Semi truck driver left scene of highway rear end accident...
I was the passenger in a vehicle that was rear ended on the highway by an 18 wheeler on August 19, 2015. We were slowing down quickly due to an accident ahead. The semi hit us & another vehicle and just kept going.
The highway patrol report shows a diagram of the accident based upon witness statements & the stopping point of the vehicles involved. We were taken by ambulance to the ER & treated & released.
I had a neck sprain & back spasms, along with orthostatic hypotension. I was given an IV to rehydrate, morphine & anti-nausea medication before being released. I live in Ohio but the accident was in TN (I was returning from dropping my son off for college in Texas). My family doctor kept me off work for 8 days.
The insurance company covering the accident is from the driver of the car I was in, since the semi never stopped. They are stating they will pay my medical & out of pocket expenses, but have not mentioned pain & suffering. The total is $9750 ($7750 medical & $2000 out of pocket including time off work).
I feel this is super low considering the pain & terror of such an accident. What sounds like a reasonable amount to start with? How can I get them to cover pain and suffering? Is there anything else I can do? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Semi truck driver left scene of highway rear end accident...":
Jerri (Dayton, OH):
When as a result of negligence a person is injured, the injured person has a right to be reimbursed for their damages. Damages can include medical and therapy bills, out of pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The driver’s insurance company may be hesitating to pay for your pain and suffering because the driver (their insured) may not have been negligent. Without negligence, there is an argument the driver is not responsible for your damages, whether just medical bills, or more.
However, if the insurance company is agreeing to pay your medical bills and out of pocket expenses, than they are tacitly accepting responsibility for the actions of their insured. As a result, you have a right to ask for compensation for your pain and suffering.
While there is no objective formula for determining the exact amount of compensation to be paid for any one accident, a traditional method is to take your medical bills and multiply them by a factor which is appropriate for the type of injuries sustained.
In your case, your injuries were rather serious. As a result, it would not be inappropriate to ask for a multiple of 3-4x. At 4 times your medicals, a reasonable demand for settlement, including an amount for pain and suffering would be $39,000.
If the insurance company won't agree to pay that amount, you can come down to 3 times medicals, equaling $29,250. Using the multiple method is an excellent way to negotiate your injury claim. Review these negotiation articles to learn how to handle this aspect of the claims process.
You would also be well advised to seek the advice and counsel of several personal injury attorneys in your area. Most injury attorneys will not charge for an initial office consultation.
Gather copies of your medical bills, tests, records, and copies of receipts for your out of pocket expenses, photos of the wreck, and a copy of the police report. After visiting with several personal injury attorneys in your area, you will have a better idea of the viability of your claim.
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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