Car accident settlement

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Car accident settlement

I was in a small auto accident last year and got a neck strain. I’ve been to two different PT’s and getting ready to start a third. After going to the two PT, the insurance lady was going to offer me $1200.00 to settle the claim. I thought that was low since I’ve been fighting with this stiff neck for a year now. She said the medical bills are around $4,000.00 so far. What do you think would be a fair settlement? She offered my daughter $200.00 and is not willing to budge. But my daughter only went to the dr’s once and her bill was under $200.00. Thank you!!

Asked on May 13, 2009 under Accident Law, Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Insurance companies used to offer about 3 times the amount of the medical bills, but they have been taking a tougher stance in recent years.  If you are still having neck issues after being treated by two physical therapists, perhaps you need to return to your dr. and try something else.  If the insurance company sees you continuing to go for the same treatment that is not helping, they'll be less likely to view that treatment as necessary and reasonable, which is the standard they use when settling claims.  The statute of limitations in Washington for personal injury cases is 3 years, so you have some time.  You don't have to settle now if you don't want to.  You can wait until your're better.  If you need/want the money now, without knowing any of the details of your injury and the prognosis for your recovery, it is difficult for me to evaluate your claim.  If if is just a stubborn soft tissue injury, it will likely resolve over time.  I would think something in the neighborhood of $8,000-$12,000 including your medical bills would be reasonable.   For your daughter, I am assuming she was not injured very much.  If it is just the one bill and no further treatment and no residual problems, I would take $300-$500.  Again, you don't need to be in a hurry.  The adjuster would rather get it off his or her desk quicker, so hang in there and ask for more.  If they don't budge, consider seeking the services of a personal injury attorney, but understand he or she will take 1/3 of the settlement amount.


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