What's a fair settlement offer after this rear end accident?

by Renee
(Illinois)

I was rear ended by a car that was hit by another car. I was stopped and saw it coming so I unfortunately braced for impact. The was minimal damage to my car, but I was hit with enough force that there was an imprint of the license plate in my bumper.

My back starting hurting later that day and I went to the acute care center. I ended up with 10 weeks of chiropractor visits (2-3 times a week) and an MRI to rule out serious injury.

Those were difficult weeks due to the pain I was in and not being able to pull my weight at work and at home. I have 2 young children and one is autistic, so it was an added burden not being home to help out while I was gone at therapy.

They didn't understand why I was gone so often and why I couldn't be there for them and play with them like I used to. I started feeling overwhelmed, anxious and depressed, and the muscle relaxers that were prescribed only caused me to be lethargic and sleepy.

The other driver was at fault and her company accepted liability and gave me a check for $280.00 to fix my bumper.

My treatment is now finished and all the bills are submitted:

Chiropractor = $2052.00
Acute care = $179.00
MRI & reading = $3,739

Total medical bills-$5,970

I realize these are soft tissue injuries which has a lower multiplier than hard tissue/permanent injuries. The settlement offer I was given was $6670.00 - so my medical bills are paid for and that leaves $700.00 for pain and suffering. That offer seems really low after all I went through.

Is this a fair offer or is this just part of the negotiations and I should ask for more? And if so, what's a fair amount to negotiate for? Thanks for any perspective you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "What's a fair settlement offer after this rear end accident?":

Renee (Illinois):

Consider yourself fortunate. It's rare for insurance companies to agree to pay all chiropractic bills. Insurance companies rarely consider chiropractic treatment as "medical" treatment. In most cases, insurance companies regard chiropractic treatment as nothing more than a glorified massage. Your true medical bills are the MRI and its reading, and the emergency room or emergency clinic acute care.

You are right about soft tissue injuries. Insurance companies rarely pay more than two times medicals for soft tissue injury treatment, especially when that treatment is predominantly chiropractic. In a similar fact scenario, it would not be inappropriate for a victim to counter at $9,000 and hope to settle at about $8,000.

You might reconsider using your absence from your children, especially your autistic child, as additional grounds for a higher settlement. But mentioning your autistic child to the insurance company in an effort to obtain a higher settlement may be considered untoward, especially as the child's autism has no role in the accident or settlement.

Take a look at these factors that can decrease your settlement payout.

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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TYPE OF ACCIDENT
AUTO ACCIDENT
PERSONAL INJURY
WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDICAL ERROR
YES! I WANT FAIR COMPENSATION