What would be a fair multiplier?

by Jonathan
(Oakwood, GA)

I was involved in an accident in which the other driver was 100% at fault, confirmed by the police report. My new car, a 2015 model worth approx $30,000, was totaled. I was transported by ambulance to the emergency room where I had multiple x-rays done, an EKG, and a CT scan of my chest, abdomen and pelvis. All came back negative.

My ER bill alone is approx $13,000. My follow up appointments with the Orthopedic doctor and physical therapist total another $4000. My lost wages total approx $2000. I'm a nurse practitioner in an outpatient clinic so I had the luxury of returning to work sooner than most, as my job is not physically laborious.

I want to make sure I get a fair and reasonable settlement offer. I will consult an attorney if they don't come with something reasonable. What is a fair multiplier and settlement demand for a case like this? What about the pain and suffering? How can I make sure they give me a fair offer?

Any tips and info you can give would be appreciated. Thanks.

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 "What would be a fair multiplier?":

Jonathan (Oakwood, GA):

Fortunately, all your tests came back negative. If the testing came back positive for serious injuries, your claim would be more substantial. From the facts you present it appears your injuries were all "soft tissue." Soft tissue injuries are normally strains and sprains to muscles, tendons, ligaments, whiplash, minor bruising and abrasions, and the like.

Soft tissue injuries do not command very high settlements in personal injury claims. Moreover if, after reviewing your medical and/or therapy bills, the insurance company decides they are out of proportion with the costs of treatment for similar injuries, the insurance company will likely not offer a settlement which will cover all those medical and/or therapy bills and lost wages.

For soft tissue injuries, a multiplier of 3 - 4 times medical and therapy bills is a realistic opening settlement demand. You can be confident the insurance company will not agree to pay 4 times, and probably not 3 times your costs. You have to hope you will be able to settle at least 2 times your medical and therapy bills.

This multiplier effect is a tool meant to encompass medical and therapy bills, out of pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Write your demand letter as soon as your medical and therapy is completed, or you are at a point where your condition will not substantially improve. Learn more about how to write a demand letter here, and we also have a variety of sample letters here.

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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