What to do about a low settlement for a car injury?

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What to do about a low settlement for a car injury?

My son received an injury from a car accident and the insurance company wants to settle for $1,000 for his pain and suffering. I honestly don’t think this is fair. What can I do?

Asked on December 19, 2011 under Personal Injury, Arkansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

He doesn't need to accept a settlement that he believes is too low--he can sue the at fault driver for the full extent of the injuries he believes he has suffered. As a general rule of thumb, your son may be able to recover:

1) All out of pocket medical costs (e.g anyything not picked up by insurance);

2) Any lost wages;

3) Any future medical costs or diminution of earning potential;

4) For injuries which result in significant or long lasting disability, impairment of life, disfigurement, or pain, an amount of pain and suffering equal to around 1 - 2 times the medical costs.

Of coursse, if  he sues, he'll also have legal fees and other costs (e.g. expert witness). If he sued on a contingency basis, he could easly pay 1/3 of the judgment in legal fees, plus court and witness costs; on an hourly basis, he could easily spend $10k at a minimum--very possibly more. So the question, is the total of what he could recover, if he wins (its never certain) worth the costs?

Your son and you should consult with a personal injury attorney, who can help you evaluate what the case might be worth and the cost to pursue it; then you can decide what to do.

Hong Shen / Roberts Law Group

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Depending on how serious the injury and how much pain your son had. $1000 for pain and suffering does sound a little short. Your other option may be to decline the payment and sue for yourself.


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