SUV Rear Ended...

by Anonymous

I was sitting at a red light and got rear ended by the woman behind me. I was driving a SUV and she was driving a small car. She was not paying attention and at the last minute instead of hitting the brake she hit the gas.

My truck is totaled but luckily I did not have any serious injuries, but I do have a lot of stiffness and headaches. How much should I ask for in pain and suffering damages?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "SUV Rear Ended...":

Anonymous (Delaware):

If you didn't suffer serious injuries you won't be asking for very much in the form of pain and suffering. From the facts you present it appears you suffered what are commonly known as "soft tissue" injuries. Soft tissue injuries are those injuries to the tissues, tendons, ligaments, and other injuries which don't involve broken bones, herniated or bulging disks, or organ damage.

Although you seemed to have suffered soft tissue injuries, the amount of pain and suffering will depend primarily on your medical bills. Medical bills are the primary basis upon which personal injury settlements are based.

Although you mention you suffered stiffness and headaches, you didn't mention if you sought medical care.

When you speak with the woman's insurance company's claims adjuster she will want copies of your medical bills and out of pocket expenses such as prescription medications, over the counter medications or other reasonable costs incurred as a result of the collision. You will also be able to submit verification of any lost wages.

Once you submit those to the adjuster you will have a substantial basis upon which to negotiate a settlement for actual damages, and pain and suffering. Insurance Claims Adjusters are not permitted to pay any substantial amounts of money for pain and suffering without evidence of the above items.

Without those costs an adjuster will only be permitted to offer you about $500 - $750 dollars for pain and suffering. If you don't like that and threaten to sue you will probably not get much of a reaction from the adjuster. She is an expert and knows without the evidence above you not only won't find an attorney to accept your case, you won't be able to prove any real damages in court, and as a result may walk away with $0 dollars.

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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