If I have waited a year for a settlement offer on a hit and run accident and was finally offered a settlement, how do I know if it is fair?

UPDATED: Nov 5, 2014

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If I have waited a year for a settlement offer on a hit and run accident and was finally offered a settlement, how do I know if it is fair?

My car was damaged and I was in a little pain after the accident. I went to a chiropractor for 16 visits but the insurance company is only offering $4500. Is this a reasonable offer to accept?

Asked on November 5, 2014 under Accident Law, Alabama


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There is no hard in fast answer to your question, since every case is different, but as a rough rule of thumb, a fair settlement is typically between 1/3 and 1/2 of what you could recover if you sued and won--you accept less than you might get because you save time and attorney's fees and are paid much faster with no chance of losing and not getting anything; and the other party's incentive to settle is that they can pay less.

If you sued and won, you'd typically get the sum of:

1) The out-of-pocket (not paid by your insurer) cost to repair your car;

2) Your out-of-pocket (not paid by insurance) medical costs;

3) Other unreimbursed out of pocket costs (like renting a car);

4) Lost wages, if any; and

5) With "a little pain" which took 16 chiropractor visits to resolve, a small premium for "pain and suffering" equal to, perhaps, 1/2 your medical costs.

If $4,500 is between 1/3 and 1/2 of the above, it would often be considered a fair settlement.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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