Fair settlement demand for auto accident

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:19 am   Post subject: Fair settlement demand for auto accident  

On June 9, 2010 I was stopped at a red fire station light. I watched the fire truck start to exit it's driveway when it stopped and laid into his horn. I looked into my rear-view mirror to see what he was honking at and then bam I was rear ended. I had been stopped for about 10 seconds before I was hit. The speed limit on that road is 45mph and the firemen who were witnesses said she came flying down the hill. She was cited for inattentive driving and only had an intermediate license. My car was totaled and so was hers. I took myself to the er 2 hours later as the pain started to seriously increase. I was diagnosed with neck sprain and back sprain. 2 days later I returned to the er after trying to help carry in groceries and heard a pop in my back followed by a stabbing pain. The diagnosis was Myofascial strain lumbar. A day later I returned to the er with a severe headache, making me nauseous and dizzy. The diagnosis was tension headache. I followed up with a clinic and they prescribed me chiropractic therapy. I received chiropractic therapy every day for 3 weeks. Then 3 times a week for another 3 weeks and since then have been going for two times a week. Following the accident the doctor gave me a release from work for 3 weeks. Her insurance company has sent me a letter accepting fault. At this point the pain in my neck is gone and the pain in my lower back comes only when I put my body under load (standing for long periods or doing moderate to hard work). I have been a cement mason for the last ten years and I don't feel that I can do continue doing that type of work unless I'm willing to do it in pain. So I've enrolled in school and start next month for automotive technology. I have gotten all paperwork (bills, er discharge, police report and all that would be needed) just in case I seek an attorney. I am sure that her insurance company will low-ball, but would just like an idea on what a fair counter demand would be for my settlement. I have suffered mental anguish over many aspects and have documented them all. From not being able to interact normally with my 2 year old son to depression from financial worries for being out of work during the 3 weeks to what will I do if I can't do concrete anymore (it's all I know). I'm not some greedy dude but feel I do deserve something as this accident HAS affected my life in many ways. My medical bills are close to $10,000. Sorry I wrote too much, just wanted to give a info so that whoever responds can respond more accurately. Thank you for your time. Brandon

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 6:19 am   Post subject:   

There is simply no way to know what your claim is worth. For one... settlement would be different for a person living in the sticks of Louisiana then downtown Los Angeles. It would also be different for a 25 year old then a 50 year old. There are _many_ other factors to also consider.



Has a doctor stated that he should not return to the same type of work? If you want the adjuster to consider this, I'd recommend getting documentation. There is a big difference from a doctor telling you that you could return to work in 3 weeks and never being able to go back.



It sounds like you have already done it but I'd outline all of your losses and any supporting documentation/information. When people tell the adjuster, I deserve 1 million dollar and when asked why... the better be able to say _something_. The more you can convince the adjuster that you deserve what you are asking for, the more chance you have of getting it. If you negotiate yourself, don't take it personally. This is _very_ difficult to do but you need to try.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:13 am   Post subject:   

Quote:
I took myself to the er 2 hours later as the pain started to seriously increase. I was diagnosed with neck sprain and back sprain. 2 days later I returned to the er after trying to help carry in groceries and heard a pop in my back followed by a stabbing pain. The diagnosis was myofascial strain lumbar. A day later I returned to the er with a severe headache, making me naseuas and dizzy. The diagnosis was tension headache.




Congratulations for choosing the most expensive way to diagnose and treat your initial injury complaints.



As tcope has stated, there is no way for us to put a value on your injuries or other "damages". You can add up all your medical bills, your lost wages, the damage to your car, and add something for "pain and suffering" -- that's your claim for damages in a civil suit. If you don't feel capable of handling that legal battle on your own, you have to enlist the services of a personal injury attorney.



Just because YOU think its worth $1,000,000 doesn't mean it's worth that much to an insurance company.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:09 pm   Post subject:   

Well, i didn't really choose the most expensive route, I just followed the er follow up and then what the clinic recomended. I'm 35 years old and live in Seattle wa. The accident happened in Kent wa. I have come up with a number, there approx 6000 in lost wages. I want to demand 14,000 plus medical and that includes lostwages. When it comes to not being able to do concrete anymore, I'm sure my doc will give me documentation to support it, but when I asked him if I could return to concrete he basically told me that it depended on how I felt and my pain level while doing thy kind of work. I wish I felt complete enough to return to concrete, heck it would save me a couple years of schooling and the trouble of selling all my concrete tools to aqquire the tools needed for automotive technology. Thank you for taking time to respond. And I appreciate the positive responses. I am still trying to get an idea with the info I added. Thank you -Brandon

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:25 am   Post subject:   

Brandon . . .



Excuse me, but your first statement was



Quote:
I took myself to the er 2 hours later as the pain started to seriously increase.




You could have gone to an urgent care clinic or your primary care physician, where the cost of the visit would have been $100-$200. A trip to the ER is a minimum of $500-$1000. I can understand returning for a follow up as directed, but you should not have used the ER for a non-emergency.



You also state you've received "chiropractic therapy" a number of times. Have you ever been seen by a licensed physical therapist? While some people obtain some results from "chiropractic therapy", many people receive true results from honest-to-goodness physical therapy.



