If I was in a car accident and my hand was broken, what should I settle for?

I’ve been out of work for 2 months. I have to go to an orthopedic doctor about once a month (was going more often). I lost a promotion at work because if this. I’m a single parent of a 8 month old and am staying with my mom for help with the baby. I was wondering what is a reasonable amount I should ask for in the settlement? Should I speak with a personal injury attorney? In Charlotte, NC. 

Asked on August 26, 2011 North Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor, obtain your medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of wage loss.  Until you are released by the doctor at the completion of your medical treatment, it would be premature to settle the case because you would not have the total medical bills and total wage loss.  It sounds like you are nearing completion of your medical treatment, since your medical appointments are now only once a month.

Your personal injury claim filed with the at-fault driver's insurance company will consist of the medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss 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.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to your medical bills.  There isn't any mathematical formula for determining pain and suffering.  I would ask for quadruple the medical bills to compensate for pain and suffering, but not expecting to get that amount.  This would be a starting point in negotiations.  The insurance company will respond with a lower offer and you can continue negotiations to try to increase the amount offered by the insurance company.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, reject the settlement offers and sue the driver who caused the accident for negligence.  If the case is settled with the insurance company, no lawsuit is filed.  If the case is NOT settled with the insurance company, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence against the driver who caused the accident, prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter. 

It would be advisable to speak with a personal injury attorney.


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