What is the reasonable compensation for pain and suffering resulting from a car accident? 18 Answers as of June 26, 2013

I was rear ended on the freeway last August. The accident resulted in significant neck/back/shoulder pain. An MRI determined some minor disc bulging which was causing nerve pain. I was on pain medication for about a month then began physical therapy. I still experience some minor pain and I'm concerned about long-term damage. However, I am ready to settle the claim due to medical bills. My total medical expenses to date are $5,000 and the adjustor suggested $1,000 for pain and suffering. This seems low to me.

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Lapin Law Offices
Lapin Law Offices | Jeffrey Lapin
I cannot answer the question as to what would be "reasonable compensation for pain and suffering resulting from a car accident" without a lot more information. People are entitled to more than just "pain and suffering" for injuries sustained in an car accident. Each case is different and its value is based on its particular facts. A person is entitled to be "made whole" or "compensated" for all injuries and damages they sustained. There are a number of factors that determine what a case is worth. Some of these include, but are not limited to: the nature and extent of the injury; whether an injury is temporary or permanent; your medical expenses; lost wages; and pain, suffering and inconvenience. If an injury is permanent, a person may be entitled to additional money for some or all of these items. While I understand you may be concerned about your medical bills, it is usually not advisable to settle a case until you know if your injuries are permanent and whether you will need future medical care. If your injury is permanent you would be entitled to more money in a settlement or a trial than if your injury is not permanent. You must get a doctor to indicate that your injury is permanent; an insurance company will not just take your word on this issue. The $1,000.00 offered by the insurance adjuster for your "pain and suffering" does seem low but, without more information, I cannot comment on whether you should take it or how to ask for in response. You may want to consult with a personal injury attorney to discuss your rights and options. Most personal injury attorneys offer a free initial consultation so it will not cost you anything to get more information about your rights and options. DISCLAIMER: This response should be considered general in nature, for information purposes only and should be used only as a starting point for addressing legal questions and issues. It is based on the limited information provided and, in some instances, makes certain assumptions. It is intended only for cases involving Nebraska and Nebraska law and is not applicable to any other state or jurisdiction. The author does not warrant the accuracy or validity of the information contained within this response, and hereby disclaims any liability to any person for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions. In addition, this response is not a substitute for professional legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor should it be considered a solicitation for additional legal advice or legal representation. If you ignore this warning and convey confidential information in a private message or comment, there is no duty to keep that information confidential or forego representation adverse to your interests. You should seek the advice of a licensed attorney in the appropriate jurisdiction to fully discuss your case. You should be aware that there are Statute of Limitations (the deadline imposed by law within which you may bring a lawsuit) as well as other requirements and/or limitations that limit the time you have to file any potential claims you may have. This response may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions under any and all applicable laws and ethical rules. The listing of any area of practice that the author practices in does not indicate any certification or expertise therein, nor does it represent that the quality of legal services to be performed would be greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. It is merely an indication by the author of areas of law in which he practices. The determination of the need for legal services and the choice of a lawyer are extremely important decisions and should not be based solely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise. Readers are urged to make their own independent investigation and evaluation of any lawyer being considered.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 11/20/2012
Richard E. Damon, PC | Richard E. Damon
Every case is different. It requires detailed knowledge of every aspect of your case to determine the value of pain and suffering. The main thing is the amount of pain and suffering, of course.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/5/2012
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
That seems low because it is low.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/26/2013
Law Offices of Tanya Gendelman, P.C.
Law Offices of Tanya Gendelman, P.C. | Tanya Gendelman, Esq.
