Auto Insurance Details - Calculating General Damages

General damage claims are auto insurance claims that may include pain, suffering and mental anguish. In contrast, special damages cover medical treatment, prescriptions and direct loss of income. Any other psychological problems, such as loss of ability to work because of damage to mental health, are considered general damages. General damages are  considered “restitution in integrum’, which is to say that they are compensatory in nature. Because damage to your mental health is not readily quantifiable, such as damage to your car, it is more difficult to put in this sort of claim. To file this kind of claim, you will need to think very carefully about how you life was before the accident, and compare this to how you life is now. Think about how your life has changed.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering is very difficult to calculate. A headache for example can be worth $5 or million dollars in injury, depending on who you talk to. The inconvenience of  having to file a damage claim is not pain and suffering. Inconveniences that are a direct result of the injury is, on the other hand, considered pain and suffering.

The Circumstances Surrounding the Accident

If your injury was caused by being hit by a sober person, the outcome would probably be the same as being hit by a drunken person. However, the jury might not see it that way. It would probably award more money to a person who was hit by a driver who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Remember that when you are negotiating with an insurance company regarding general damages, you are essentially looking for them to buy your lawsuit. You should claim damages accordingly.

Caps on Your General Damage Claims

There are often minimum and maximum limits to the amount of general damages you can claim. This actually makes your life easier in the claiming process. Different cities and states have different regulations on general damage claims, so  find out about the caps in your area. Your insurance company might also have a protocol for claiming general damages. Sometimes the insurance company multiplies the medical bills by a certain number. This number can be two, three, or four times your medical bills, depending on where you live. Sometimes the cap on damage claims is set to be below the medical bills.

Make Sure to Assess Future Expenses

Think about the medical bills, the off-days, and other possible expenses and inconveniences associated with your accident and add them up. A good rule of thumb for calculating future expenses is to multiply the bills you have already accumulated from the accident by three. Since calculating future expenses is a vague process, you might want to hire a personal injury lawyer so that you do not get stuck with a settlement that is less than you deserve.

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