What is a reasonable settlement offer for my daughter who was a passenger in her sisters car when it crashed? 17 Answers as of September 28, 2012

Pip was 10,000 we used 7000 over that amount. We were offered 5000.00, then 12,500 to settle. My 16 yr. old daughter was the passenger in our own personal car when her sister was driving. The car hit black ice and went over a 20-foot embankment. They were trapped in the car with no cell reception for 20- 30 min before someone spotted them. Car hit a tree, windshield cracked, doors opened and bent forward, passenger window broken and tree came trough hitting headrest. Car was totaled. No broken bones or stitches. Small pieces of glass in chest, lots of scratches and bruises. Minimal scarring on chest/neck but noticeable. Some slight vision changes/glasses have helped. Months of headaches, sleeplessness, dreams and flashbacks. Missed a week of school/Grades dropped drastically and sleeping all the time and not able to function well at all.. I worry about the future and the unknown injuries that sometimes occur later in life and wonder what a fair settlement would be. The offer was to cover the pip and pay insurance the overage leaving 12,500 to my daughter. This included scar revision which she is afraid to do at this time, however, the cost down the road a few years could increase.

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David F. Stoddard
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
You mention "the offer was to cover the pip an pay insurance the coverage". I'm not sure I understand this. If you are saying they are offering policy limits, then it may not matter what a fair settlement would normally be, the insurance policy limits may very well be all you can get. The sister is liable for whatever damages are established because she is the at fault driver. The parents are also probably liable under what is known as "the family purpose doctrine". Once you exhaust the insurance coverage, your daughter will have to pursue her claim against you if she wants to recover anything further. If I misunderstood you, then I would suggest $12,500.00 may be inadequate for pain and suffering, etc. If her eyesight has been adversely affected, that in of itself could justify more than $12,500.00. If she has permanent Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, more still. It may actually be premature to settle the case. You may need to wait until she is more stable, unless you already have an offer for the policy limits. If you have more than one vehicle, make sure that you either stack your liability coverage, or determine that it cannot be stacked.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 9/28/2012
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
It appears to me you are undervaluing the case. It is normal for the insurance company to undervalue a case and try to settle early. I most strongly recommend you seek counsel before you settle or sign anything. The law on settlements is very clear, once done it is over. There is no second guess.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/28/2012
Atterbury, Kammer & Haag | Eric J. Haag
Unfortunately no one can tell you what the reasonable settlement value is without thoroughly reviewing the medical records, bills, and talking to you and your daughter.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 9/28/2012
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
First question I assume is was sister at fault? Black ice is dangerous because it is black ice. But ice may be considered an act of God (it is of course) and there may be no fault found with the driver. If so you are stuck with medical payments coverage. To get coverage for all the things you talk about you must clearly establish negligence of the driver I lost a case like this many years ago when a jury in Concord found the ice was an act of God and there was no fault on the part of the driver. Hurt my feelings but I understand how it came about.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 9/28/2012
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Who are you suing? If this is a no fault case, do not settle if there will be future medicals.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/28/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    No hard and fast rule it's very case/fact specific, and depends on extent of damages.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 9/28/2012
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC | Robert Morrison Lucky
    I may be wrong, but based on your question it appears that you are not in Louisiana or Mississippi as neither have Pip coverage. As such, I am unable to answer your question as I am only licensed in those two states.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 9/28/2012
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    Depending on liability the case appears worth far more than the offer. You will need an attorney to get the insurance company to pay the proper and fair value.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 9/28/2012
    Downriver Injury and Auto Law | Michael Heilmann
    You need to know policy limits. Demand policy limits.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/28/2012