Your medical bills should be paid by the no-fault carrier. You need to contact an experienced car accident lawyer.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 11/4/2012
Craig Kelley & Faultless
Craig Kelley & Faultless | David W. Craig
I would agree that $1,000 for pain and suffering seems low especially considering the fact that you have a bulged disc, had significant neck/shoulder/ and back pain initially and because you are still suffering from pain months after the wreck. Rather than being in a hurry to settle because of your medical bills you should consult with an experienced injury attorney who can help get your bills paid but who will make sure your future is protected plus get you a fair amount for your pain and suffering. Once you settle and sign the release you are never allowed to collect any additional monies from the insurance company. Therefore it is important that you be sure to know if you will need future treatment before you settle.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 11/4/2012
    Timiney Law Firm
    Timiney Law Firm | Leigh Anne Timiney
    I am sorry to hear about your accident. Adjustors always make low ball settlement offers to injured parties, especially those who do not have the assistance of an attorney. Keep in mind, the adjustor is not your friend. His or her only job is to resolve the claim and pay you as little as possible. Without knowing all of the facts of your accident and injury it is not possible to give you an estimate of what your injury clam is worth. The purpose of an injury claim is to put the injured party back in the position they were in prior to their injury. You are entitled to compensation for your medical bills, prescriptions, any lost wages and pain and suffering, to name a few. You are also entitled to compensation for any future medical bills or permanent injury you may have. If you are still at a point where you are treating your injury, or feel you may need additional treatment, it might be premature for you to settle your claim right now. I would suggest you at least obtain a consultation with a personal injury attorney in your area. Settling a personal injury claim on your own can be difficult and there are many laws and deadlines you must comply with. The attorney you consult with will be able to hear all of the facts of your case and give you fully informed answers to your questions. The insurance company has a professional on their side, so should you. Good luck to you.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 11/4/2012
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Talk to your attorney. If you do not have one, hire one. I agree the P&S offering appears low based on the med bills. In fact, it appears extremely low.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/4/2012
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    Why would a person who is smart enough to use the internet be naive enough to deal with an adjuster without an attorney You may be right that it is too low. How do you think you can get enough? It isn't a matter of what It's worth as much as how much can you get them to pay.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/4/2012
    Maginnis Law, PLLC
    Maginnis Law, PLLC | T. Shawn Howard
    Most attorneys are not going to guess at the value of your case without discussing it in detail with you. It sounds like a relatively serious accident and maybe one where you should have counsel. I would recommend contacting an attorney to discuss the particulars of your case.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 11/4/2012
    David Heller, Attorney at Law
    David Heller, Attorney at Law | David Heller
    What is reasonable to one person may not be reasonable to another. I would suggest you contact an attorney who has handled cases of this type, and can give you his or her opinion as to whether or not the adjuster has evaluated the case properly based upon such factors as liability, vehicle damages, reconstruction of the accident facts, prior injury history, medical records, diaries of the victim, witness accounts, photographic evidence, and many other such factors.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/4/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    $12,500 to $15,000 at best for your total settlement. Your injuries are deemed very minor.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/4/2012
    Matthew D Kaplan LLC
    Matthew D Kaplan LLC | Matthew D Kaplan
    Without reading your records that seems very low.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/4/2012
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    You should get a permanent impairment rating but I would suggest a reasonable settlement in the range of $18000 to 25000.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 11/4/2012
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. | Stuart M. Nachbar
    If your in NJ, and have the verbal, you case is worth 5,000, non-verbal 7500.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 11/4/2012
    Law Offices of A. J. Mitchell, LLC
    Law Offices of A. J. Mitchell, LLC | A. J. Mitchell
    It depends on the extent of your injuries, your circumstances and negotiation skills. You should seek further legal counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/4/2012
    Lewis B. Kaplan | Lewis B. Kaplan
    I always recommend to clients that to the extent possible they have their personal or group medical and their automobile policy medical payments insurance pay their medical bills. These insurers get repaid out of settlement. However the pressure is then off you to accept what looks like a low ball settlement in order to pay bills.This is exactly what the liability insurer for other driver wants.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 11/4/2012
    Robinette Legal Group, PLLC
    Robinette Legal Group, PLLC | Jeffery Robinette
    There is not a set amount. Keep in mind that the insurance company's goal is to pay you as little as possible. The following is a general guide. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate the settlement process and maximize your results. Call for a free consultation today. Accident victims can be compensated for economic damages: actual dollar losses such as medical bills, lost wages, and lost future income earning ability. Pain, suffering,humiliation, loss of enjoyment of life, and grief over the loss of a loved one are some of the non-economic losses for which a person may receive compensation. Punitive damages are also awarded in rare cases (like DUI) which serve to punish a defendant for extreme negligence and serve to deter future similar conduct by that defendant and others. The limits of your maximum compensation are usually determined by the insurance policy limits of the at-fault driver and if applicable, the amount of uninsured and under insured motorist coverage you carry on your automobile coverage. Best wishes for your best recovery.
    Answer Applies to: West Virginia
    Replied: 11/4/2012
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