Broken arm from getting hit by red light runner... how much can I expect?
I was hit by a red light runner, which resulting in me sustaining a broken arm. Both my young children were in the car but only sustained bruises. Our medical bills (with insurance coverage) are at $4,200 and we are still waiting for more bills to come in. I can't use my arm without it hurting so I can't bathe my kids, change them, pick them up, etc.
On top of it all, I now have very bad anxiety and panic attacks at every single stop sign/intersection that I stop at and drive through. How much should we expect to get, 3-4 times my bills? How do I go about negotiating with the insurance company? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Broken arm from getting hit by red light runner... how much can I expect?":
Cassandra (Mesa, Arizona):
Most insurance companies today rely on sophisticated computer programs to determine the amount of compensation they will pay to a victim in personal injury claim. While using a multiple of 3 - 4x sounds reasonable, ultimately you will only be paid what the insurance company decides to pay, and no more.
Unfortunately, bad anxiety and panic attacks do not qualify as factors upon which the insurance company will provide additional compensation.
Without medical proof that your increased anxiety and panic attacks were directly linked to the accident, you have little or no chance of convincing the insurance company to reimburse your for those events.
For a person representing herself in a personal injury claim, the amount of compensation they can expect to receive will be wholly dependent upon the results of the insurance company's program.
You may believe you are negotiating quite well, and the claims adjuster may even lead you to believe you are a terrific negotiator, but the reality is you will receive whatever amount the insurance company wants to pay. It's "take it or leave it."
Why? Well, the insurance company knows you have no leverage. And if you don't accept the amount they are offering, they just won't pay you. That's more money for them, and none for you.
You have two (2) options:
First - Do your best to negotiate a settlement using a multiplier of 3 - 4x medicals.
Second - Retain a personal injury attorney to represent you. There is an entirely different set of rules when victims are represented by attorneys. Attorneys can file lawsuits, enter into pretrial discovery, take depositions, subpoena witnesses, send interrogatories and requests for production of documents, engage in multiple court hearings, and more; all to further your interests.
These are all matters insurance companies want desperately to avoid. As a result, in most cases, attorneys are able to either settle their client's claim, or succeed in a trial and obtain a court award for amounts well beyond what their client might have hoped to achieve on her own.
You can be confident if you are represented by an attorney, your net settlement or court award after trial will be substantially more than you can achieve on your own, even after the attorney's fees are taken out.
Visit with several personal injury attorneys in your area. Most will not charge you for an initial office consultation. Once the attorneys review the underlying facts, and question you, they will be better be able to advise you of the approximate time it will take to finalize the claim, the probability of having to go to trial, the probability of a successful resolution, an approximate amount of compensation you may receive.
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,
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