How can I get the responsible party to increase their settlement offer?

by Michael

While exiting off the highway I was rear-ended by a semi truck. After impact, my adrenaline was so elevated at the notion of saving my kids from the twisted metal that I had no symptoms of pain. However, the next day the pain was evident - 18hrs after the accident I went to the ER.

Two years later (as a direct result of the accident) I was diagnosed with having a herniated disc and possibly 2 deteriorating discs. My out-of-pocket medical is now up to $23k. The insurance company has offered me $35k.

I refused the offer because there is no price worth the agony that I am constantly feeling, nor the mental agony that my kids are enduring because I am unable to participate in their sporting events.

My opinion is that $35k wouldn't compensate the employment opportunity cost I have lost over these 2 years of being confined to limited desk duty. Frankly, my car, my life and my credit score all seem like they have been totaled.

I was expecting an offer of $100k. Is that reasonable or possible? The truck driver said that he may have fell asleep due to too many hours on the road. How can I get them to increase their offer of compensation? Thank you for any tips you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "How can I get the responsible party to increase their settlement offer?":

Michael (Ohio):

To convince the insurance company to increase their settlement offer will require you to prove that your pain, suffering and emotional distress was much greater than the insurance company currently believes it is. That's a very difficult task. From the facts you present, it appears you've already made that argument, but it fell on deaf ears.

You have another very difficult roadblock. The symptoms of your injury took almost two years to appear and diagnose, and that diagnosis was a herniated disc and "possibly" two deteriorating discs.

If you don't know by now whether or not you have two deteriorating disks, and don't have medical proof to support such a claim, then the insurance company will likely ignore your claim of "possibly" and remain steadfast in their offer.

Because you weren't diagnosed for almost two years after the accident, the insurance company will logically presume there may have been intervening factors which caused your injuries. Even you can't tell for sure whether or not during the last two years you may have injured your back.

Unfortunately, from the facts you present, the insurance company's offer sounds fair. Under the circumstances, especially the delay in the onset of symptoms, the insurance company would not have been wrong to offer only your medical bills, and no more.

If you don't agree, then speak with a personal injury attorney in your area. He or she will review your claim and decide whether or not he or she can secure a settlement offer from the insurance company high enough to net you more than $35,000 (after attorneys fees and cost are deducted).

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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