Compensation for depression and anxiety after auto collision?

by Anonymous
(Georgia)

My wife and I were hit at an intersection by another driver running a red light. She received a citation for the infraction and the other insurance company has accepted responsibility. My wife went the emergency room for a CT scan, other treatment for soft tissue injuries to her neck and chest, and a hematoma on her lower leg.

I was recovering from a total knee replacement at the time, and took a hard rap on the knee. Pain was not bad immediately, but intensified over the next few days, requiring a visit to my Orthopedic Surgeon, resulting in a diagnosis of swelling and discoloration.

The pain and swelling, while decreasing, has lasted through two follow-up visits, and is still evident two months after the accident.

We were also forced to cancel vacation plans with my grandson, who had flown in from Texas for his annual summer vacation. My wife has subsequently suffered from anxiety attacks when riding in the car, to the point that it has become dangerously distracting to the driver; such anxiety has been witnessed by my grandson and both my daughters.

This anxiety has translated into a disrupted relationship with my wife of 51 years. I am an avid kayaker and fisherman, and I have not been able to enjoy either sport during these prime months of August and September (in this area).

Total medical payments to date are approximately $10,000. Our car was totaled, and payment was received of $3100 from other party's insurance carrier for it. What options do we have here? How much is our pain and suffering and loss of quality of life worth? Any information or direction you can give would be appreciated. Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Compensation for depression and anxiety after auto collision?":

Anonymous (Georgia):

Fortunately your injuries weren’t more serious. From the facts you present, you and your wife sustained "soft tissue" injuries. These normally include strains and sprains to muscles, tendons, and ligaments, minor abrasions, cuts and swelling, etc.

The amount of medical bills you have seem quite high for soft tissue injuries. You may be surprised to find the at-fault driver’s insurance company refusing to pay all the bills, especially if they include a substantial number of chiropractic visits.

In most cases, soft tissue injuries command settlements of about 2 – 3 times medical bills. It would not be unreasonable for you and your wife to write a demand letter to the insurance company for three times the amount of your combined medical and chiropractic bills. But keep in mind this is just a starting point for negotiations.

Learn more about how to write a demand letter here, and we also have a variety of sample demand letters. The "multiplier effect" is used to include compensation for not only medical and therapy bills, but for out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and for emotional distress. Hopefully you can get them to agree to pay at least twice the amount.

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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TYPE OF ACCIDENT
AUTO ACCIDENT
PERSONAL INJURY
WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDICAL ERROR
YES! I WANT FAIR COMPENSATION