Still, as has been pointed out to you, none of us here can tell you what your damages are worth. Sure, you can identify lost wages, but you're stating $6000 for about 2-1/2 months? That's not a lot of lost earnings for a typical concrete person . . . less than $3000 per month. Of course, things are slow in the construction trades, and your assessment may be valid. How did you arrive at $14,000 + medical?



On you're own, you can propose that to the insurance company if you want, and they might agree, or they might respond with something you don't care for at all. You can go back and forth until you arrive at a suitable amount to settle your claim, or you can hire an attorney to press your case, and give up 33% or more of the eventual settlement in attorney fees, and the distinct possibility that you walk away with even less than you could have had without the attorney's involvement.



Quote:
I am sure that her insurance company will lowball, but would just like an idea on what a fair counter demand would be for my settlement.




It doesn't even appear from your posts that you have made a claim against the other party's insurance yet, so it's unreasonable on your part to "suppose" that they will "lowball" the claim. Here you are proposing $14,000 + medical bills, and the insurance company might be thinking, $25,000 + medical bills. Now who's lowballing who?



File the claim, see what they say, and then come back and ask us what we think if you want.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:05 pm   Post subject:   

Thank you for that last reply. I don't have a primary care physician. And was advised by the fireman that were witness's and the officer that came to the scene, they said i should get myself checked at the ER. I don't tend to go outside of what I am told I should do by a doctor, hence chiropractic which is also accompanied by physical therapy. If I had any medical knowlege or expertise I might have gone a differant route, but I don't. As for lost wages, I'm only claiming money lost during my time out of work which was 3 1/2 weeks and any work time lost due to appointments. At the time of the accident I was employed as a flagger during the day and as a janitor/maintenance man in the evening. That's why wages aren't as concrete. And believe me, if there was concrete work available I would have been doing that. But with the trade at a loss and my responsibilty to take care of my two children I had to find other work until concrete picked up. A claim has been filed with her insurance company and as stated in my first post they have sent me a letter accepting responsibility. And as far as me knowing that they will lowball me. They have already tried when it came to my property damage. Offering me only 45% of what I demanded and eventually recieved. This is the first accident I've been in and have never dealt with this before so I'm not knowlegable in this feild. Her insurance has not made an offer yet and I will wait to see what it is before I make a counter demand. I refuse to hire an attorney and pay them for the same thing I can do myself. I'm very apt at doing my own research (part of which I'm here just trying to get an idea and hear what people think. I arrived at 14,000 plus medical by 6000 lost wages, 1500 for future medical, and the rest for pain and suffering, lost value of life, mileage to and from appointments, distress and mental anguish. I may be going above a fair amount and I may not. That's why I'm seeking advise from people that would have a better idea based on their knowledge. Once again, thank you for reading and responding. It is greatly appreciated.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:49 pm   Post subject:   

Quote:
And as far as me knowing that they will lowball me. They have already tried when it came to my property damage. Offering me only 45% of what I demanded and eventually recieved. This is the first accident I've been in and have never dealt with this before so I'm not knowlegable in this feild




OK, so let's try to give you some insight here. In a traffic collision and insurance claim, your "demand" and their offer are two different concepts. You're not really in a position to "demand" a certain amount of money for damage to your property. What you are entitled to is something called "ACTUAL CASH VALUE" which is the replacement cost of the property MINUS depreciation.



As an example: You might think your vehicle is worth $10,000 (you haven't stated what make or model or year it was, or its condition), but in reality it is only worth $4500 after the ACV determination is applied. So you think they "lowballed" you by offering 45% of your demand. But they haven't. You just don't understand the process. That's understandable. Most folks don't.



In an incident such as yours, you have two different types of "damages", specific and general. Specific damages are those which can be valued absolutely, such as physical damage to a vehicle, actual medical expenses, and lost wages. Every insurance policy describes how those losses are covered. Physical damage to a vehicle is covered according to ACV. Direct medical expenses (those related to the accident) are reimbursed 100% up to the insured's policy limits (but if they've already been paid by a health insurance policy, then the money is actually payable to that insurance company). Lost wages that can be verified are also compensable at 100% of actual loss (again, within the policy limits).



The headaches, sore neck, other aches and pains (i.e., "pain and suffering") are called general damages, and that's where things become murky. You think it's worth $1,000,000, and the insurance company might think it's worth $1,000. You don't budge off your "demand" and the insurance company says, "$2,500 . . . best and final offer." Now what do you do?



You might see an ad on TV for 1-800-CALL A SCHEISSTER ATTORNEY and make the call. They invite you to their office, show you photos of all the people they say they've represented and copies of the checks paid by the insurance companies they say they've sued. You don't ask them how many trials they've actually conducted (probably a handful, at best), but they seem to get people a lot of money, and they tell you they'll get you a really good settlement, so you sign an agreement for them to represent you. Do you read the agreement? Probably not, if you're like most folks.



They send a letter to the insurance company demanding $1,000,000 in ten days or informing them that you'll sue. Ten days comes and goes, no reply. A month later, they file a civil suit, serve the insurance company, and the insurance company files its answer 29 days later saying they have no liability at all for whatever reason they feel like at the moment.



