How much compensation for pain and suffering in rear end collision?
In June 2015 I was stopped in traffic when I was rear ended by a driver going approx 50 mph. The impact forced my vehicle into the vehicle in front of me, thus "sandwiching" me. The driver of the vehicle that hit me was texting while driving but was not cited for that, only placed at fault. The collision occurred in NC.
The impact forced my chest into the steering wheel, causing the steering wheel to collapse and forcing my right knee into the dashboard of the car. Because I was not aware at first that I had been hit I thought that my 2012 Toyota RAV4 had somehow malfunctioned and caused me to hit the car in front of me.
I hit the brakes as hard as I could and held on for dear life. Only after a bystander came over and asked me how I was did I learn I had been rear ended. I asked the bystander what happened and she informed me that the vehicle that hit me did not try to stop.
My car was declared a total loss and I have been compensated for the vehicle. I declined transport to the hospital as the only discomfort I had at that time was from my chest hitting the steering wheel. I called my doctor and was instructed to go the the ER due to concerns of possible internal injuries to the chest.
I did so and was examined and had CT scans of the chest and neck showing no internal injuries. At that time I did not experience any pain in my knee.
The next day my right knee hurt some and a few days later I could not bear weight on my right leg. I experienced extreme difficulty and pain in going up and down stairs, getting up from a seated position, going to a seated position from standing and getting in and out of bed. I also was unable to kneel.
I saw my MD and was given a cortisone injection to reduce the swelling. There was no improvement so I received a second injection a few weeks later. There was still no improvement so I consulted an orthopedic surgeon.
The orthopedic surgeon diagnosed Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, prescribed anti-inflammatory and pain medication, and referred me for physical therapy. I participated in physical therapy on a weekly basis for approx five months. I also did the exercises at home two days per week.
I was ultimately discharged from physical therapy as they had taught me all the exercises possible, although I had not returned to my previous level of zero pain in performing the activities of daily living. I have continued those exercises and added yoga. I no longer take any medication for my knee as it makes no difference in my pain level.
I am now able to kneel with slight pain, am able to go downstairs with slight pain, go upstairs with moderate pain, move from a standing position to a seated position with slight pain, stand from a seated position with moderate pain, get out of bed with slight pain, get into bed with moderate pain, and stand from a kneeling position with moderate pan and a need to lean on some type of support.
I am 65 years of age with a life expectancy of another 20 to 25 years. I am fully aware that since after 16 months my knee has improved as much as it ever will, I will continue to have this level of pain for the remainder of my life.
My medical bills totaled $12, 571. The insurance company has offered to compensate me for my medical costs plus $5000 for pain and suffering, for a total of $17,571. I believe that I should be compensated at least $20,000 to $25,000 for pain and suffering. What is reasonable here? How can I get them to raise their offer?
Thank you for your response.
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ANSWER for "How much compensation for pain and suffering in rear end collision?":
Beth (Mooresville, NC):
According to the Mayo Clinic, Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome is pain in the front of the knee around the kneecap (patella). It frequently occurs in teenagers, manual laborers, and athletes. It is caused by wearing down, roughening, or softening of the cartilage under the kneecap.
Sometimes called "runner's knee," it's more common in people who participate in sports involving running and jumping. The knee pain often increases when running, walking up or down stairs, sitting for long periods, or squatting. It is rare for Patellofemoral pain syndrome to appear suddenly, and especially as a result of a car accident. It is likely you had the syndrome prior to the car accident.
Relatively simple treatments such as rest and ice often help, but sometimes physical therapy is needed to ease the pain.
It is curious why the airbags in your SUV did not deploy as you hit the car in front of you. The insurance company's offer of $17,571 is low. That amount represents about 1 1/2 times the amount of your medical bills, and is meant to cover those medical bills, related expenses, your lost wages (if any), and your pain and suffering.
Your injury is to the soft tissue of your knee. Insurance companies often settle soft tissue injury claims for anywhere from 1.5 to 2x, or most, about 3x the amount of medical bills. A credible and legitimate counter-offer could be an amount representing 3 times your medical bills, or $37,713.
It is unlikely the insurance company will agree to pay that amount, however it is a reasonable counter-offer. You can negotiate down from there.
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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