How doI know whether or not I should accept a settlement offer or sue?

A driver crossed the center line; hit me head on; totaled my car. She was driving on a suspended license (4th offense) and it was her sister’s car. My injuries were minor; taken by ambulance to ER; released. Had 1 visit to ortho for knee and 3 month chiropractic treatment. My total medical bills are 14k and have gone unpaid, resulting in them being turned over for collection. My credit has taken a beaten. The 1st offer was for 12k and their last was for 16k. That doesn’t seem like much with my medical bills, lawyer fees, and the emotional distress I have gone through (it’s been over 2 years). Court or take offer? Do I need to speak with a personal injury attorney? In Dover, DE.

Asked on December 10, 2010 under Accident Law, Delaware

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You probably should speak with a PI attorney, since deciding what is fair and appropriate is not easy. You should be able to recover for your medical bills; for property damage (e.g. to your car); for lost wages; for other out of pocket; for future medical, if it's fairly certain (e.g. more physical therapy or chiropractic); and possibly for pain and suffering--at least to the extent not paid by either your auto or health insurance (i.e. you can't collect for costs or losses you've already been reimbursed for). Determining pain and suffering and what's potentially recoverable is not simple, though you can get a rough idea by doing a web search for settlements and jury verdicts for  similar injuries. On the other hand, you can only collect what the person can pay--if it's her insurer offering, they could cover up to her policy limits, but if she personally is offering, this may be all she has, which has to be weighed in. And note: you typically cannot recover legal fees.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.