How do I know how much I should be asking for in my claims settlement?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 13, 2012

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Insurance Question from Columbus, OH

Asked on 02/13/2012

How do I know how much I should be asking for in my claims settlement? I was in a car accident in August where I was rearended and my car was totaled. I went to the ER just to get checked out that night and they thought I looked ok, but I started having back pains a few week later. I have been seeing a chiropractor since September and just finished the last week of January. The totaled car has been replaced by an older car of the same model.

Answer given on February 21, 2012

Determining how much your claim is worth can be tricky.  It can depend on alot of factors such as, the total of your medical bills, the degree of negligence by the at fault party that created the accident, your loss time for work, etc.  Read our article How to Value Accident Settlement. Essentially, you need to total all of your out pocket expenses caused by the accident. This includes medical bills, prescriptions, any loss wages as well as ER bills.  Also, consider your mileage back and forth to the doctor. Add up your total mileage and the rate allowable per mile. Was the person that hit you going at an excessive speed? Was their drinking involved? Did any or the injuries leave you with a visible scar? All of this could potentially increase your claim. Most claimants double or triple their total out of pocket expenses. Once you have your figure, be prepared to negotiate! Start at the top end of your amount as the insurance company will counter at the bottom end of what they will pay.  Hopefully, the negotiation will work you somewhere in the middle.  If you find yourself with an insurance adjuster that will not give any in the negotiations with regards to the very minimum of what you are due (such as your out of pocket expenses), it may be time to get an attorney involved.  An attorney in your area will be knowledge about the claim value for a rear end accident in your area.  To find an attorney and to have your case evaluated by a legal expert, click here


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