How much should I settle for with an insurance adjuster?

UPDATED: Aug 22, 2011

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How much should I settle for with an insurance adjuster?

I was injured on a bus accident while chaperoning a school trip. I have a herniated disc, an annular disc tear, 2 bulging discs and lumbar sprain. These injuries have limited my ability to do my job; I am a veterinary technician in the Army. I have not had any medical bills, because as a US Army soldier, my medical care is covered 100%, but I have been advised to seek chiropractic care, which is not covered by the Army. This has been going on 4 momths, and I have been told to limit my physical activity for the next 6 months. Lastly, I haven’t been able to play with my 10 year old son. Should I speak with a personal injury attorney? In Kent County, DE.

Asked on August 22, 2011 Delaware


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the chiropractor or are declared to be permanent and stationary which means no further improvement is anticipated, obtain your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of any wage loss.  You should also try to obtain the medical bills from the military in order to know your total medical bills from both the military and the chiropractor.  Compensation for 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.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Your personal injury claim should be filed with the insurance carrier for the school district and the insurance carrier for the bus company.  If the bus was a school bus, the insurance carrier for the school district may or may not also be the insurance carrier for the school bus.

There isn't any mathematical formula for determining compensation for pain and suffering.  As a starting point in negotiations, I would ask for quadruple the medical bills to compensate for pain and suffering, but not expecting to get that.  The adjuster will respond with a much lower offer and you can continue negotiations to try to increase the amount offered by the adjuster.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance, you can reject the settlement offers and file your lawsuit for negligence against the school district and bus company.  You will need to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.  No lawsuit is filed if you have settled with both defendants (bus company and school district).  If you have settled with only one defendant, your lawsuit for negligence will only name the other defendant.

It would be advisable to speak with a personal injury attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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