What is the right amount of settlement if you got hit by a car that caused severe injuries? 16 Answers as of October 21, 2013

I was jogging on the sidewalk in April 2012 and got hit by a car pulling out of a strip mall. I did not call the police or get an ambulance, but I did go to the emergency room as soon as I made it home. I had 2 different cortisone shots and lots of physical therapy, massages, chiropractor visits, and had to have right hip surgery for a separated labrum. The doctors are done with my recovery and it is up to me to continue to do what they told me needs to be done. I am still in constant pain and am having to find a job that is not physically demanding like my current job. The insurance company has paid all of the medical bills, around 45,000. They have offered me 45,000 settlement, I don't feel that is a fair offer.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Utah Injury Lawyer
Utah Injury Lawyer | Will Rodgers
That settlement amount may not be fair to you, depending on what all of your injuries are, and the long-term impact of your injuries over your lifetime.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 10/21/2013
Craig Friedman
Craig Friedman | Craig Friedman
Your total damages are calculated by adding special damages and general damages. Special damages are basically anything you can easily put a number on, including, medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, etc. General damages make up the rest and are much harder to calculate because juries vary on how much they award for pain and suffering, anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life, etc. If the liability insurer has accepted liability, which it sounds like they have, your case could be worth substantially more than what they have offered, especially if you have lost a job and suffer from a permanent decrease in earning capacity. However, they will only pay up to the policy limits. If you have under insured motorist coverage you may be able to recover under your own policy as well, or pursue an excess judgment against the driver. In any event, most all personal injury attorneys will provide a free consultation so you should contact an attorney and discuss the case prior to settlement to ensure you don't settle for less than what you are entitled.
Answer Applies to: Arkansas
Replied: 10/21/2013
Robinette Legal Group, PLLC
Robinette Legal Group, PLLC | Jeffery Robinette
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, one are some of the non-economic losses for which a person may receive compensation. Punitive damages are also awarded in rare cases which serve to punish a defendant for extreme negligence and serve to deter future similar conduct by that defendant and others. Your statute of limitations (the deadline for filing a lawsuit) is going to be up in April 2014, so you really need to contact an experienced, knowledgeable personal injury attorney today for a free consultation.
Answer Applies to: West Virginia
Replied: 10/18/2013
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
It is not feasible to do a long-distance evaluation. You should ask for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/17/2013
Law Offices of John W. Merting, P.A.
Law Offices of John W. Merting, P.A. | John W. Merting
In Florida you can find out the policy limits available by writing the company and citing them Florida Statutes 627.4137. The company has 30 days to provide you with an affidavit as to the policy limits-don't just take the adjuster's word for it. Make demand for the full policy limits with a 20 day deadline in writing. If they fail to pay the limits a competent attorney should be able to get a jury verdict for more than the policy limits and the company could be held liable for the excess beyond the policy limits. If the limits are very high they will not pay them ,but you should get more than they have offered.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 10/17/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    You should demand double their offer.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/17/2013
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
    Case values vary widely from case to case and place to place. Experienced personal injury lawyers are familiar with those values. Seriously consider consulting one.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/17/2013
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered. Take the money and run. If you did not have surgery or anything like that, you will not be able to persuade a jury that you got hurt very badly. Of course, you can gamble. People do NOT win trials; they lose trials. In your case, will you lose the trial or will the defense lose the trial?
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/17/2013
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    They have paid 45 in bills and they have offered another 45 do you realize you have a duty to stay out of the way of auto traffic and that if the jury thinks you might be partly at fault you may get nothing you have to prove negligence of the driver (can you do that?) and you have to prove you were not careless in any way (were you looking where you were going?) if you were looking why did the accident happen?
