is there anyway to determine how much settlement my wife is entitled to from the car accident? 30 Answers as of May 22, 2013

My wife was rear ended while in motion. She was slowing to a red light following another vehicle which was also slowing. The car behind her dropped his soda and was distracted resulting in rear ending my wife who then rear ended the guy in front of her. Fault has already been determined to be the gentlemen behind everybody. We got some papers in the mail for each involved in the accident. Our insurance adjuster estimated the damage at around $3800 to our car with 118k miles. She had our 4 month old as well as 5 year old in the car at the time of the accident. She has soft tissue sprains in her wrist, neck, shoulder, and back as well as hips. She has been to multiple doctors and was prescribed massage 3 times a week for 4 weeks as well as physical therapy. This just happened about a week ago so all of this is fresh. We have never been involved in an accident so we don't know what were entitled to. We want to get the most money we are legitimately entitled to.

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Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
First, you should not consider settling until your wife and children have recovered from the wreck. You should have been contacted by a representative of the insurance company of the person who caused the wreck. Make sure that they know of your claim, and ask them how much insurance coverage was in place. Don't talk to an investigator about the wreck or your wife's damages without a lawyer. Don't sign a release or settle without a lawyer. Get a copy of the police report. Let your auto insurance agent know about the wreck. Your wife's case value is dependent on various factors including her prior medical history, the extent of injuries, the kinds of treatment necessary for recovery, the costs of medical bills, physical therapy, any long term disabilities, lost wages from work, etc.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 5/22/2013
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Yeah, you can take the case to a jury and let them decide. The case is worth whatever you can prove are the damages. When you talk about settlement, they look at the odds for your winning, and discount the value of the injury by that amount. If you want more than the settlement value, then the insurance company might as well let the case go to the jury, because you could lose and get nothing.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/2/2013
It depends how much insurance is available and which insurance carrier and cost of reasonable treatment for her pain and suffering. I would estimate a total settlement in the area 10 to 15 k would be reasonable.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/2/2013
Evan M. Himfar
Evan M. Himfar | Evan M. Himfar
I'm sorry to learn about your family's unfortunate auto accident, including the injuries to "your wife's wrist, neck, shoulder, and back as well as hips." Typically, one of the first important questions my auto accident victims ask me is "how much is my claim worth?" First, you should understand that there are two different elements to your claim: (1) property damage, and (2) compensation for personal injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, if any, and pain and suffering. The property damage element is straightforward and is something I advise my clients typically to handle on their own, especially if their dealing with their own insurance company. I always advise them to take their care to a reputable mechanic, preferably the dealer, and obtain a comprehensive estimate to present to the insurance company. If the estimate is similar to the one provided by the insurance adjuster, you know you are receiving fair value. Hiring an attorney for this simple negotiation is not prudent - If an attorney can't add value to your bottom line, you don't need one. The second element of your claim, the claim for personal injuries, is more complicated. Although clients can represent their own interests, they typically come out much better off when they retain an experienced personal injury attorney. This is because unlike your straightforward claim for property damage, your personal injury claim is usually presented to a third party (the at fault driver's) insurance company. Their job is to make money by paying you the least amount possible, regardless of the value of your claim. They are also very experienced and good at what they do so it's important to have quality representation on your side. I've handled many auto accidents presenting similar circumstances with the same property and medical damages. However, despite their similarities, many times the cases produced very different results. This is because valuation is extremely fact sensitive, and depends on the specific facts of each case. This requires thorough document review, including of the police report, vehicle damage estimates, and medical records for your wife and children. For example, your wife's claim for personal injuries will likely receive a higher insurance valuation if the police report describes vehicle damage as "moderate" or "major" (versus "Minor"). Also, an attorney should meet and speak with you and your wife to insure all her (and your children's) injuries are addressed, and she receives the proper medical care. An experienced attorney can provide a reasonably accurate evaluation only after reviewing all the specific facts of your case. You are smart to post your question early in the process as any mistake can result in a lower recovery.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/2/2013
Lewis B. Kaplan | Lewis B. Kaplan
The answer to your question is HIRE A LAWYER and DO NOT TRY TO REPRESENT YOURSELF !
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 5/2/2013
    Kram & Wooster, P.S. | Richard H. Wooster
    You should immediately hire an attorney to get you full value on your vehicle and compensation for your wife's injuries.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    Law Office of Christian Menard
    Law Office of Christian Menard | Christian Menard
    It its almost impossible to say how much at this time without reviewing all your medical records and the childrens' records (as they have a right to collect for their injuries as well) to determine the full nature and extent of your injuries. Another factor would be where your lawsuit would be filed, (if you have to file one). Juries would be comprised from members of that area. Some juries, in certain areas are stingy while others are generous. This is important when it comes to settling a case because a settlement figure will never be more than what a jury would award off your case were to go to trial. Get an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    Law Offices of Stanley S. Lopata
    Law Offices of Stanley S. Lopata | Stan Lopata
