When Mike Zouhri got hit at a red light by a drunk driver who fled the scene, it was immediately certain that his life would never be the same.
The negative impact of the event included injuries he may never fully recover from alongside a long and arduous legal battle.
One positive impact, however, was that Zouhri found the inspiration to launch PainWorth, an Edmonton-based startup he cofounded with Chris Trudel in 2019 to simplify the personal injury claims process.
Zouhri learned the hard way that the legal system is broken, expensive, and slow.
“I found out that a claim that goes all the way to trial can take an average of five years to settle,” he said last year. “And, even if it settles before a trial, it can still take years, and there are often these 30% to 40% legal bills that both sides each need to pay, which—of course—drives up the price of insurance.”
Zouhri determined there must be a better way. That’s when he teamed up wth Trudel, the startup’s “technical wizard,” to leverage higher technology.
Using data science and an easy-to-use app, PainWorth aims to bring clarity, accessibility, and affordability to a flawed system.
Following a $2 million seed round led by New York-based 2048 Ventures in 2022, PainWorth’s AI system and partnerships aim to help people settle injury claims faster, more accurately, and with less hassle.
The free app helps injured people pursue compensation for various types of damages, including pain and suffering, lost wages, reduced ability to perform household chores, and more.
It is designed to be used by those who are not sure where to start, getting help from a lawyer, handling things on their own, dealing with a mediator or arbitrator, already in negotiations with an insurer, or getting ready for court.
“We are drawn to companies that leverage data and technology to drive transparency and automation in an otherwise opaque industry,” Neha Khera, an investor partner at 2048 Ventures, stated in 2022. “And this is exactly what PainWorth is doing with personal injury law. We believe PainWorth has the ability to put more money in a claimant’s pocket while costing the insurance system less money, all in a fraction of the time.”
The insurtech startup competed in last year’s Calgary Fintech Award hosted by Digital Commerce Bank and Platform Calgary, which ultimately went to Fillip Fleet and Woveo.
Moving forward, Zouhri anticipates “saving consumers and insurers billions of dollars all over Canada and the United States—while also providing faster settlements to personal injury victims and reducing the amount of unnecessary litigation that is clogging up our court system.”