Rear-end auto acc. w/injury demand/settlement amount?

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Latest post 03-08-2013 1:33 PM by Sharon - Community Moderator (Admin). 6 replies.
  • 07-25-2012 8:43 PM

    Rear-end auto acc. w/injury demand/settlement amount?

    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.

     

     

  • 07-25-2012 9:20 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,509

    Re: Rear-end auto acc. w/injury demand/settlement amount?

    What is limit of other sides coverage--rarely practical to get more than that---



  • 07-25-2012 9:29 PM In reply to

    Re: Rear-end auto acc. w/injury demand/settlement amount?

    RyanAnderson83:
    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

    Did he explain those reasons?

    I, too, have a problem with $1500 worth of damage equalling a $50,000 claim.

    And I'm not talking entirely as a former member of the insurance industry.

    I've been rear-ended quite a few times in my life, a few times with a couple of thousand worth of damage to the rear of my vehicle but never had any of the claims worth more than a couple of thousand.

    I don't know what to tell you.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 07-25-2012 9:41 PM In reply to

    • LG81
      Consumer
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on 01-03-2010
    • Posts 4,338

    Re: Rear-end auto acc. w/injury demand/settlement amount?

    RyanAnderson83:
    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.

    RyanAnderson83:
    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.

    It's not "total BS" for them to try and assert the condition was pre-existing.  Many people with degenerative disc disease have no idea they have it (even very young marathon runners and weight lifters), and it is not discovered until the patient has an injury that exacerbates it. 

    RyanAnderson83:
    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.

    It is probably best to listen to your attorney.  100k for a low-impact collision would be quite over the top. 

    RyanAnderson83:
    When the dust settles I'll be left with $8K which is chump change considering I have a major back injury.

    It is still unclear whether or not you have a major and/or permanent inury over which you should win a lottery.   Often a disc issue can be resolved with PT or with a combination of injections and PT.

    RyanAnderson83:
    I refuse to settle that low and am now considering firing my attorney if he will not demand the full policy limits.

    You will want to take any engagement agreement you signed.  If you fire the attorney at this point, you may or may not be subject to charges for the time and expenses he incurred to date.

  • 07-25-2012 9:50 PM In reply to

    • DPH
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 10-08-2001
    • TX
    • Posts 7,543

    Re: Rear-end auto acc. w/injury demand/settlement amount?

    RyanAnderson83:
    I refuse to settle

    You have answered your own question.  Consult with another attorney.  You may or may not get the same answer(s).

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • 03-07-2013 5:01 PM In reply to

    • TMWS
      Lawyer
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 03-07-2013
    • FL
    • Posts 2

    Re: Rear-end auto acc. w/injury demand/settlement amount?

    No one can tell you exactly how much your claim would be worth if your case went before a jury.  Most personal injury attorneys tell you based on their experience would be a reasonable settlement amount given your particular medical injuries.  There are no statutes or cases saying you get X amount for X injuries (and that would be impossible anyway since cases are so different factually--both in terms of what happened during the accident and the subsequent medical injuries).  Future theoretically possible injuries are often not compensable.  Generally your personal injury lawyer needs to be able to prove permanent injuries that exist now.  I don't know the facts of your case so cannot advise you specifically whether you should accept any particular dollar amount.  But I think you should discuss these issues with your attorney and carefully consider their advice.

  • 03-08-2013 1:33 PM In reply to

    Re: Rear-end auto acc. w/injury demand/settlement amount?

    Hi TMWS,

    Thank you for taking the time to provide a response within our Forums. Please feel free to utilize the Profile section of your home page to direct participants within the forums to view more information about you and your firm.

    You may also create a signature line comprised of your name, the firm name, a phone number, email address and site URL. In the future we ask that you omit any "call to action" or language that can be viewed as a solicitation as well as embedded links. We do not allow solicitations at the site.

    If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to click on my display name to send me a private message. We look forward to your participation in the future.

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