The basics: I was rear-ended by another car in a low impact collision. The damage to my car was considered "minor" being estimated around $1500. I had pains from the accident, saw my PCP, and got an MRI. The MRI showed a bulging disk. I also did physical therapy through my PCP for 3 months, but it did not improve my situation so I quit. The other driver's insurance company accepted 100% fault for their driver causing the accident and agreed to pay for the damage to my car. They refused to pay a penny more for pain and suffering. They tried to minimize the seriousness of my injury by referring to it as a "soft tissue" injury and went so far as to assert that my back injury was pre-existing, which was total BS. I eventually hired a PI attorney after realize I would get screwed by the insurance company. The attorney said I needed to be evaluated by an Ortho asap. I listened to him and saw an Ortho who affirmed the original diagnosis of a bulging disk. The Ortho sent me to his own PT for 4 weeks. I completed the PT and the Ortho released me after reaching MMI. The Ortho's final diagnosis was that I had permanency to my back injury, but he did not say what degree.
My attorney is working on a demand letter to the other driver's insurance company. He still believes my case is weak and not worthy of taking all the way to court for a variety of reasons. One being how minor the collision appears to be and how minimal the damage is to my car. The other factor being that I am young and healthy aside from the back injury, and do not require ongoing treatments for the near future. He discounted the possibility of needing back surgery later in life, even though the Ortho said I might, because the Ortho apparently forgot or neglected to include that in his final report. The attorney believes an appropriate amount to demand would be $50K. He does not want to go after the other driver's policy limits of $100K. He thinks I will be lucky to get $30K settlement from the insurance company in response. He thinks asking for greater than $50K will appear like I'm asking for too much, and that the insurance company may not play ball.
I crunched the numbers and realized that $30K would be a horrible settlement amount. First, I will owe attorney fees of 33% of the total settlement or roughly $10K. Second, my medical expenses are $20K (factoring in that PIP covers 80% of first $10K) so I will owe $12K in medical bills. When the dust settles I'll be left with $8K which is chump change considering I have a major back injury. I refuse to settle that low and am now considering firing my attorney if he will not demand the full policy limits.
What do you guys think? Can anyone give me their opinion of whether this amount is too high or too low? I understand you don't have all of the facts, only a brief synopsis, but these are the general facts.