If my car was rear-ended and now the insurance companywants to know what figure I have in mind for a settlement, what do I base this on?

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If my car was rear-ended and now the insurance companywants to know what figure I have in mind for a settlement, what do I base this on?

I am 75 years old and have degenerative arthritis in my spine; I use a cane for walking. I just finished working with my chiropractor for back pain; I do water therapy and deep muscle massage. I don’t know where to begin. Should i speak with a personal injury attorney? How much does it cost? I’m in Ozaukee County, WI.

Asked on October 28, 2011 under Personal Injury, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you should speak with a personal injury attorney. Before you do so, ask if they provide a free initial discussion or consultation to evaluate a case; if so, you can speak to them to get a sense of how they view the case and its value and how they charge. Also note that man PI attorneys will take a case on a contingency fee basis, so that they are only paid when you get paid--they get a portion of the settlement or judgment.

Some factors that inform what your case might be worth:

1) You can recover for any medical costs (not otherwise reimbursed by insurance or covered by Medicare) arising from the accident. Even if you had a pre-existing condition, to the extent it was exacerbated and you incurred costs, or had to have tests, etc. done to evaluate whether there was injury or exacerbation of a pre-existing condition, that should be recoverable.

2) If the injury, or exacerbation of a pre-existing condition, is severe enough and impacts on daily life activities, you may be entitled to some compensation for pain and suffering. For serious, long-lasting pain or impairment, while every case is different, a rule of thumb is that pain and suffering is often equal to 1 - 3 times (depending on severity) the medical costs.

(Note: given a pre-existing condition, a major factual point of contention in settlement discussions or if the case goes to trial would be separating out, and proving, how much damage already existed vs. what was caused by the accident.)

3) If you were working and lost wages, due to the accident, you can recover for this.

4) If your car was damaged, you can recover any repair costs, etc., not picked up by your insurance.

5)  You can recover other out-of-pocket costs from the accident; e.g. if you had to rent a car while your car is n the shop.

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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