If I was injured in an auto accident, how do I know what a proper settlement should be?

It happened last week. Side swiped and ran off the road by an SUV and as a result, both of my passenger doors are pinned in. After the accident, I got out, couldn’t really speak and was in shock. I spoke to the officer, struggled to explain the incident and about 20 minutes later I drove off. I did suffer a concussion and later that night I suffered migraines and had trouble speaking and sleeping. I experienced pain over the course of four days. Now, the insurance company wants a medical settlement and I plan on settling tomorrow afternoon or by Tuesday if necessary. How do I gauge what to accept? Because of this, the damages of my car added up to $3,711 and I missed out of work and may have medical fees as well.

Asked on October 18, 2015 under Personal Injury, Maryland

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The property damage claim on your car is separate from the personal injury claim.  Only the property damage claim can be settled at this time.
DON'T SETTLE THE PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM AT THIS TIME.  The personal injury claim is not settled until you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary, which means having reached a point in your medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated.  At that time, obtain your medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of wage loss.
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.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  If you settle the case now, you won't know the total medical bills, have the medical reports and wage loss information.  Once you settle the case, you can't go back to the insurance company and ask for more money.
When the time comes to settle the case as discussed above, if the case is settled, NO lawsuit is filed.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the at-fault party's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party.
If the case is NOT settled with the at-fault party's insurance carrier, 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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