Visitor Question

What is appropriate settlement for 4% impairment rating of the back in a 17 yr old female?

Submitted By: Tammy (Duncan, SC, USA)

My daughter was in a car accident 1 yr ago in South Carolina. She was not at fault.

Her medical bills are approximately $5,000. She has had neck and back pain, been to physical therapy and had MRI’s of her neck and back, as well as a nerve conduction study.

The orthopedist says there is nothing treatment-wise that they can do and she will probably have to take over-the counter pain relievers for her back indefinitely. They have given her a 4% permanent impairment rating of her back.

We are negotiating with the adjuster for a settlement, but don’t have any idea where to start with a settlement amount. Can you give me a range of what a fair settlement would be?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Tammy,

You mentioned an impairment rating: Does your doctor feel that she has a 4% disability?

In the state of South Carolina, the modified comparative fault – 51% rule is followed. This means that as long as your daughter is 50% at fault or less, she can recover.

It sounds as though she is not at fault, is 4% disabled with $5,000 in medical expenses. If these factors are true, the rule of thumb is to begin settlement negotiations by multiplying your medical expenses by 3. In your case, this would be $15,000.00.

As far as her disability is concerned, you will use this factor as an incentive to receive more compensation. You will also add out-of-pocket expenses on top of this such as over-the-counter or prescribed medications, co-payments and lost wages.

Depending on those amounts, this formula should provide a good starting point for settlement.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: July 6, 2010

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