A hearing date is set, usually about two or three months out. You go to court. Things get postponed, and another three or four months go by while "discovery" is being conducted by both sides. Another status hearing is set four months out. You go to court. The attorneys agree that they need another 90-120 days to complete or prepare their cases. So another status hearing is set -- now we're about a year from the filing date. You still have no money yet.



At the next status hearing (or conference), everyone shows each other their evidence. Your attorney looks at his evidence, their proposal, and tells you, "Well, they're offering $3500. I think that's a pretty fair settlement, all things considered, since they've already paid for the damage to your car, and for all the medical expenses."



You ask, "What if we go to trial? How much will I get?" The attorney now starts to sweat. He's never taken a case to trial. "Um, well, uh, I don't know if we would even win. And if we went to trial and lost, then you'd have to pay all my expenses, all the court costs, and maybe even the other party's attorney's fees, too."



"But your TV ads say, 'If you don't get anything, it costs you nothing.'" you reply. "Well, um, actually it says, 'If your case doesn't settle, you won't owe us anything". But see, they're offering a $3500 settlement -- $1000 more than you would have gotten on your own -- and, like I said, I think that's fair."



So you settle for $3500. The insurance company attorney hands your attorney a check on the spot for $3500. A week later, your attorney sends you a check for $2100, and a note saying, "Thanks for doing business with A. SCHEISSTER, ATTORNEY-AT-LAW."



More than a year after your accident, you get a check for $2100, which is $400 LESS than you could have had on your own almost a year ago. For what? For signing an agreement that gives 40% of your settlement check to the attorney for about five hours of effort on his part.



I'm not saying that's how your matter will play out, but that's a common result. If you put together a complete, well-organized and documented list of charges you think the insurance company should pay, and it's reasonable to the insurance company, they might just work with you to resolve the matter. You might not get everything you ask for, but you might get most of it.



Understand that if your "damages" exceed the insured's policy limits, you won't get an offer for more than that from the insurance company. They have no responsibility to pay more than the "limit of liability" in the policy. So if your medical bills and lost wages are $14,000, and the policy liability limit is $15,000, they are only going to be able to give you $1000. Not a penny more. They are not "lowballing" anything. They have paid the full limit of liability.



THEN, you might want to seek an attorney to sue the other party for any additional damages that you have not been compensated for. If you win, they have to pay -- although they could then go to bankruptcy court and possibly be relieved of their obligation to you. So you win, but you still get nothing.



Hopefully, the insured's policy has a higher liability limit than your damage claim.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:02 pm   Post subject:   

Thank you, I understand how it works a Lil better now.

Brandon

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:43 pm   Post subject: dont have a clue what to ask the insurance company for i wan  

a semi truck struck my car twice he backed into me and was pushing me down the street/ i am 55 years old only weigh 104 pounds. i have torn muscles in my neck which is swollen. and torn muscles in lower back and torn muscles in my legs back of my calf and inner leg around groin area. i did not seek a lawyer i am trying to do this on my own. they have not made an offer as of yet.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:37 am   Post subject:   

OK. So do you have a question that needs to be answered?



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:21 pm   Post subject: settlement  

Wait until you are offered something. They will lowball it to feel you out and see how desperate you are to settle. Turn down first offer. Tell them you want to talk to your doc more about your injuries. Then make a list of how the accident has effected you. IE, sleepless nights, can't bend, can't enjoy time with family, the amount of time you will be in pain, stress, etc. Then call them back the next day or 2 days later. With a counter offer. Make the offer reasonable but more than what you want. They will turn you down and say they can't go higher than such and such. It will be a little more than the first offer. Do not sound excited they went up. Tell them you will review your medical records again or you want to talk to an advisor about it. Do Not say lawyer. If the do not call you back within 2 days call them and say after further discussion with your doctor you have decided to settle for ---, Make it higher than their second offer but lower than your offer. They will usually take this offer, if not they will definitely counter again. and then you need to decide wether you want to continue the game or take the offer.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:51 pm   Post subject: 18 wheeler accident  

medical bills are appro 25,000.00 they offered 10,000.00 i turned it down i asked for 250,000.000


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:54 pm   Post subject:   

Do you have a question?



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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 11:41 pm   Post subject: Settlement claim  

i was re ended at a stop light i have been getting treating me, and have already settled out the claim for only the vehicle, but i have sustained Injuries not only physically but mentally. I find my self not like i used to rude to my family, unable to enjoy life like i used to I.E take my children to the park to play, enjoy doing work around my parents house, working, or even making love to my husband. I dont feel the same i cant sleep, i have been on anxiety meds which i have never taken before and just feel worse off. how much is my case worth


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 3:51 pm   Post subject:   

What does your physician have to say about this? Or your psychiatrist? Until you have legitimate medical documentation of the things you describe, you have no case other than direct medical expenses and lost wages due directly to injuries suffered IN the accident. Those suffered AS A LATER RESULT are suspect until verified medically. A chiropractor is not competent to diagnose such things -- the person who is has an MD or DO or (possibly) a PhD at the end of their name.



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