Fair Settlement for Minor Head Injury in Rear End Collision?
(St Louis, MO)
I was at a T intersection waiting for an opening during rush hour traffic to enter on to a busy one-way service road. I had been sitting there waiting for a good 30 seconds on a clear day when I was rear-ended by another driver.
She stated to me and to the Police that she was looking to her left for an opening as she approached the intersection (and not looking straight ahead). She caused a good deal of damage to the car. I'm not sure yet on the cost of the property damage, if it will be totaled, etc.
I was thrown forward into the visor and have a half inch cut on my forehead, also a bump on my head (different spot than the cut), and I have some minor bruising on the left side of my forehead.
The insurance company is claiming they will pay to repair the car. It's in the shop now. They are also offering to send me a check for $200 for my head injury. I don't think it needs stitches, although it is probably borderline on that.
My questions are:
Is $200 and signing a release a fair amount for my relatively minor head injury? And if my car is totaled, do you know if the insurance company pays the Kelly Blue Book price, or how does that work? I live in Missouri.
I have a big concern on the car because it's a 2004 but runs like brand new, with no mechanical issues. I've owned it since it was brand new and have always taken good care of it. It's a Honda, so you can imagine it runs well. Prior to the collision, it didn't even have a door ding yet, no rust, etc.
I'm afraid if it is totaled, I won't be able to replace it with something as mechanically sound. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Fair Settlement for Minor Head Injury in Rear End Collision?":
Dale (St Louis, MO):
Let's talk about the car first. You may not like what I am going to tell you. Regrettably, when an insurance company claims adjuster decides to total a car they are only required to pay the fair market value of the car. They sometimes refer to the N.A.D.A. (National Automobile Dealers Association) book, or to Kellys Blue Book.
These days sometime claims adjusters take a look on the Internet to see various used car sites as well.
You will only be offered what the adjuster believes the car is worth. These days you don't have to settle for that amount though. With sites like Craigslist and other transparent classified car sales areas you should be able to research what Hondas like yours are worth, especially ones in the same shape as yours.
Compile that evidence. Print out or assemble on your computer those comparisons. Make sure the adjuster has those in hand. Although the adjuster doesn't have great discretion in making settlement offers, she does have enough to raise the offer she makes.
If you have photographs of your car use those as well. And if you have receipts for new tires, or engine repairs submit those to the adjuster also.
What it comes down to is your "out-researching" the adjuster. Use that information to convince the adjuster to pay you what you believe is fair.
Regarding a head injury, you should always see a doctor after head trauma, no matter how minor. It's impossible to say if the settlement offer was fair without knowing how serious your head injury was or how much your medical bills will be.
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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