How do I determine a settlement for missing school and losing my job?

by Sammy
(Silver Spring, MD)

I am in the process of trying to reach a settlement for my car accident. The insurance company has asked me to give a dollar value that I would put on my case. I am having difficulty determining how to get a value before they offer anything.

In October 2015, I was rear ended on the interstate. The person that hit was herself uninsured, but her vehicle was insured under her mother's insurance. There was $1200 in damages to my car and I when I went to the doctor I was diagnosed with a sprained back and began going to chiropractic treatment.

I was unable to work and eventually lost my job as a result. I am a college student and had to withdraw from one of my classes in the middle of the semester from doctor's appointments and symptoms that I learned were from Post-Concussion Syndrome.

I had to go inactive in my sorority and move out of the house, finding new living accommodations. I haven't been able to do internships these past two semesters. I have had to withdraw from another course this semester because of post concussive symptoms and will have to take summer classes or even an extra semester if I am not able to take the necessary courses then.

My lost wages total approximately $1200, before I was fired for my inability to work. My medical bills were upwards of $7800 from chiropractor and neurologist appointments. It would cost me $8,800 with housing to take classes over the summer and if I am unable to take my 15 credit course load this fall and spring (my senior year in college), I will have to take an extra semester which would be another $9,200.

Would I just add up all of these damages to get the number for the settlement? How do I calculate how the accident has disrupted my daily life? Any tips or information you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "How do I determine a settlement for missing school and losing my job?":

Sammy (Silver Spring, MD):

Insurance companies are businesses. The claims adjuster you have been dealing with, no matter how apparently sympathetic, is an employee of the company. The adjuster's job is to settle your injury claim for as little as possible. It's just good business.

Moreover, insurance companies do not increase settlement offers based on anything but reasonable medical and chiropractic treatment, out of pocket expenses (such as medications, slings, crutches, etc.), lost wages, and a relative amount for pain and suffering.

You list the following as reasons to increase your settlement demand:

- Having to withdraw from one of your classes

- Inability to remain active in your sorority

- Inability to do internships

- Necessity of withdrawing from another course

- Having to take summer classes or even an extra semester

- $8,800 for housing to take classes over the summer

The amount of $7800 for chiropractic and neurologist appointments will be considered by the insurance company as a basis for settlement. However, the company will closely scrutinize your chiropractic bills.

Insurance companies are hesitant to pay for extended chiropractic treatment. In many cases, these companies believe extended chiropractic treatment is unnecessary, and is nothing more than glorified massage.

A reasonable settlement demand would be a multiple of your medical and chiropractic bills. A reasonable multiple to start would be 3 to 4. Don't be surprised if the insurance company offers anywhere from 1 ½ to 2 times. You'd be well advised to seek the advice of a personal injury attorney.

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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