What is the usual settlement for pain and suffering involved in auto accident.

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What is the usual settlement for pain and suffering involved in auto accident.

I was being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance when the ambulance was hit by a vehicle. Sustained injury to my hand that needed surgery. the 2 paramedics were also injured. Had to transport me in another ambulance. First ambulance was not drivable. Initially going to hosp. for a stroke. Vehicle that hit the ambulance I was in, ran red light and t-boned us. Driver of other veh. was not injured. I am in the middle of negotiations and wanted to know how much I should ask for. My attorney did not give me an amount but want to be prepared to accept or refuse it.

Asked on April 19, 2009 under Accident Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

There is nothing set in stone about pain and suffering, and there are no longer any generally applicable "rules of thumb" as the situation varies widely by state and mini-area within a state.

One way to look at it is if you were on a jury -- many of whose members are likely experiencing hard times themselves -- how would you regard your pain and suffering? 

When it gets down to it a lot will depend on the amount of insurance the driver has and his/her wealth, whether the ambulance company or its driver was partially at fault (as it probably has lots of insurance), how much pain you were in and for how long, the lasting damage or diminution of capacity you will suffer, and how likable you would appear to a jury.

Remember the other side's insurance company knows you have to pay your lawyer, and very often pain and suffering is just something that they throw in out of which the lawyer can be paid.

Listen to your attorney. Also keep in mind that if the case does not settle it may take a long time to go to trial and you may wind up with less than the company offers.

From the lawyer's perspective if s/he can quickly settle your case after 10 few hours of work for $X and earn a fee of 1/3rd, that's far more attractive to the lawyer than waiting 2 years while the case goes through "discovery" with depositions and experts and costs mounting and then a 3 day trial with a possibility of loss or certainty of an appeal at best while putting in 20-100 times the work for a total recovery of $2X and a fee of only 2/3rd X.

 

 


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