What is the proper settlementamount for injuries in a car accident?

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What is the proper settlementamount for injuries in a car accident?

Accident that was not my fault. I suffered mild injuries that lasted about 3 days but my husband is still suffering. He has severe back pain and is on dialysis and his pain causes him to miss treatment. The car was not badly damaged; we were sitting at a red light when we were hit. This happened back on 05/07/10. I was told that all they could pay me for mine was $1,050.We never had a accident so we don’t know what to do. Should we speak with a personal injury attorney? In Houston County, AL.

Asked on August 18, 2010 under Accident Law, Alabama

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The amount of compensation in an auto accident varies from case to case.  There isn't any set amount because it depends on the facts of the particular case.  Property damage and personal injury are separate claims in the case.  The property damage is usually resolved early in the case and is the cost of repairs to the vehicle. 

Your personal injury claim is separate from your husband's.  Although you said you only had mild injuries lasting for three days, if you went to a doctor, you should obtain the medical bills and medical reports.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and determine the amount of compensation you receive for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to your medical bills. Your claim should include your total medical bills, any wage loss, and compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for the medical bills and wage loss is just straight reimbursement.  The amount of compensation for pain and suffering  would depend on factors such as residual problems, whether or not future treatment is anticipated, etc.  I would usually ask for quadruple the medical bills as compensation for pain and suffering, but not expecting to get anything close to that.  This would just be a starting point in negotiations with the insurance carrier.  The insurance company will respond with a lower offer.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carrier, you can file a lawsuit for negligence against the other driver.  You will need to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

As for your husband's claim, it would be premature to file the claim until he either completes his medical treatment and is released by the doctor or reaches a point where he is permanent and stationary.  Permanent and stationary means that future improvement is not anticipated.  He only gets one settlement.  That is why it would be premature to file the claim prior to completing medical treatment or being permanent and stationary.  At that point, obtain the medical reports and medical bills.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of his injuries and will be used to determine the amount of compensation for pain and suffering. The claim should include the medical bills, any wage loss and compensation for pain and suffering.  Due to the serious nature of his injuries, you should ask for a considerable amount for pain and suffering such as policy limits (the maximum the other driver's insurance policy will pay).  If that amount is inadequate because of a small policy, your husband might be able to receive compensation through underinsured motorist coverage if your policy includes that.

If the other driver has a substantial policy and the insurance company's settlement offer is inadequate, your husband can sue the other driver for negligence as stated above.  The lawsuit has to be filed prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations or he will lose his rights forever in the matter.

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


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.

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