Rear Ended by a Drunk Driver...

by Mark

About 7 months ago, my wife was stopped at a red light and a drunk driver rear-ended her at full speed. She had very bad headaches right away and her wrist starting hurting about a week later.

We also took pictures of other injuries, like her black eye, a knot on her elbow and bruises on her hands. She was in therapy for a total of 3 months and required surgery on her left wrist to remove ganglion cysts that formed.

She now has a 3 inch scar on her left wrist and still loses feeling in her left wrist on occasion. Her headaches after 3 months finally started to ease but she still has them a few times a week. Our MD said there is not much else we can do.

My wife is only 25 years old and we have two kids. Our total medical bills were roughly $10,000 and the lost wages were $4,500. The insurance company offered us $15,000 including pain and suffering. This seems pretty low considering the extreme negligence of their insured and the impact the injuries have had on my wife, myself, and our children.

What would be a good counter-offer?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Rear Ended by a Drunk Driver...":


We certainly hope your wife is feeling better. Under the facts and circumstances you have provided it does seem the settlement offer is quite low. Traditionally insurance company settlements take into account pain and suffering.

Because it is impossible to accurately determine an amount for pain and suffering the insurance companies have traditionally and over many years made offers of settlements anywhere from the actual amount of the medicals bills up to 3, 4 and sometimes 5 times the amount of actual medicals incurred.

Insurance companies would then take into account any of your wife’s lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of her injuries. These amounts are usually paid dollar for dollar and are not included in the calculations for medical bills reimbursement.

If your wife’s actions did not contribute to the collision and there were no additional mitigating circumstances it seems a better settlement offer, and thus your counter-offer might conservatively be about $30,000.

In addition to the $30,000 for the medical bills, you should add an additional $4,500 for lost wages. During the medical treatment and therapy your wife must also have incurred out-of-pocket expenses such as medicine, bandages, and even the parking lot fees paid while tending to her treatment.

For the sake of this discussion let’s say her out-of-pocket expenses amounted to $1,000. Add those as well. So your counter offer might more realistically be $30,000 + $4,500 + $1,000 for a total of $35,000.

Remember all of the assumptions made are based upon the limited information you have provided.

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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