Threatened by the At-Fault Driver...

by Cheryl
(Arroyo Grande, CA )

I was rear-ended in an accident almost 2 years ago. It resulted in about $6,800 in medical bills. The lady that hit me was 100% at fault, we were both moving at the time, though I had slowed to make a turn with my signal on.

I have a handicapped child that I have had to hire sitters for to go to doctors and therapy, drove 20 miles each way to the doctor at the height of the energy crisis. They lady that hit me has called me several times to threaten me. I have 2 recorded messages that she left.

I have also seen her in our doctor's office and she again threatened me. I now have to call my doctor to make sure we aren't scheduled the same day. My arm that froze during the accident is still painful, but the doctor says this will loosen over time.

They offered me a $5,000 settlement. This would cover my sitters, the lady that cleaned my house and gas and little more. How much do I counter offer?

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Threatened by the At-Fault Driver...":

There is a general rule of thumb for personal injury cases which is that the plaintiff should start negotiations at about 2.5 to 3 times the medical bills.

In your case, this is substantially more than the $5,000 that they are offering you. It is imperative to understand that the insurance adjuster is not interested in settling this case for what it is worth. Period. They want you to settle for as little as possible which saves the company money over the long term.

Therefore, having facts and knowing how to approach them is essential to obtaining a higher settlement amount.

Your counter offer should be the maximum you could possible gain because they will negotiate somewhere between the $5,000 offered and your dollar figure. Also know that the first offer is rarely the final offer.

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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