    At this very early stage of your wife's claim no reputable attorney can tell you? how much she is entitled to. Any settlement that your wife is entitled to is to be determined by the nature and extent of her injuries. Her injuries are best determined by her doctors. She should see a doctor that treats accident victims. Your wife is entitled to payment for all her medical expenses, her loss of income and for her "pain and suffering'. She ought to see a personal injury lawyer who can help her evaluate her damages.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    Matthew D Kaplan LLC
    Matthew D Kaplan LLC | Matthew D Kaplan
    At good attorney will not attempt to evaluate the amount of money a case is worth until the client is medically stationary. Medically stationary means that the person is either back to pre-crash status of as good as they are going to get. My preference is to be patient and make sure that my clients are properly able to understand where they are physically. In Oregon, a crash victim has a 2 year period to file a lawsuit. I am not saying that you wait 2 years, but that you have plenty of time to make that evaluation and not let an insurance adjuster do the evaluating. It is in the insurance companies best interest to get you to settle as soon as possible. This way they have to pay less for treatment and get rid of the risk that something is actually worse than you realized. Yours family should retain an injury attorney as soon as possible.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Retain a personal injury attorney. Based upon the prescribe injuries, the settlement will be of minimum worth.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    Hone Law Firm
    Hone Law Firm | John S. Hone
    IN Michigan, you are entitled to all medical care and treatment paid for. So make sure your wife gets thoroughly checked out. Minor aches and pains may mean no injury, or could be the sign of an injury that will progress over time. Her wages are to be paid, as well. The facts may indicate other benefits as well. The complaints she is indicating, "soft tissue" (how do you know that?), etc... suggest she does not have a claim against the negligent driver. In Michigan, you must have a serious impairment of bodily function to recover. At this point in time you do not know what her injury is, so get treated, get a diagnosis, and make sure your history that you give at the Clinic is accurate.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    If you have genuine injuries you are not ready to settle a week after the wreck. If, big if, you have real injuries you must get proper medical care, make sure you are totally well, then consider settling. Get you a good PI lawyer to advise you. if you came to me a week after an accident I would offer you some trifle on the theory that your injury is a trifle.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    End, Hierseman & Crain, LLC | J. Michael End
    There are many things that go into determining the amount of money that constitutes fair compensation. Those things include the severity of the injuries, the amount of the medical bills, whether there is any loss of wages, whether someone else has to do things around the house, whether the injuries might be permanent, etc. As a generality, it is better to continue to see the doctor until the injuries are completely healed. The time in which a suit must be filed, if the case cannot be settled, is three years from the date of the accident. If the children were also injured, they have until age 20 to have a case filed for them. It is probably a good idea to retain a lawyer to help you with the claim.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    Lydy & Moan | C. Gary Wilson
    This is complex and treatment has not been completed. You should not settle until treatment is complete and all bills are in and the prognosis for future problems may b determined. You have up to two years to file suit. You should probably have counsel to obtain the best result. You should settle on the car damage as soon as possible.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    Kevin H Pate
    Kevin H Pate | Kevin H Pate
    You will generally fare better if you engage counsel to deal with the insurance company for you than if you attempt to outwork or outlast a seasoned insurance adjuster on your own. Counsel can assist you in assuring you are properly compensated for the damage to your vehicle and any contents like the child car seats, and to maximize your recovery for the bodily injury to your spouse and, if applicable, to the children. It is not uncommon for someone to be so grateful it wasn't a worse accident that they overlook a compensable injury.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    You need to speak with an attorney before you sign any documents.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    Napier, Coury & Baillie, P.C.
    Napier, Coury & Baillie, P.C. | Lindsay Leavitt
    It is not possible to tell at this point how much your wife's personal injury claim is worth. The settlement amount will primarily be driven by the amount of medical bills your wife incurs. A word of caution, do not settle the personal injury claim until your wife has finished all her treatments with her medical providers. Negotiating with an insurance company by yourself can be pretty one-sided. I recommend hiring an experienced personal injury attorney to help you with your claim.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
    With the property damage, yes, but with the personal injury, no, not until she heals up enough to not need regular treatment and the doctor can determine if she has anything permanent wrong. I usually recommend the client go ahead and settle the property damage claim. Just be sure that any release she may sign is only for property damage and leaves the injury claim open. In Alabama, you are entitled to the cost of repair, plus diminishment in value or the value of the vehicle, whichever is less. If it looks like she may have something permanent you may want to go ahead and talk with an experienced accident lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    Joel H. Schwartz, P.C.
    Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. | Steven A. Schwartz
    One cannot determine the value of her potential claim at this point. As you said, it just happened a week ago, and you don't know how long she will be hurt. For example, will she treat for 3 weeks or 6 months? Will she have any permanent injury as a result? What are her medical bill costs? Does she have lost wages? These are all questions that must be answered to properly ascertain the true value of her pain and suffering claim. I suggest you contact an experienced attorney for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    David P. Slater, esq.
    David P. Slater, esq. | David P. Slater
    Ask your attorney. If you do not have one, you should. More information is needed to answer properly.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    Lawrence Kahn Law Group, P.S.
    Lawrence Kahn Law Group, P.S. | Lawrence Kahn
    Contact a lawyer immediately. There may be limited insurance on the at fault driver and, depending whether the people in the car your wife was pushed into we're hurt, a competition for the at fault driver's insurance.

