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Will my own insurance company pay for pain and suffering?

Fircrest, WA |

My husband and I were rear-ended 4 months ago. The other driver had no insurance. We had minimal PIP, which has been exhausted, but we have great medical coverage, so I'm not worried about the medical bills. I've heard that if the other driver had insurance, we would get a settlement amount up to 3x the total medical bills for pain and suffering. Since she didn't have insurance, should our own insurance company make such an offer?

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Attorney answers 2


If you have underinsured motorist coverage, you can recover for your general damages for pain, suffering, and lost enjoyment of life. Each of you would even have a claim for loss of consortium - the manner in which your spouse's injury affected your life. You could have a claim for the diminished value of your vehicle.

There is no mathematical formula for determining the value of a case, and insurance companies no longer follow the "3 times" guideline.

Obtaining justice - fair compensation for your injuries - requires either telling the story of how this collision affected your life to a jury or convincing your insurance company that you will. That requires an attorney. Without someone to fight for you, the insurance company can inform you what your case is worth, and you have no leverage if you disagree. Attempting to settle an injury claim with a professional injury-claim-settlement machine like an insurance company is not to your advantage. It will not bring you justice.

This is the easiest call you'll ever have to make. You are in Fircrest. My firm has an office in Fircrest. We offer a free, no obligation consultation. Please give us a call.


Your question depends on the type of insurance coverage you have on your auto policy. If you have Uninsured/Underinsured Bodily Injury coverage this is the exact reason you pay for that coverage.

There are many laws in Washington State that will determine how much you are entitled to under that part of your coverage. Do not assume your case is 3x your medical bills as that is a common misconception. If you had minimal PIP of 10k each and that is exhausted you might have a permanent injury that will also increase the value of your case. Finally, if your health insurance company is paying for the remaining bills there are also subrogation issues that arise. Your health insurance company will most likely have an expectation of being reimbursed for medical bills they pay, but again there are many Washington State laws that determine how much, if anything, they are reimbursed. If your health insurance is an ERISA plan that also creates additional issues.

Given the amount of your medical bills to date and the more complicated issues regarding the Uninsured Motorist claim I would highly recommend getting a free consultation with a personal injury attorney.