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 10/17/2013
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    It may depend on how much insurance coverage there is. It does sound as if your damages exceed their offer, but I do not know how much insurance coverage is available. Evaluating personal injury damage claims is a complex task. Ultimately, a settlement is made based on what the insurance company believes a jury will award. Since you are apparently trying to settle this without an attorney, they are probably discounting what a jury might award because there is not much threat of your taking the case to trial. Below are some things to consider in evaluating a personal injury claim. I am often asked by individuals who have been injured in an accident to give an opinion as to what would be a fair settlement in their case. Often, they give me a brief description of their injury, such as, I suffered two broken ribs, or I am now suffering back pain?, or I hurt my leg and had to have surgery? and give no further details. I cannot possibly give an opinion as to the value of their case without more information. I find myself repeating over and over some of the information set out below. The information below is an attempt to shed some light on what an accident injury victim should consider in determining a fair settlement. However, presenting damages to an insurance adjuster, and ultimately to a jury, is an advanced and complicated task. It not adequate to simply say I'm hurt?, describe your injury, and then hold out your hand and ask for money. I have practiced law since 1985, and still attend seminars and read books on the subject of presenting personal injury damage claims to juries. The information below will not be enough to make you a personal injury attorney, but hopefully will enlighten you regarding some factors that should be considered on evaluating your claim. Maximum Medical Improvment First, one needs to understand the concept of Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). MMI is the point at which the condition of an injured person is stabilized. No further recovery or improvement is expected even with additional medical intervention. Basically, a condition is at maximum medical improvement if it is not believed that the condition will change or progress. In laymen?s terms, this is often referred to a ?being released by the doctor?. This term is most often used in the context of a worker?s compensation claim. An inquired employee usually receives temporary benefits until reaching maximum medical improvement. However, it also has significance in general personal injury cases. Insurers for at fault drivers, manufacturers of unsafe products, owners and operators of unsafe premises, and doctors guilty of malpractice do not normally make incremental payments as medical bills and lost wages are incurred. Rather, these insurers normally settle claims with one payments, which represents the final settlement. For this reason, the accident victim must have evidence of all past and future damages to present to the adjuster. This means it is premature to begin evaluating your claim before you reach MMI because you do not yet know how much your medical bills will be, nor do you know how severe the injury will ultimately be - which is the main factor in damages for pain and suffering ? until after you have reached MMI. After you have reached MMI, four basic factors that should be considered in evaluating your case are 1) special damages, also known as tangible damages, 2) severity of the injury, 3) duration of the injury, and 4) insurance coverage. Special Damages Special damages which are also sometimes called tangible damages include the cost of medical treatment (medical bills) and lost wages. Special damages are somewhat objective and easily ascertainable. You simply add up your medical bills and determine what wages you would have earned had you not been out of work due to your injury. The insurance adjuster or opposing attorney may quibble over some of your numbers, claiming that you have been overcharged by your doctor, or that some medical procedures that you are including in damages were not caused by the accident. The adjuster or opposing attorney may argue that you missed more work than was required based on your injury. Nonetheless, both sides can at least agree that you were actually billed x number of dollars by medical provides, and that you would have earned x dollars had you been at work. A personal injury settlement demand should begin with the amount of special damages, that is, medical bills and lost wages. Intangible Damages Intangible damages are often the most important component of your damages case. Intangible damages include such things as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of quality of life. Two important factors influence a fair settlement: the severity of your injury, and the duration of your injury. Severity of the Injury By severity of the injury, I am talking about the degree of pain and discomfort you suffer, along with how the injury affects your life and ability to engage in activities. On one end, you have relatively minor injuries that result in moderate pain and do not significantly interfere with your ability to do things. On the other end, you have injuries that result in severe pain and significantly interfere with your ability to engage in activities. An injury that is moderate in pain and its affect on your life would indicate a settlement on the low end of the range of fair settlements. An injury that results in a great deal of pain and significantly interferes with your ability to do things would indicate a settlement at the high end of the range of settlements. The low end might be in the thousands of dollars whereas the high end might be in the tens of thousands of dollars (at this point, I am only talking about severity of the injury, not the duration). Duration of the Injury ? Temporary vs. Permanent Injuries The next factor you must consider is the duration of your injury. Some injuries are temporary, others are permanent. Many injuries completely heal and resolve within months or a year. Some injuries are permanent and you still experience pain and some interference with your daily activities after you have reached MMI and have been released by a doctor. Temporary injuries might indicate a settlement on the low end of the range of settlements, whereas permanent injuries would indicate a fair settlement on the high end. An temporary injury that is severe in pain and interference with daily activities might indicate a settlement in the middle between the low and high range of settlements. An permanent injury that is moderate in pain and interference with daily activities might also indicate a settlement in the medium range. However, an injury that is severe in pain and its effect on daily activities and is also permanent would indicate a settlement in the high range. I have been mentioning low range? and ?high range? settlements. When it comes to intangible damages, what is fair is a grey area, and there is a great deal room to argue up or down. When I speak of ranges , an attorney or insurance adjuster might say a particular injury has a settlement value of between $25,000 and $75,000 based on the factors I have discussed above. Temporary injuries that are moderate might indicate a settlement for intangible damages in the thousands of dollars, that is, less than $10,000.00. Temporary Injuries that are severe, or permanent injuries that are not severe, may indicate a settlement in the medium range, which could be in the tens of thousands of dollars. Injuries that are both severe and permanent could indicate a fair settlement in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and even exceeding a million dollars. Million-dollar settlements are somewhat rare. Nonetheless, multimillion-dollar settlements are not unheard of.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 10/17/2013
    David P. Slater, esq.
