How much does insurance pay for pain and suffering for someone hit by a drunk driver?

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Question:

How much does insurance pay for pain and suffering for someone hit by a drunk driver?

Answer:

There are few things that impact the value of a car accident claim more than fault. Who is to blame for the accident? What did the other driver do wrong? On the spectrum of fault for a car accident, it doesn’t get much more clear-cut (or much more egregious) than a drunk driver whose impaired driving causes a crash.       

Keep in mind that an insurance adjuster approaches a car accident claim with an eye toward what might happen if the case makes it all the way to trial. It’s one thing to try to predict how a jury will come down when Driver A was driving a few miles an hour over the posted speed limit while Driver B failed to merge carefully enough, and the two collided. It’s a different story when Driver A ran a red light and plowed into Driver B, and then Driver A blew a .17 into the Breathalyzer after the accident.       

The lesson here is that if your car accident was caused by a drunk driver, that fact alone is going to make the insurance adjuster very motivated to settle your case before it gets to the court room. Keep that in mind when it comes to your settlement negotiation strategy. Hang tough during the settlement process and do not back down when it comes to the value of your claim and what you’d be willing to accept to settle your case.

Getting back to your original question regarding “pain and suffering,” that portion of your damages in your car accident claim may not necessarily be affected by the fact that you were hit by a drunk driver. That’s because “pain and suffering” is meant to compensate you for all of your physical discomfort, mental anguish, stress, and anxiety associated with your injuries and your medical treatment (fault isn’t typically considered).

But remember, pain and suffering is only one factor in the value of your claim, and the fact that you were hit by a drunk driver will almost certainly boost the overall worth of your settlement. Especially if you’ve suffered significant injuries after a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you may want to discuss your case with an experienced car accident attorney.

by: David Goguen, J.D.

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