How much money should I demand for settlement after back surgery?
I was involved in a car accident (Van) in June 2015. A driver texting backed out of a parking space and slammed into my driver's side door, pushing my car about 20 feet. I was taken to the hospital via ambulance with neck pain.
I received treatment from a chiropractor (20 visits), and the MRI showed a herniated disc at L5 lower back, and 3 bulging discs in my neck. I received numerous epidural injections, with nerve blocks in both my neck and back.
Finally had Microdiscectomy surgery on my back in Nov 2015. My doctor said I would most likely have chronic pain in my neck for the rest of my life. The other insurance company accepted 100% fault with $1,000,000 policy coverage. I am now ready to settle my case.
What would be a good settlement to send in a demand letter? Is there anything I should watch out for during the settlement process? Any tips and information would be appreciated. Thank you.
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ANSWER for "How much money should I demand for settlement after back surgery?":
Stop and think before agreeing to any settlement offer!
Did you take the deposition of the driver? Doing so may have uncovered prior accidents, traffic citations, arrests, and other information required to bolster your position for arguing negligence.
How about policy limits? How do you know $1,000,000 is the driver's policy limits? Have you issued any interrogatories, or sent out requests for production of insurance company documents, including inculpatory statements made by the driver?
Probably not...only an attorney can take those actions.
Moreover, what will you do after you make a settlement demand and the insurance company says "No"? You have no leverage. While you may think the insurance company is acting fairly and in your best interests, they are certainly not. Their duty is to the corporation and its shareholders. Part of that duty requires the company’s claims adjusters to pay as little as they can.
There is nothing illegal or inherently wrong with that. It's just business.
If you haven't realized it by now, you are at a severe disadvantage. The underlying circumstances and severity of your injuries require a review of your claim by an experienced personal injury attorney.
Personal injury attorneys are trained to do everything possible to secure the highest settlement amount for their clients. To help you decide whether or not you need an attorney, read this article.
The leverage attorneys have includes not only experience and superior negotiating skills, but the threat of filing of a lawsuit. That’s something insurance companies don't like...and something you can't do.
Gather your medical and chiropractic records and bills and seek out several personal injury attorneys in your area. Most injury attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations.
Because you are currently handling your own claim, it is implied you either don’t trust attorneys, or think you can negotiate a higher net settlement amount without an attorney's help. You are wrong on both counts. In a permanent injury case like yours, hiring an injury attorney is the only realistic option.
Once you have visited with several personal injury attorneys you will have a better idea of the strength of your claim, the amount of time it will take to settle, whether trial will be necessary, the probability of success, and a general idea of the settlement amount or court award you can expect.
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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