What is a fair settlement for whiplash injury?

I was the passenger in the at fault car in an at on 10/4/17. We were both unfamiliar with the area and she ran a 4 way stop. She was going 40 mph when she ran the stop sign. She broke hard before she hit a car that was turning left, so there was minimal damage to the cars. However because she broke so hard it had lunged me forward then when we hit the car, I was lunged back and hit the seat. I went to the ER on 10/6/17. They took X-rays and said I sprained my neck/back and prescribed me a muscle relaxant. I went to my chiropractor a few days later and she too took X-rays. She said that I had whiplash and that my spine was shifted slightly to the left. The rib subluxation presented a couple weeks later. It made changing my shirts and brushing or washing my hair very painful, as well as taking care of my toddler and baby difficult. I had 12 sessions and was reevaluated by the chiropractor and she wanted to see me 4 more times. My personal injury claim was accepted this past Friday and she tried to get me to settle before treatment was $done and only offered 500 for pain and suffering. I denied settling before treatment was over and asked for more for pain and suffering. She said that she can’t do more that just a little over $1,000. Medical bills are a little over $4000. No lost wages, but I did miss a lot of class. What is a fair settlement?

Asked on November 18, 2017 under Personal Injury, Arkansas


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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You cannot settle the case 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 treatment where no further improvement is anticipated.
It would be premature to settle now because you need your total medical bills, medical reports and especially your final medical report. 
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports document your injury and are used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  When you are released by the doctor, if you have not fully recovered and have residual complaints of pain, you would receive more compensation for pain and suffering than if you have fully recovered and have no residual complaints.
If you have no residual complaints when completing your treatment, I would ask for quadruple the medical bills as compensation for pain and suffering, but NOT expecting to get that.  That would be a starting point in negotiations and the insurance carrier will respond with a much lower offer.  You can continue negotiating to try to get the insurance adjuster to increase their offer.  If you have residual complaints, I would ask for considerably more than quadruple the medical bills, but the amount would depend on the nature of those complaints as documented in the medical reports.  Will you need future treatment and what is the estimated cost?  Again, I would ask for a high figure, but NOT expecting to get that.  It would be a starting point in negotiations.
The current amount that the adjuster is offering is unacceptable.
If the case is settled with the at-fault driver's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault driver.
If the case is NOT settled, 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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