Concerned about future medical issues and unsure about settlement offer...

by Albert
(Portland, OR, USA)

I was in a 25mph collision on 12/11/13, with a drunk driver who ran a stop sign and tried to turn left in front of me. My front driver side bumper collided with his front driver side corner. He fled the scene and we chased him until he stopped and the police apprehended him. He had no insurance.

My passengers received minor back and neck injuries for which they receive massage weekly to this day. My injuries were minor with a neck sprain and a precautionary visit to the doctor. I missed one day at work ($511), had a doctors visit ($225), and paid for a prescription ($4).

Vehicle repairs were covered under my uninsured motorist insurance. I paid the $100 deductible, and approximately $4500 was paid by my insurance company. I was offered a settlement of $1490. Is that fair? I feel ok for the most part, but worry that my neck injury may rear an uglier head in the future.

I also worry that the damage to my vehicle, or record of the accident, may affect the future resale value. Is there a way to re-coop expected future losses?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Concerned about future medical issues and unsure about settlement offer...":

Albert (Portland, OR, USA):

From the facts you present it appears the insurance company paid $4,500.00 dollars for the repairs to your car, and $740 for your treatment. At this point it’s really too late to receive future compensation for possible diminished future resale value. But that may not be the case for the compensation offered for your injuries.

The manner in which many personal injury claims are settled by attorneys and insurance companies is by a multiple system.

For “soft tissue” injuries such as minor neck and back injuries, claims are settled for about two, and sometimes three times the amount of the victim’s medical bills. It’s closer to one and a half to two times when the treatment was primarily or fully therapeutic.

These days most insurance companies use a sophisticated computer program to evaluate and settle personal injury claims. The program mimics the multiple system, but also incorporates whether the victim has an attorney, and if so, the attorney's record of settling claims or winning them at trial.

In your case, the offer to settle of $1490 represents about two times your medical or chiropractic bills. If your treatment was primarily chiropractic (chiropractors, massages, and the like) then $1490 is about right. If your bills were primarily medical, then you may be able to settle for another $500 or so.

Try and convince the insurance company to pay you $2,000. That is a reasonable amount for your injuries, especially if treatment was medical, and not therapeutic. And you can always get a free consultation with an attorney.

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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