Amount for prolonged pain?

by Phyllis
(Eugene, Oregon)

In December of 2012 we were driving when a car ahead of us pulled into a driveway. It then backed up to turn around and in the process the driver backed into our car. I had neck and shoulder injuries due to the accident. I went to therapy to treat the injuries for about 6 months.

I still have some pain at times in the area that was injured. The at-fault driver's insurance company called and offered a settlement for my pain and suffering. I want to know if what they offered is fair. How do I determine an appropriate amount for the pain I went through during 6 months of treatment and for the pain I still have? How does time factor into my settlement demand for pain and suffering? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Amount for prolonged pain?":

Phyllis (Eugene, Oregon):

The traditional manner in which most attorneys calculate personal injury settlement demands is to multiply the victim's medical bills by anywhere from 3x - 4x, or for more serious injuries, 5x and above.

Settlements for "soft tissue" injuries like yours normally settle for two to three times the amount of medical bills. The multiple system is intended to cover and include medical bills, out of pocket expenses, lost wages, and your pain and suffering, also referred to as mental anguish or emotional distress.

More serious "hard injuries" normally settle in the higher range. Hard injuries include broken bones, deep gashes and severe abrasions, head trauma, other like injuries.

In your case it doesn't sound as if you have any medical bills, or if you do, they are minimal. Insurance companies normally don't "respect" chiropractic therapy as highly compensable, certainly not as high as actual medical bills.

Therapy is normally much less intense than medical treatment. As a result, you can be confident the insurance company will respond to any demand you might make by offering you 1 1/2 to 2 times your medical bills as a settlement offer. You'll have to negotiate to find a fair middle ground you both can agree to.

While you should consult with a personal injury attorney, you might be better off handling the claim yourself. In your case, there may not be enough to cover attorneys fees, costs of therapy, and finally, you for your pain and suffering. Meet with an attorney and see what they say.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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