In every personal injury case, there are two types of damages that the attorney is trying to recover for a car accident victim: (1) economic damages and (2) non-economic damages. Economic damages are the injury victim’s actual costs – usually medical expenses and lost wages. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, inconvenience, emotional anguish, and all the other non-monetary injuries that occur as a result of a car accident.


In my opinion, the crucial element in every personal injury case is obtaining fair value for your non-economic damages. However, the system works in a way that makes it impossible to get a fair settlement value for pain and suffering damages (non-economic damages). Think about this. When an insurance adjuster reviews your accident claim, they have a copy of your medical records and bills. That’s all. If a fact is not included in the medical record, the adjuster doesn’t treat that fact as if it has been substantiated. For the most part, medical records do not mention how an accident victim’s injuries are effecting his day-to-day. At this point in the settlement process, the adjuster has not heard you tell your story and has not heard your family members describe what an inconvenience the car accident was.


As a result, the adjuster does not factor in appropriate compensation for pain and suffering largely because they don’t know about how much you’ve been suffering. The insurance adjuster does not know that you could not walk your dog for three months, or that you had to stop going to the gym for a year which caused to you put on considerable weight, or that you had to spend an extra hour at work each day in order to complete your normal obligations because you spent so much time shifting and stretching your injury.


In order to get a fair assessment of your non-economic damages, an injury victim has to take their case to trial so that they can tell their story to the judge. For every car accident case I handle, I supply the insurance carrier with a demand letter in which I include information about how the collision caused you to suffer. Sometimes providing this information helps and the adjuster will include it in their analysis. Sadly, it seems that many insurance adjusters do not even bother to read the demand letters and rely only on the medical records. Even worse, many insurance adjusters have told me that they cannot even consider the actual effect of the car accident on the injury victim’s life because there is no documentation to support it.



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