Hit and run accident with knee injury... what do I settle for?

by Leila
(Columbia, SC)

I was in a hit and run car accident which resulted in a damaged meniscus. The other driver was at fault, and was caught. His insurance is obviously going to cover medical bills and the damage to my vehicle. They're bringing up settling and I'm not sure what is an appropriate amount to settle for.

This was my first accident and I just don't know what should exactly happen as far as settlement goes. I did not hire a lawyer, because my family and the police officer assured me that I didn't need one and it would just be a waste of money.

But I still have questions before I discuss settlement and none of them can answer them. How much is a case like mine worth? What do I need to know about negotiating with the insurance company? Is the case worth more because the driver left the scene? Thank you for any information you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Hit and run accident with knee injury... what do I settle for?":

Leila (Columbia, SC):

The meniscus is a piece of cartilage in your knee which cushions and stabilizes the knee joint. It protects the bones from wear and tear. There are 3 basic types of meniscus injuries:

1) A minor tear - In a minor tear there is slight pain and swelling. This usually passes in 2 or 3 weeks.

2) A moderate tear - In a moderate tear there is pain at the side or center of the knee. Swelling slowly worsens over 2 or 3 days.

3) A severe tear - In a severe tear pieces of the torn meniscus can move into the space. This can make the knee catch, pop, or lock. It may become very difficult to to straighten it. The knee may feel "wobbly" or give way without warning. It may swell and stiffen right after the injury or within 2 or 3 days.

There are several ways attorneys calculate settlement demand amounts in personal injury claims. The most common way is to use a multiple system.

A multiple system works like this:

In your case, if the injury was a minor tear it is considered a "soft tissue" injury. Soft tissue injury multiples will take all your medical bills and multiply them by a factor of 1.5x-3x. The demand you make is meant to cover your medical bills, lost wages, out of pocket expenses, and pain and suffering.

The more severe your meniscus injury, the higher the multiple. For example, in a moderate meniscus tear the multiple may rise to 3x-4x, and with a severe meniscus tear rise to 5x.

However, today insurance companies have a sophisticated computer program called Colossus, which evaluates car accident claims.

Colossus considers some preliminary matters before looking at your individual case. It considers whether an attorney will settle in similar cases, or take the case to trial, as well as other factors, including the state and even the county where the accident occurred.

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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