What should I expect to earn from my auto accident settlement? 11 Answers as of November 22, 2013

I was involved in an auto accident in Iowa on September 11, 2014. I wasn't boned on my way to work at about 55 mph. After being struck by the at fault driver my Ford Ranger went through a power pole then flipped end over end. I was taken by ambulance to the hospital where I ended up with fractured rib(s) torn spleen, severe concussion, and several fractures to my hand. I was hospitalized for 3 days. Since then I have been undergoing Physical Therapy. (Also had 3CT scans, A LOT of X-rays, and at least 8 dr.'s visits with various specialists. I have approximately 24 sessions of physical therapy scheduled as of now. I missed 7 weeks of work and have gone back to work on light duty for my first 30 days. My son was just born in May. I was unable to pick him up let alone hold him for 2 months due to my injuries. I am the sole provider for my family. I have settled with the Insurance Company on the vehicle and that is it. I hired an attorney to settle the rest of my settlement as I don't know the law. I was just curious as to how much I should be walking away with?

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David Hoines Law
David Hoines Law | David Hoines
I have no idea as every case is different. Follow your lawyers advice.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 11/22/2013
Pete Leehey Law Firm, P.C.
Pete Leehey Law Firm, P.C. | Pete Leehey
If you have already hired an attorney as you say, you should be directing this question to your lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Iowa
Replied: 11/22/2013
David F. Stoddard
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
There are too many unknown factors to hazard a guess, the most important of which is how much insurance does the other driver have. It also is probably too early for a n attorney to begin evaluating your case because it sounds as if you are still involved in medical treatment. A lot depends on what degree of permanent impairment you have after you are finished treating. Below is a discussion of factors to be considered. 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. Each case is different, and each case should be valued based on a prediction of what a jury would ultimately award at the end of a trial. Juries are very skeptical of awarding money for personal injuries e
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 11/22/2013
Candiano Law Office
Candiano Law Office | Charles J. Candiano
1. Why are you asking Illinois attorneys about Iowa law? 2. Why are you paying your attorney tens of thousands of dollars, only to ask questions in an online forum? 3. Probably, you will get the limits of the defendant's insurance policy, less 1/3 for your attorney. ASK your attorney.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 11/22/2013
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 such values. Consider consulting one.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 11/22/2013
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Sounds like you have a good case in terms of value. Ask your lawyer. you and I don't want to second guess him. that is his job.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 11/22/2013
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    Ask your lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/21/2013
    Kevin H Pate
    Kevin H Pate | Kevin H Pate
    All depends on the available assets and skill of counsel. If the at fault person has minimal coverage and no other assets, you'll get at most the policy limit. If you have other coverage's, then those will come into play as well. For your sake, I hope the other driver and you yourself have high coverage levels.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 11/20/2013
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    Even though you have given more details then most writers with this question provide, it still is not enough to make a reasonable calculation. Also, the insurance carrier will try to settle for no more that what a jury might award, so you need a local attorney. Find out from your attorney if he has made a demand, there has been an offer, and what he/she feels the case is worth. Also find out how much the insurance coverage is.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/20/2013
    Lewis B. Kaplan | Lewis B. Kaplan
    You hired a lawyer Correct So may I respectfully suggest that your lawyer knows far more about your claim than anybody reading your question that you ask your lawyer .
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 11/21/2013
    End, Hierseman & Crain, LLC | J. Michael End
    Your lawyer will be able to determine what a fair settlement should be. The information you provided is inadequate for someone to determine what fair compensation should be.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 11/21/2013
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