Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 06/21/2013 - 21:23

I am trying to figure out how settlement for a car injury is calculated. I was injured in a car accident and do have a lawyer. He has worked out my claim for me but I just want to make sure that he is getting me a fair amount. I have a permanent injury, a left thumb that will not bend at the distal joint, also have a concussion. Medical expenses totalled $26,000.00, lost wages = $1,600.00. Future medical bills = $12,500.00. Kansas has a cap of $250,000.00 for pain and suffering. He said my pain and suffering is worth $100,000. This is how he worked it out. $100,000 + $26,000 + $1,600 + $12,500 = 140,100.00. Medical expenses and loss wages amounts have to be paid back to my insurance company. $140,100 - $27,600 = $112,500.00. Lawyers fees = $37575.000 Lawyers expenses = $224.00 Subtract that from $112,500.00, leaves me with $74,701.00.

Is this how settlements are calculated? Even for a permanent injury? Are damages for a permanent disabiity part of the pain and suffering amount or should it be a separate amount? I still experience pain, stiffness and tingling in the thumb.

Would appreciate any advice given.
Thank you.

Posted: 23 Jun 2013 09:07 Post Subject:

Is this how settlements are calculated?

Based on the type of injury, type of treatment needed, duration of treatment, the person, the location of the accident, etc. Basically, what a judge or jury has award for that type of situation in the past.

Are damages for a permanent disabiity part of the pain and suffering amount or should it be a separate amount?

It's the same amount as it's all part of a _settlement_.

Would appreciate any advice given.

You are paying your attorney around $40,000 for a few hours worth of work. Your attorney should be bending over backwards to answer all of your questions.

Posted: 24 Jun 2013 04:54 Post Subject:

Patricia . . . do you have the ability to write an answer with any substance to it? How about one with more than eight to ten words? Most of what you post is of zero value and merely recites what someone else has said prior to your comment.

Posted: 25 Jun 2013 05:03 Post Subject:

Max! I support you here! I think we expect something more than 8-10 words.

Most of what you post is of zero value and merely recites what someone else has said prior to your comment.

However, you are mistaken here. Actually, each and every post of her recites her previous post.


Posted: 26 Jun 2013 02:41 Post Subject: Settlement

I have consulted with my attorney about this. The above calculations is what he worked out for me and the amount of settlement I should expect. Settlement of $100,000, $74,701.00 after deducting medical expenses, lawyers fees, etc. I just want to know if this is a fair amount for a permanent injury...a thumb that will not bend at the distal joint.

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 02:55 Post Subject:

See my initial answer as to what a settlement is based on. We don't know anything of that information.

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 12:26 Post Subject:

Why would your lost wages have to be "paid back to [your] insurance company"?? If an insurance company reimbursed you for lost wages, then you have no lost wages and you cannot collect twice. Makes no sense. If an insurance company paid for your time off work, and you collect for that, then they are entitled to recover that expense, but it's not "lost wages".

Sounds to me like your attorney is simply proposing an amount he believes the insurance company will quickly write a check for and he won't have to do any more work to get it. On the other hand, if he were to ask for the whole $250,000 in general damages, he might actually have to go to court to win that amount, and that will take some work.

What is true is that once you are represented by an attorney all your questions should be directed to that person. If you want to know how he/she arrived as a demand amount, ask him/her to validate it for you, not us. If the amount is too low, which is what you appear to be thinking, then demand that your attorney push for the larger amount -- you are paying him/her for that. Instead, you seem to doubt/trust your choice of legal representation. That's unfortunate. It's also not uncommon in these forums.

The lesson to be learned, as we have repeatedly stated, is simple:

In most cases, an injured party can do as good a job for him/herself as any attorney when attempting to settle a personal injury matter. Only when you and the insurance company cannot agree on a figure and the insurance company essentially quits negotiating should you consider seeking legal representation.

But that's not what the TV-advertising attorneys want you to believe. They want people to believe, like Obama does, that insurance companies are evil, that they never pay claims, and that you will only get a reasonable settlement if you hire them to "fight for you". They aren't fighting for you, they are "fighting" for their yacht payment, their timeshare on Maui, and their vacation home in Martha's Vineyard. Where is your yacht, timeshare, vacation home?

Anyone can do the math that's necessary -- it was learned before leaving the first grade: A + B + C + D = E. Actual medical expenses + estimated future medical expenses + actual lost wages + noneconomic loss ("pain and suffering", loss of consortium, loss of love and affection, etc) = damages to be settled. If the amount is reasonable and within the at-fault party's policy limits, the insurance company should simply write a check and the case is closed.