    As far as value, it will depend on how well (or not) your wife recovers, the amount of treatment and the nature of any permanent injury.

    There is a three year Statute of Limitations from the date of the collision in Washington State, the time in which she must file a lawsuit or it will be forever barred, but given these circumstances it would be advisable you contact a lawyer promptly.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    Johnson & Johnson Law Firm, PLLC | Richard Johnson
    First, the insurer for the following car should promptly pay to fix your car and provide you a rental during repairs. The property damage claim can and should be promptly resolved.

    Second, the insurance on your car should include Personal Injury Protection (PIP) that is a a no fault coverage you paid a premium for and you should not hesitate to use to pay the medical bills, earnings loss (there is a two week period from the DOI where PIP won't pay earnings loss) and home care. Your PIP insurer will be reimbursed later by the at fault insurer.

    Third, there is no rush at all to try to settle the bodily injury liability claim. The limitation of action statute for adults in WA. is three years from the DOI. You can't evaluate the injury claim until the person has stabilized and finished treatment.

    Even if the injured person is feeling well after say three months you should always wait at least six months minimum to see how things go. There may well be flare ups.

    Fourth, consult an experienced injury lawyer as even after you pay the lawyer you are still likely to net more in your pocket than if you try to represent yourself because you have no leverage on your own.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    Fairlie & Lippy, P.C.
    Fairlie & Lippy, P.C. | Christopher A. Bradley, Esq.
    You should speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer. The property damage is typically adjusted through the insurance companies directly. If you have to pay a deductible your insurance company should be able to recover that for you from the insurance company of the at-fault driver.

    As for compensation for the injuries, there is no set formula for what the claim is worth. Obviously you should recover any out of pocket expenses you have (co-pays, payments for medication or devices, etc). The pain and suffering will ultimately be worth the amount the insurance company is willing to pay at the point that amount matches what you are willing to accept.

    That being said, although injury lawyers do take a percentage of the recovery as our fee, it has been my experience that the value of the case goes way up once a lawyer is involved in negotiating with the insurance company. Good luck and I hope your wife and children have a full recovery.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    Frank Law Group, P.C.
    Frank Law Group, P.C. | Brett E. Rosenthal
    Really can't evaluate value until your wife's injuries have been diagnosed, treated and resolved. You really want her to attain pre-accident status. Once she has gotten to that status, than use her medical specials and demand for settlement purposes 2-3 times the meds and see what they offer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    Unless her doctor says that she has sustained a permanent injury from the accident (which he will not be able to do for quite a few months) then she's not entitled to anything for non-economic damages.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    The Sokol Law Firm | Roni Sokol
    Based on these facts, your wife and 2 children could be entitled to insurance benefits from the man who hit her.

    Depending upon his limits and your policy, you could also be entitled to uninsured/under-insured motorist benefits. She would be entitled to the repair of her car as well as all her medical bills. She could also be entitled to lost wages, pain and suffering and permanency (among other things).

    The insurance adjuster will try to settle for as little as possible before your wife is done treating. You should never settle before treatment is concluded. I recommend retaining a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    Jules D'Alessandro | Jules D'Alessandro
    You need to hire a personal injury lawyer. The insurance company has no interest whatsoever in fairly compensating your wife.

    There are no laws that require the insurance company to tell you that you are even entitle to compensation, much less how much.

    The amount of the settlement is function of time and treatment. How long and what type of treatment is necessary for to get back to how she was prior to the accident (maximum medical improvement). This is assuming that there are no permanent injuries, which involves and entirely different calculation.

    Ultimately, people who hire attorneys receive nearly 3x more in compensation that those who try to handle the case themselves. I other words the attorney will get you far more that you will have to pay in fees. Please feel free to contact me right away.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    Dano Gilbert Law Firm
    Dano Gilbert Law Firm | Elizabeth Hanley
    Your wife, as well as the other passengers in the car, may have a claim against the driver of the car who rear-ended your wife.

    In addition, depending upon what your insurance you and your wife carried on your vehicle, your auto policy may pay for medical treatment for your wife and children.

    You should contact a lawyer right away to determine what your rights are with respect to the insurance policies at issue and against the driver of the car who hit your wife's car.

    There are many factors in determining the value of the case and a settlement is never guaranteed. Additionally, there are other considerations in the value of the case, such as the limits of the insurance policies at issue and, potentially, whether the driver of the car who hit your wife's car has assets which could be used to pay for damages over the amount of the insurance coverage available to pay for your wife and children's potential claims.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates | Barry Rabovsky
    We would be happy to provide you with a free consultation if you call my office at either of the numbers listed below. If my office accepts your case, there is no fee charged unless we are able to obtain a settlement for you.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/2/2013
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