When should I settle?

by Aneesah
(Cleveland, OH)

I was rear ended at a stop sign. I went to the ER the next day and was diagnosed with a muscle sprain. I am being offered $850 for my pain and suffering. The medical bill has not been issued yet, but according to their billing department the expected costs are $260-867.

Is this a fair settlement? I have yet to find out if my car was totaled. Should I wait until the medical bill comes, and I get the information about car repairs before I settle? How does this process usually work? Thanks for any info you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "When should I settle?":

Aneesah (Cleveland, OH):

Before settling your personal injury and property damage claim, be sure you have all the medical and therapy bills, along with receipts for out of pocket expenses (for such items as medications, bandages, costs of travel to treatment, etc.), and any other costs directly related to your injuries.

Also, if you had to miss work because of medical treatment or recovery time, be sure to obtain a written verification your employer confirming your lost wages.

However, before settling you must be sure your injuries have been properly diagnosed and that you are fully healed, or that you have reached a level of maximum medical improvement (meaning further medical treatment will not substantially improve your condition).

Once you settle the personal injury aspect of the claim, you will not be able to reopen it. The same holds for your property damage settlement.

Also be sure you have at least three (3) written estimates from body repair shops for the costs of repairing your car. Insist that your car be repaired with Original Equipment Manufacturer parts (OEM). These parts are identical to the parts originally installed on your car. You have a right to these parts. If you don't insist, cheaper parts may be installed.

You must settle your property damage and personal injury claim within two (2) years from the date of the accident. If you can't do so within the two year period, you must file a lawsuit against the driver within two years. This "tolls" the statute of limitations. Failing to do so can result in your being barred from continuing your claim against the driver and his insurance company.

Read more about Ohio's Statute of Limitations Law 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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