If I was rear-ended at a stop light and the driver’s insurance company is offering $300 to settle the claim on top of medical expenses and fixing my vehicle’s bumper, is this a fair offer?

My injuries were minor and I didn’t miss work but I want to know if I assume that the insurance company will start low? I’m not sure what the actual typical range is. I read in one article about the multiplier 1.5-4x special damages and the low end of that range would be about $3,000.

Asked on September 29, 2015 under Personal Injury, Oregon

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The settlement offer is ridiculous and should be rejected.
The property damage cost of repairs to your vehicle is separate and unrelated to your personal injury claim.  The property damage should be settled with the cost of repairs to your vehicle.
As for your separate personal injury claim, although your injuries may have appeared to be minor, additional injuries may surface much later after the accident.  You want to be certain that you have completed your medical treatment and have been released by the doctor before attempting to settle your personal injury claim because once you accept a settlement, you can't go back later to the insurance company and ask for more money due to additional medical problems from the accident.
Since you did not have any wage loss, your personal injury claim should include the medical bills and medical reports.
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.
The insurance company will attempt to pay as little as possible.  I would ask for quadruple the total medical bill to compensate for pain and suffering, but NOT EXPECTING  TO GET THAT.  That figure would be for negotiation only.  The insurance company will respond with a much lower offer and you can continue negotiating to try to get to what you regard as a reasonable amount. If you are having residual complaints pain or other problems from your injury that would be more compensation for pain and suffering than a case with no residual complaints.  If the case is settled with the at-fault party's insurance company, NO lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party.
If the case is NOT settled with the insurance company, your lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.
 


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