What is a fair amount to settle for in a car accident case?

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What is a fair amount to settle for in a car accident case?

Car was totalled (other person’s fault). Medical bills = $2059; 1 visit to ER via ambulance; 1 visit to primary doctor; 3 visits to PT; and daughter lost 1-2 days of work. Already received payment for value of car. Insurance is offering $3500 to settle at this point. Is this a reasonable settlement amount? If not, how can I negotiate for a higher amount?

Asked on April 12, 2012 under Personal Injury, Maine

Answers:

Madan Ahluwalia / Ahluwalia Law P. C.

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Great answer by my colleague. Another factor to increase net settlement for you is to negotiate the medical bill with healthcare service providers. Most healthcare service providers will discount their bill to a lower amount resulting in more money in your pocket.

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The amount being offered is reasonable, but I think should be slightly more.

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 the injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  There isn't any mathematical formula for determining compensation for pain and suffering.  It just depends on the nature and extent of the injuries as documented in the medical reports.  Since there wasn't much medical treatment, the settlement offer is reasonable.  I would normally ask for quadruple the medical bills to compensate for pain and suffering, but NOT EXPECTING TO RECEIVE THAT.  That would be a starting point in the negotiations and the insurance company would respond with a much lower offer.  Although the $3500 is reasonable considering the limited medical treatment, you could say I need more than that to settle and give them a higher figure than what you will actually accept.  For example, ask for $4500 and if they offer $4000 accept it.  If they won't go beyond the present $3500, accept it considering the limited medical treatment and the delays associated with litigation if you might only end up with slightly more than the present offer.

If you are dissatisfied with the settlement offer, your recourse is to file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party.  If the case is settled with the insurance company, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is NOT settled with the insurance company, the lawsuit for negligence must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your rights in the matter will be lost forever.


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