    Wild Sky Law Group, PLLC
    Wild Sky Law Group, PLLC | Roxanne Eberle
    I'd need some additional facts to be sure, but at first blush it seems as if the insurance company's offer is a bit low. You may consider having an attorney review your daughter's medical records and give you their advice on a reasonable valuation of her claim. Also, if your daughter is a minor, any settlement will need to be approved by the Court.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/27/2012
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    How much is the liability insurance? She needs to have "serious injury" to prevail in a case. Has a doctor said the vision loss is due to the accident? If YES that could be worth a lot. Has she seen a neurologist that knows about traumatic brain injury? Some of the symptoms are present. Have you discussed the case with a lawyer? Depending on the available coverage you may be making a mistake trying to settle this yourself. What do you mean pip is part of the settlement? Her medicals should be paid through no-fault insurance and not effect the bodily injury settlement at all.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/27/2012
    Matthew D Kaplan LLC
    Matthew D Kaplan LLC | Matthew D Kaplan
    I cannot tell you the value without looking at all the records and seeing the scars, etc. I can tell you that 12500 seems low. Description: Description: C:\Documents and Settings\matt\Application Data\Microsoft\Signatures\69608 M Kaplan signature-f-matt\Image_001.png KAPLAN LAW, LLC Matthew D. Kaplan Attorney at Law phone 503-226-3844 | fax 503-943-6670 koin center, suite 1111, 222 sw columbia street, portland, or 97201 www.mdkaplanlaw.com | www.oregoninjurylawyerblog.com Description: Description: C:\Documents and Settings\matt\Application Data\Microsoft\Signatures\69608 M Kaplan signature-f-matt\Image_002.png helping injury victims & their families achieve justice From: Question From LawQA [mailto:questions@lawqa.com] Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2012 3:20 PM To: matthew@mdkaplanlaw.com Subject: Question From LawQA ID:82921 ANSWER A QUESTION THAT WILL BE DISPLAYED ON OREGON AUTO ACCIDENT WEBSITES ON THE LAWQA NETWORK. LAW AREA: AUTO ACCIDENT STATE: OREGON ID:82921 Question: What is a reasonable settlement offer for my daughter who was a passenger in her sisters car when it crashed? Question Detail: Pip was 10,000 we used 7000 over that amount. We were offered 5000.00, then 12,500 to settle. My 16 yr. old daughter was the passenger in our own personal car when her sister was driving. The car hit black ice and went over a 20-foot embankment. They were trapped in the car with no cell reception for 20- 30 min before someone spotted them. Car hit a tree, windshield cracked, doors opened and bent forward, passenger window broken and tree came trough hitting headrest. Car was totaled. No broken bones or stitches. Small pieces of glass in chest, lots of scratches and bruises. Minimal scarring on chest/neck but noticeable. Some slight vision changes/glasses have helped. Months of headaches, sleeplessness, dreams and flashbacks. Missed a week of school/Grades dropped drastically and sleeping all the time and not able to function well at all.. I worry about the future and the unknown injuries that sometimes occur later in life and wonder what a fair settlement would be. The offer was to cover the pip and pay insurance the overage leaving 12,500 to my daughter. This included scar revision which she is afraid to do at this time, however, the cost down the road a few years could increase.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 9/27/2012
    Arkady Itkin
    Arkady Itkin | Arkady Itkin
    There is no easy way to answer this question as it depends on a number of other factors that you don't mention and that might take some work o determine.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/27/2012
    Hirsch, Closson, McMillan & Schroeder, APLC
    Hirsch, Closson, McMillan & Schroeder, APLC | Paul Schroeder
    It looks like you have $17,000 in medical expenses (of which insurance has already paid $10,000) plus a potential future surgery and pain and suffering. At trial, a case like this could bring in $50,000-$70,000. However, you'd have to subtract from that 40-50% for attorney's fees and costs and $10,000 as a credit against the judgment for what the insurer already paid. You also have to factor in the time (1-2 years) it could take to get that money, and the odd situation of your daughter suing her family. A jury would likely see that as a money grab and react negatively to it. That being said, $12,500 still sounds a little low to me. It would be worthwhile for you to spend an hour (and perhaps a few hundred dollars) with a lawyer to flesh out the facts before settling.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/27/2012
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates | Barry Rabovsky
    Please consult an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/27/2012
    Koning & Jilek, P.C.
    Koning & Jilek, P.C. | Jonathan Neal Jilek
    You should seek legal counsel and not settle without a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/27/2012
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