What is a reasonable value for pain and suffering?

I was in a car accident and spent 20 plus days in the hospital. I had a craniotomy, aneurysm

carotid artery and numerous other facial injuries. The driver of the car has a $100,000 limit on injury to be covered under pain and suffering. Are there other options to get more? My auto insurer is paying for lost wages. I don’t want to go to court as the driver is related to me. What should I do regarding a demand letter to the insurance company.

Asked on June 10, 2016 under Personal Injury, Michigan

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There isn't any mathematical formula for determining compensation for pain and suffering.  It depends on the facts of the case and the nature and extent of the injuries as documented in the medical reports.
As you probably know, compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.
Considering the severe injuries you mentioned, the policy limit of $100,000 is most likely inadequate.  If you reject the policy limit, your only alternative is to sue the at-fault driver for negligence to try to obtain additional compensation even though you don't want to sue the driver.
A demand letter to the insurance company would summarize the facts of the accident, summarize your medical reports, and list your special damages that would include the medical bills and wage loss.  Then you would ask for an amount considerably beyond the total medical bills for pain and suffering.  The insurance company will respond with a much lower offer and you can continue negotiations.  Again, if you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, your only recourse is to sue the at-fault party for negligence.  The insurance company can't pay more than the policy limit and will probably offer less to settle the case.
If the case is settled with the insurance company, NO lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the at-fault party's insurance company, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party.
If the case is  NOT settled with the at-fault party's insurance carrier, your lawsuit for negligence must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.


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