Visitor Question

Drunk Driver Causes 3 Car Pile Up…

Submitted By: Christine (Virginia)

I was a passenger in the first vehicle in a 3 car pile up. We were the first truck at a red light. A SUV slammed into a sedan and knocked it into the truck I was in. The two cars behind us were totaled. The at fault driver of the SUV was drunk.

I suffered shoulder pain and lower back pain but I did not go to the doctor. I missed one day at work and had to reschedule a client. I am a realtor. The insurance company is offering me $500 to settle ($250 for over the counter meds and $250 for lost wages).

Is this a fair and reasonable settlement?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Christine,

It’s important to be realistic when considering personal injury settlement amounts. By the tone of your question it appears you are as intelligent as you are practical.

It doesn’t look like your vehicle suffered any property damage and you really didn’t suffer any substantial personal injuries (if so, it’s a different story).

You know better than anyone if the day you took off really cost you any money. If you were an hourly wage earner and lost a day’s wages it would be different.

Extrapolating the possibilities of any lost economic opportunity it is conceivable on that one day you missed work a listing of a $3 million dollar home went to the next realtor “up”.

Or as a result of the day off, the young couple who you were scheduled to show a home to became upset and sought another realtor, resulting in a lost commission.

The reality is for professionals taking a day off usually won’t result in the loss of any substantial income.

With that said, if you didn’t have to see a physician or a chiropractor, and used the Advil or Tylenol already in your medicine cabinet, the $500 dollars seems a fair settlement amount.

Consider yourself fortunate to have been offered the $500 dollars. Many times, without doctors’ reports, prescription medication bills, verifiable lost wages and the like, the insurance companies won’t offer a penny. Even $500 dollars would have to be fought for.

You are making a good decision by accepting the $500 dollars. Be sure the insurance company refers to the settlement as one for personal injuries. That way the money won’t be subject to federal tax. If the check makes a reference to lost wages it would be taxable.

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

Best of luck,

Published: September 1, 2011

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