Visitor Question

Hit by a driver with a .21 blood alcohol level, who ran from the scene…

Submitted By: Travis (Rocky Mount, NC, USA)

I was side swiped by a drunk driver. He had a .21 blood alcohol level and also ran from the scene. But he was caught and charged with DWI. The crash resulted in a neck and back injury to me. I went to the chiropractor and to physical therapy for over 2 months. I still have persistent back pain to this day, which limits my physical activities.

I was wondering what would be a reasonable settlement amount for a case like this? How does the fact he was drunk and ran from the scene affect my claim? I also missed over a week of work. Thank you.

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 Travis,

The intoxicated driver’s actions in fleeing the scene, while abhorrent, will not serve to increase any settlement you might expect to receive. Rather, the driver’s fleeing from the scene serves to eliminate any reason the driver’s insurance company might have to dispute liability.

Your injuries are referred to as “soft tissue.” Soft tissue injuries are normally sprains and strains (to muscles, ligaments, and tendons), whiplash, backaches, minor cuts and abrasions, and the like. More serious “hard injures’ can include head trauma, fractures, disk herniation, 2nd or 3rd degree burns, and the like.

For the purposes of settling your claim, your soft tissue injuries are not worth as much as a settlement for hard injuries would be.

In your case, to determine a reasonable settlement amount, take the total amount of your chiropractic bills and multiply them by anywhere from 1.5 to about 3x. It is very unlikely your claim would settle for much more than that. Once again, the intoxicated driver’s actions will not serve to increase your settlement.

Settlement amounts are based on type and extent of injuries and related damages, including medical and chiropractic bills, out-of-pocket expenses (for medications, bandages, costs of transportation to and from treatment, etc.), lost wages, and pain and suffering.

By multiplying your chiropractic bills by 1.5 – 3x, you will come to an amount that represents your entire damages. For example, let’s say your chiropractic bills are $2,000, your out-of-pocket expenses $100, and your lost wages $600.

By multiplying your chiropractic bills by 3x, you will arrive at $6,000, plus $700 for expenses and lost wages. If the claim settles for $6,700, you would subtract out your chiropractic bills, out of pocket expenses, and lost wages. That would be $6,700 minus $2,700.00 leaving $4,000 for your pain and suffering.

It’s unlikely you’ll settle your claim for your first demand. There will be some negotiating with the insurance adjuster. Be patient and persistent, but open to compromise.

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 22, 2014

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