    David P. Slater, esq. | David P. Slater
    Ask your lawyer. If you have none, get one.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/17/2013
    Gregory M Janks, PC
    Gregory M Janks, PC | Gregory M Janks
    Insurers usually use a "factor" of 3 or 4 or 5 and multiply the "specials" (ie: known verifiable economic losses, such as medical bills, wage loss, etc.). So under a "factor" settlement you would get $45k x 3 or 4 or 5. Their current offer is a factor of 1. You should be able to do better, but do recall that an insurer writes a policy that has a specific liability "limit" and they never (except in bad faith states, of which Michigan is not one) have to pay more than their insureds "limit". So if there was a $50k limit in your case, the $45k offer would not be unreasonable as they are only asking for a 5% discount to get you the money now without a fight.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/17/2013
    Kevin H Pate
    Kevin H Pate | Kevin H Pate
    Based on what? If you can't answer in detail, even if only to yourself, what is wrong with the dollar amount, then you need to acknowledge you lack the information and experience to maximize your recovery amount. Most folks realize this way earlier and engage counsel way earlier. That said, it is not too late to gather your records (hopefully you have faithfully kept copies of everything) and sit down with qualified experienced counsel. Yes, counsel will be compensated, but it is so incredibly rare for someone to have a better all said and done recovery without counsel than they have with counsel that is is poor planning to not rely on an experienced attorney to aid you. All you really accomplish by not using counsel is leaving dollars that ought to be yours in the account of the insurance company. They are hoping that is what you will do. But why would you be more inclined to help them than permitting counsel to help you? Best wishes for a full recovery, both health and financial.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 10/17/2013
    Pete Leehey Law Firm, P.C.
    Pete Leehey Law Firm, P.C. | Pete Leehey
    Every case is different, and although you have provided quite a bit of information, it is still short of what is necessary to truly value your case. That being said, based upon what you have provided, I would say that $45,000 on top of the medical bills is insufficient. My guess is that you have significant permanent physical impairment, substantial permanent restrictions on your activity level, and a substantial loss of future earning capacity. If I'm right about these things, $45,000 is probably quite a ways from fair.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 10/17/2013
    Belushin Law Firm, P.C.
    Belushin Law Firm, P.C. | Vel Belushin
    You should speak with your attorney. That kind if figure can't be estimated online. You should not try to negotiate with insurance companies on your own, you are at great disadvantage.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/17/2013
    Chen Kasher, Esq.
    Chen Kasher, Esq. | Chen Kasher
    No, it's not fair. They are lowballing you because you are not represented by counsel. It sounds like the insurer of the at-fault driver should pay, because you did nothing wrong at the time of the incident. As a victim, you are entitled to a number of things beyond your medical expenses, including future medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering (sounds like you went through quite an ordeal), disability (your hip issues), and disfigurement. You need to hire a personal injury attorney ASAP, who will work on contingency and greatly increase your settlement offer, even if it requires taking them to court.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 10/17/2013
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney