If I was rear-ended and the other party’s insurance company offered to pay my ER bill, a month of my therapy and give me $700 for my inconvenience, what should I do?

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If I was rear-ended and the other party’s insurance company offered to pay my ER bill, a month of my therapy and give me $700 for my inconvenience, what should I do?

Asked on January 23, 2015 under Accident Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You should reject this settlement offer.  It is absurd.

The at-fault party's insurance should pay all of your medical bills, and compensate you for pain and suffering, and compensate you for wage loss.

You won't know the amount of all of the above until you complete your treatment.  When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor 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, obtain your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of any wage loss.

Your personal injury claim filed with the at-fault party's insurance carrier should include these items.  Compensation for the medical bills 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 your medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.

If the case is settled with the at-fault party's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the at-fault party's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party.  If the case is NOT settled, your lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

The current settlement offer is absurd because it won't pay for all of your medical bills, adequately compensate you for pain and suffering, and pay for wage loss.  It is premature to settle the case prior to completing your medical treatment and being released by the doctor or being declared permanent and stationary by the doctor.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

What are your total out-of-pocket (not paid by your own car or health insurance) costs? If they are not more than twice the sum of the amounts you are being offered, then this probably is a good settlement offer, and it would not be worthwhile suing the other party (and incurring the cost and time of a lawsuit) to try to get more. But if the offer is less than half your total costs, you may wish to try to negotiate more, and consider suing if you do not.


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