What kind of settlement do you think I will be looking at regarding injuries Isuffered in a car accident?

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What kind of settlement do you think I will be looking at regarding injuries Isuffered in a car accident?

Other driver was at-fault. I was in the ER for 6 hours, and have been to 2 doctors since the accident. I have been given a lot of muscle relaxers, anti inflammatories, and pain killers. The ER told me I had many torn muscles and tendons in my neck. One doctor told me I need physical therapy. The other doctor was worried I might have a cracked rib or something because I have trouble breathing and ordered X-rays for my back and chest. The hospital bills are over $14,000. I was supposed to fly home 2 days later, but could not because of the accident so the new ticket was $360. I have missed around $300 worth of work. Shoukd i soeak with a personal injury attorney? In Clark County, WA.

Asked on August 30, 2011 Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

When you complete your medical treatment including the physical therapy and are released by the doctor or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary which means no further improvement is anticipated, obtain your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of wage loss.  Until you complete your medical treatment, it would be premature to settle the case because you wouldn't know the total bills, and once the case is settled with the insurance company, you can't go back to the insurance company later and ask for more money.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss and the plane ticket would be straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injuries and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills. Your personal injury claim will consist of compensation for the medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering, compensation for wage loss and compensaton for the plane ticket.  Your claim should be filed with the at-fault driver's auto insurance carrier.

There isn't any mathematical formula for determining compensation for pain and suffering.  I would usually ask for quadruple the medical bills as compensation for pain and suffering, but NOT expecting to get that.  This would be a starting point in negotiations and the insurance company will respond with a much lower offer.  You can continue negotiating to try to get a better offer from the insurance company.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, you can reject those offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the at- fault driver.  If the case is settled, no lawsuit is filed.  If the case is NOT settled, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault driver prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations  or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

It would be advisable to speak with a personal injury attorney.

 


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