Visitor Question

Is this a fair settlement for accident with uninsured driver?

Submitted By: Helen (Norfolk,VA)

I was in a car accident and suffered whiplash and headaches after the event. The at-fault driver didn’t have insurance so of course I had to pay my insurance coverage’s $500 dollar deductible just to get my car repaired.

All my bills total over $2,000 and my insurance company called me with a settlement of $3,900. I need to know if that’s a fair settlement (not to mention these bills have gone to collection). Thanks for any direction you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Helen,

If the $3900 dollar figure represents medical bills and not property damage it might be a reasonable settlement amount. Insurance companies have computerized methods of arriving at settlement amounts, but there is always a human factor involved in the decision.

If the injuries you suffered were limited to whiplash and headaches your injuries were classified as “soft tissue” injuries. Normally the settlement amount for soft tissue injuries is anywhere from 1.5x to 2x, and possibly 3x the amount of medical bills. The multiple is used as a means of incorporating lost wages, if any, out of pocket expenses for prescriptions, over the counter medications etc. and your pain and suffering.

Broken bones, damaged organs, and other equally serious injuries are classified as “hard injuries”. The multiple used to settle hard injuries can be a multiple of 3x, 4x, 5x and higher.

If you didn’t incur any lost wages, and your out of pocket expenses were minimal, then $3900 sounds like a fair offer. If you did incur lost wages or your out of pocket expenses were substantially high, the settlement offer of $3900 might be arguable.

From the settlement offer it appears the insurance company is using a multiple of approximately 2. That sounds reasonable under the circumstances.

It would be perfectly appropriate for you to respond to their offer with a counter-offer of $5000 dollars. If you can settle anywhere in between those amounts you will have done well.

Before settling make sure you are fully healed and have exhausted all the necessary medical and therapeutic treatment. Once you settle and sign the insurance company release you won’t be able to go back and ask for more.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: December 20, 2012

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