How do I counter-offer fora settlementI feel is too low?

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How do I counter-offer fora settlementI feel is too low?

I had a slip and fall at an amusement park. I was in severe pain and sustained injuries to my tailbone, neck and wrist. I have been to the doctor numerous times, and they have basically said nothing more can be done, but I may have residual pain in my nect and wrist for the rest of my life. The park is now offering me $200 for medical (I have great insurance, so most was covered), and $500 for compensation. I do not consider myself a greedy person, but $500 seems a bit low.

Asked on February 2, 2012 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The amusement park's settlement offers are inadequate and should be rejected.

Are those offers coming from the amusement park's insurance carrier or just the park itself?  Your personal injury claim should be filed with the amusement park's insurance carrier.  The fact that your health insurance paid much of your medical bill is irrelevant because your personal injury claim is based on your total medical bill, your medical reports and documentation of any wage loss.  When you are released by the doctor upon completion of medical treatment or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary which means having reached a point in your medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated as you have mentioned, then obtain your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of wage loss.  Your personal injury claim filed with the amusement park's insurance carrier should include these items.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Since you have residual complaints, you should ask for a considerable amount to compensate for pain and suffering. Your compensation should include an estimate of the cost of your future medical treatment discounted to present value.

I would ask for at least quadruple the medical bills to compensate for pain and suffering and also include an amount to compensate for the estimated cost of future medical treatment discounted to present value.  I would not expect to receive quadruple the medical bills as compensation, but this would be a starting point in negotiations. The insurance company will respond with a lower offer and you can continue negotiating to try to get the insurance company to increase its offer.  If the case is settled with the insurance company, NO lawsuit is filed.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the amusement park.  If the case is NOT settled with the amusement park's insurance carrier, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence against the amusement park prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter. 


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