Car Accident Claim Questions...

by Lacey

My fiance and I were recently involved in a car wreck that left me with a sprained spine and severe whiplash. My neck hurts all of the time along with my back. My fiance ended up with a broken ankle in 4 places.

We were actually on our way to get my books from the college to start my spring semester when the wreck happened. As a result of the wreck, my back and neck hurt so bad I wasn't able to go to school, which ended in the loss of my grants and loans which totaled up to be about $6,000.

My fiance is unable to walk without crutches and needs surgery. He is unable to find/get work because he can no longer walk.

Now with all that being said, my question is, in what range do you think our injury compensation will be? I know there's no way to tell an exact amount but a ballpark range would be helpful. When I talk to the bodily injury insurance adjuster about making offers what should I say?

Any info you have would be appreciated. Thanks!

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Car Accident Claim Questions...":

Lacey (Texas):

First, add up all of your medical bills separately. Your settlement will be different than that of your fiance.

Although there are several ways to approximate settlement amounts, the most common is the "multiple" system. That's taking your medical bills and multiplying them by anywhere from 1.5x - 5x. The multiple can go higher than 5x for devastating or life altering injuries.

A sprained spine is still considered a "soft tissue" injury. Soft tissue injuries are usually less serious than those which involve broken bones, or worse, damaged organs, amputations, or similar extremely serious injuries.

Although a sprained spine and whiplash might be persistent in the pain and discomfort they afford their victims, those injuries normally don't require consistent and repetitive medical treatment. The treatment for those injuries is usually a good deal of rest. As a result your medical bills may not be very high.

You didn't mention whether you were the innocent victims of the collision or whether your were at fault. If you were the victims of an at-fault driver there is a better chance of recovering a higher settlement from the at-fault driver's insurance company. That settlement would possibly include compensation for the medical bills, out of pocket expenses such as prescription and over the counter medications, lost wages, and an additional amount for pain and suffering.

In the alternative if you or your fiance were the at-fault drivers and are attempting to arrive at a settlement with your own insurance company, the settlement amount won't be as high. That's because your own insurance company will be very hesitant to include any noticeable amount for pain and suffering.

I don't have access to your fiance's or your medical diagnoses or prognoses. Because your soft tissue injuries don't seem to be as serious, a multiplier of 3x would be generous.

The reason multipliers are used is so that instead of attempting to come up with a settlement amount based solely on medical bills, out of pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, the multiplier in effect "absorbs" those different factors into one sum. The sheer impossibility of anyone being able to come up with a specific amount for "pain and suffering" is reason enough for the multiplier effect.

Your fiance's multiplier may be a little higher than yours as a result of the broken bones. That multiplier might be 4x or 5x.

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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Comments for Car Accident Claim Questions...

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Who do I file a claim against in a four car pile up?
by: Anonymous

The fourth car hit behind us, the car behind us hit our car, then we hit the car in front of us. Now who are we suppose to file a claim with? I have no idea.

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