Hit By Drunk Driver: Do I Have A Claim For “Pain and Suffering?”

Thursday, 12th March 2009

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Here’s an actual post from the chat.lawinfo.com site. I’ve modified my response for purposes of this blog.

I was hit by a drunk driver on New Years Eve. I was hospitalized for 2 days with broken ribs. My 1994 van was totaled. I will miss 2 weeks of work. The drunk who hit me was insured. Am I entitled to anything more that the $2000 I will get for the van? I now have to buy a new car (the $2000 won’t come close to replacing it)

Each state has criteria that must be met to qualify for an award of pain and suffering. In Utah, for example, you need to incur $3,000 in reasonable and necessary medical bills or have a permanent injury.

With two days in the hospital you probably already have $3,000 in medical bills.

Some of the strong points of your case are:

1) broken bones (juries and claims adjusters love broken bones [ o.k. they don’t love them but they give them a lot of respect when it comes time to make an award for pain and suffering.]

2) a drunk driver (juries and claims adjusters hate drunk drivers [this time I think, yes, they actually do hate them] which works to your advantage, once again, when it comes time to make a claim for pain and suffering.

This may sound crass, but in most states you would be “in the money” so to speak, on a claim for pain and suffering compensation.


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