What is an acceptable settlement amount for being rear-ended?

Over 5k to cover car damage and doctor bills. I have degenerative spinal arthritis and still have substantial pain. An offer had been made for 5k after bills paid.

Asked on March 24, 2015 under Personal Injury, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Is your degenerative spinal arthritis caused, or exacerbated, by the accident; or did you have it anyway, and the accident did not cause or contribute to the condition? If the condition is independent of the accident, then $5k after all bills paid may well be a fair settlement, since while you undoubtedly suffered pain after the accident, the main problem with your back was not caused by the accident--the $5k is therefore for the pain, not for the condition, and $5k for pain without injury is generally acceptable, especially given that the alternative would be to sue to get more, and the cost of the lawsuit could eat up any gains.

However, if the accident caused, exacerbated, worsened, etc. the degenerative arthritis, then the $5k is likely too low: if the accident caused or contributed to degenerative arthritis, rather than merely causing some pain in the aftermath of the injury, it caused a condition which will detract from your life for the rest of your life. In this case, if the collision caused or materially worsed/exacerbated the arthritis, your compensation for the resulting suffering and impairment should refledt the lifetime of disability ahead of you. If the crash caused or contributed to the arthritis (rather than "simply" causing pain because you had a condition independent of the crash), you should consult with a personal injury attorney before agreeing; that att0rney may, after considering the facts of your case in detail, agree that you should receive much more--and presumably, will be able to help you get more.


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