When you add an attorney, take that total and multiply by 0.66666667 (or less). That's what you get up by letting someone else write a letter or two, or making a couple of phone calls for you. Do you really think that's worth the 0.33333333 (or more) they take from your 100%? {Anyone ever wonder why real estate agents get 6% to sell your home? Why would you believe an attorney is worth 33%?]

If an attorney cannot increase your total settlement by more than the amount of his/her fee, it is not worth the effort. Most of the PI attorneys who advertise on radio, TV, and in the newspaper or elsewhere have never tried a case in front of a jury. They make 6-figure incomes or more by writing a few letters and making a couple of telephone calls.

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 12:35 Post Subject:

Why would your lost wages have to be "paid back to [your] insurance company"?

If they were considered under PIP or MP and in that state there was a right of recovery under PIP/MP.

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 12:59 Post Subject:

Kansas has a cap of $250,000.00 for pain and suffering.

PIP in Kansas is considered "first-party medical payments" (which is not subject to subrogation) and not "personal injury protection" ("third-party payments" which is subject to subrogation), according to the opinion of the court in State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Baker, 14 Kan App. 2d 641, 797 P.2d 168, rev. denied 247 Kan. 705 (1990), and is still the controlling case law in that state to the best of my knowledge.

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 04:56 Post Subject: Settlement

Thanks everyone for the info. Maxherr, your last message is all greek to me. Wish I could understand what you are trying to say. :)

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 06:05 Post Subject:

My last response was intended for tcope.

If you received PIP payments for your injuries, which could include lost wages, that money is NOT subject to subrogation -- the insurance company cannot reclaim the money. PIP is a payment to you from your insurance company for monetary loss, not as compensation for personal injury. If you collected lost wages as part of a PIP payment, you cannot make a second claim for that same money from the at-fault party.

On the other hand, claims for personal injuries paid by an at-fault third party's liability insurance are subject to subrogation, which is why your medical bills, paid for with your personal health insurance, must be reimbursed to that insurance company (your health insurance is first-party coverage for injuries you cause to yourself, just like your auto insurance is first-party coverage, not for damages caused by others).

Be sure you know what claims were paid, and who paid them, before you make any demands for payment from the at-fault party or their insurance company. Are you sure that $12,000 is sufficient for future medical expenses? Sounds too low to me.

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 09:53 Post Subject: Firing an Attorney

Maxherr will get back to you on that previous message but need some other advice. Is it a wise thing to fire your attorney after they've sent out a demand letter and hire another one?

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 11:35 Post Subject: Settlement

I have no medical insurance. My medical bills plus lost wages were paid for by PIP. We were told that we will have to reinburse that money to the insurance company which is State Farm. My medical bills, surgery ,therapy and meds for my thumb came to a total of $15754.51.

Posted: 27 Jun 2013 05:42 Post Subject:

Is it a wise thing to fire your attorney after they've sent out a demand letter and hire another one?

Only if the attorney you've already hired fails to represent you -- as in won't return calls, won't file legal actions, etc. It can be very problematic. You need to read your retainer agreement to see what it says about that.

Posted: 27 Jun 2013 06:21 Post Subject:

My medical bills plus lost wages were paid for by PIP. We were told that we will have to reinburse that money to the insurance company

I have to backtrack on my prior post concerning subrogation of PIP. The law in Kansas is somewhat convoluted. The current collection of PIP statutes indicates that $4500 in medical payments must be available, and the $4500 might not be subject to subrogation, but the excess of $11255 definitely is subject to subrogation.

Posted: 27 Jun 2013 07:11 Post Subject: Settlement

We have a contingency agreement with our attorney. We feel that he is not presenting a strong enough case for us. My husband has three screws permanently placed in his knee. Attorney says he can't get future medical for that. As for the permanent injury and ongoing pain in my thumb, $74,701.00 after all expenses paid, I think is not enough.

Posted: 27 Jun 2013 08:35 Post Subject:

You can always consult another attorney -- usually at no cost. If that attorney believes he/she can do a better job for you, they will advise how to terminate your agreement with the other attorney. But you will probably owe that former attorney something for the a "work" he has done to date.

If a civil suit has already been filed, a simple substitution of counsel form will take care of changing your representation in court.

It's your case, and your prerogative to change counsel. It just won't be "free" to do that. If you don't have cash to pay off the existing attorney, you may have to give him a lien for a small %% of your settlement -- on top of what the new attorney will take.

Fun, isn't it?

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