Rear ended by drunk motorcyclist...

by Jason
(Normal, IL)

My wife was rear ended by a drunk driver on a motorcycle. Witnesses at the scene said the driver took off at a high rate of speed about 2 blocks away. When they arrived at the scene he had already rear ended my wife. She was at a stand still waiting to make a left turn into our subdivision.

She has suffered a knee bruise, shoulder injuries, and her mental state was bad for about a week. She was mostly traumatized by seeing the biker laid out on the ground. This happened at 8pm at night, so it has been hard for her to drive at night. She had to miss one day of work and I had to miss a day of work to help her out.

As of now her medical bills are about $500 and loss wages are about $250. The insurance company admitted 100% liability but only offered my wife $750. My wife requested $1500. They have sent the check and papers to sign for the $1500. I refused to sign them and we are returning the check. Can we retract the offer?

I felt she had a claim for about 8 to 10 thousand dollars. My wife is still under treatment, she has not been able to fully care for our 2 children, she finds herself crying at work, and is having trouble sleeping. She just wanted to get this over with is the reason for the $1500 settlement. What are our options here? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Rear ended by drunk motorcyclist...":

Jason (Normal IL):

Unfortunately, some people believe a relatively minor collision resulting in very low medical bills and related costs should result in a very high settlement. That just doesn't happen.

Your wife should not consider settling the claim until she is quite sure all her injuries are healed, or that she has reached a point of maximum medical improvement (MMI), meaning it is unlikely further medical or therapeutic care will significantly improve her condition.

It is essential your wife know exactly what her "damages" will be. Damages can include her medical and therapy bills, out-of-pocket costs related to the incident, lost wages, and in this case, her emotional distress. Here's a more in-depth look at everything you can claim for damages.

From the facts you present, your wife is still undergoing treatment. To settle the claim without completing her treatment would be inappropriate. Instead, she should wait until she is fully healed or has reached MMI.

Because her medical bills to date are quite low, this means her injuries were likely "soft tissue." Soft tissue injuries normally include bruises, including those to knees and shoulders, minor cuts and abrasions, whiplash and sprains to muscles, ligaments, or tendons, and other similar injuries.

More serious "hard injuries" can be fractures, brain concussions, 3rd degree burns, and deep cuts requiring multiple stitches and scarring, and the like.

Soft tissue injuries normally settle for at the most about 2-3 times the costs of the injured party's medical bills, and more frequently, 1 to 1.5 times medical bills.

For your wife to be compensated for her emotional trauma would require a psychological or psychiatric narrative confirming her emotional distress and trauma are the direct and exclusive result of the collision. If you want to convince the insurance company to pay additional compensation, that narrative will be necessary.

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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TYPE OF ACCIDENT
AUTO ACCIDENT
PERSONAL INJURY
WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDICAL ERROR
YES! I WANT FAIR COMPENSATION