How to verify your attorney is asking for the correct settlement?

by Wynston
(Raleigh, NC)

We hired an attorney for a car accident. The other driver is 100% at fault. The injury is a broken wrist across the radius and ulna bone on the dominant hand. The radius also sheered off on the distal end requiring surgery, plate, and 7 screws.

After 3 months of PT and 4.5 months after surgery, the Ortho Surgeon declared Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). There is still another 12 months of continued personal physical therapy. Damage is permanent and will require the plate to be in for life. Arthritis has already set in and environmental changes trigger additional pain (cold and rain).

There is an estimated 10-20% loss of motion permanently. Activities that will no longer be able to participate in with kids are anything to do with holding equipment: tennis racket, lacrosse stick, bat, etc. The wrist is not strong enough to protect the torque. It is not certain that this will ever be possible.

Total medical bills are ~$22,000 based on our documentation. It is impossible to know for certain because we get about 30 different bills from the ER. Our attorney pulled them all and will have the real number. Lost wages is $2,500. Lost future wages is estimated at $7,500 (2 days per year, $250 per day, 15 years). Future medical bills would amount to the same $7,500 estimate.

At a high level, I am trying to understand the estimate of the settlement range. Based on the calculator method and estimates, we should be using a multiplier of 5-7x (whether that is accurate, I am not sure). For a range, this would be ($22,000 medical bills + $2,500 lost wages + $7,500 future medical + $7,500 future lost wages) ~$40,000.

Low End (3x)= $120,000
High End (6x) = $240,000

For checks and balances purposes, does this seem reasonable and/or accurate? I don't want to be blind if the attorney comes back with an offer of $50,000. Any information and perspective you can give would be appreciated.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "How to verify your attorney is asking for the correct settlement?":

Wynston (Raleigh, NC):

It is our policy here at Injury Claim Coach not to interfere with the attorney-client privilege. To do so would be wholly inappropriate.

Generally speaking, when it comes to serious injuries, attorneys have several methods of calculating settlement demands. Insurance companies used to pay anywhere from 4 to 7 times medicals or higher in serious injury claims.

Today, those payouts have substantially declined. Unless the collision involved catastrophic injuries, insurance company settlement offers are rarely much higher than about 4 times medicals.

Moreover, unless the at-fault driver had substantially high limits on his or her insurance policy, you would have to pursue the driver personally for any amounts over policy limits.

In North Carolina, auto insurance minimum liability limits are 30/60/25, meaning: $30,000 for injuries to one person, $60,000 for injuries to two or more persons, and $25,000 for property damage.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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