How do I know if I an insurance settlement offer is fair?

I was a passenger in a auto that hit another car. My wrist was fractured and I had to wear a cast for 2 weeks. The insurance company offered me $1100 to settle. Should I take this amount?

Asked on August 23, 2014 under Personal Injury, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

To evaluate a settlement, first determine what is the most you could get if you went to trial and win. That is the sum of:

1) Out-of-pocket (not paid by insurance) medical bills;

2) Lost wages, if any;

3) If you have suffered weeks (or longer) of significant impairment or disability, some amount for "pain and suffering." This amount can vary tremendously, but as very rough rule of thumb, for an injury like yours, would typically be equal to 50% - 100% of your medical bills.

That's more-or-less the most you could get. If you settle, you always take less: that's because if you settle, you get the money months or years faster, with significantly less cost (e.g. no legal fees for discovery or trial; no expert witness [doctor] fees), and more certainly (e.g. you're sure to get it if you settle; whereas going to trial is never certain--even good cases lose).

So typically, if you settle, you accept between 1/4 and 1/2 of what you could get at most if you went to trial and won.

If $1,100 is more-or-less 1/4 or more of the sum of 1) to 3) above, then, as a rough, general rule, the settlement is reasonable.


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.