purpose and fulfillment from my work, but one thing about the job never gets easier: seeing my clients deal with pain. It’s heartbreaking to sit down with an avid gardener and realize that because of a car crash, they can no longer bend over to tend their flowers, or a father who has too much hip pain to carry his child. That’s why I’m so grateful my clients can win pain and suffering damages as part of their personal injury claims.
These damages are compensation for physical pain, stress, and life disruption. They can help ease your distress and make up just a little for the necessary changes in your life after an accident. The only downside is that pain and suffering is difficult to calculate, and the numbers reached almost never seem like enough. When you’re filing your own claim for pain and suffering, keep these five things in mind to ensure you get the most compensation possible.
- Be specific. When you’re talking to the adjuster, be as specific as possible about how the accident has impacted your life. Saying that you can’t play with your grandkids any more because of your back pain is much more effective at generating empathy than simply saying that your recovery has been rough. Every claim is different, so tell your personal story and make sure that your unique situation is clear.
- Be honest. If you exaggerate the impact of your injuries or try to claim that everything going wrong in your life is the fault of the accident, you’ll lose the trust of the jury or adjuster. Instead, be realistic about how much of your pain and suffering is related to your traumatic experience. Your child’s failing grade, for example, probably isn’t attributable, but your mental fog and inability to stay on task at work could be.
- Use affidavits. An affidavit is a written, sworn statement from another person that backs up your claim. One of the best ways to prove how extensively an injury has impacted your life is to have the people whom you are close to — your partner, parents, coworkers, or friends — explain the changes they’ve seen in your day-to-day routine. They can vouch for the fact that you had to give up your hobbies, for example, or describe the symptoms of your depression or PTSD. This evidence will put more weight behind your claim.
- Don’t forget to consider the future. Keep in mind that pain and suffering damages can include future pain and suffering. If you’ve been forced to give up future plans because of an accident or injury (e.g., an opportunity for job training that could have resulted in a raise), that should be taken into account, and bringing it up could increase your compensation.
- Be realistic about the amount you ask for. This is the toughest of the five steps because it means tempering your expectations. Realistically, if your accident was minor, then you likely won’t get a huge payout for pain and suffering, even if it made your life more difficult. Going into the claims process, keep this in mind so you can avoid appearing entitled and alienating the adjuster or jury.
In every personal injury case we’re involved in, we use these techniques to help our clients maximize their pain and suffering damages. Getting this compensation is one of the most satisfying parts of the job, but it can be tough, too. I know it’s hard to accept that you might not get the amount of money you feel you deserve. However, with these tips and our guidance, you’ll be able to access as much compensation as you’re allowed under the law. To find out more about the process and how we can help, give us a call at (575) 300-4000 or fill out our contact form.