Visitor Question

How do I figure a fair settlement amount after rear-end collision?

Submitted By: Sirena (Yakima, Washington)

In April 2017, my boyfriend and I were rear-ended while stopped and waiting to make a left-hand turn. The guy who ran into us asked us not to call the police because he didn’t have a driver’s license. Well, needless to say, the police were called. Pictures and statements were taken and the driver who hit us was given a ticket for inattentive driving and for not having a valid driver’s license.

My boyfriend ended up going to the emergency room the next day due to neck pain. There were x-rays taken and it was determined that he had a broken c-7 vertebra and whiplash. He was referred to a neurologist.

In the town where we live there is only one neurologist and it took my boyfriend 3 months to get in to see him. In the meantime, he had to where a collar for about 2 weeks and was on light-duty for about 6 months. He works sales for a wholesale heating and cooling parts house. After finally getting to the neurologist, they recommended physical therapy and he did that for about 2 months.

All in all we had about $8,000 in medical bills and time lost. The vehicle was totaled at $5000. The other side of the story is the driver that hit us. He decided to lie about the accident and tried to say that we were coming from the cross street, blew a stop sign and actually hit him. The police report supported our story.

We also talked to the other driver’s insurance company and they indicated that their client was being uncooperative and had gotten a lawyer. When they decided to deny our claim and stated that the accident was 100% our fault, we were floored. According to them the pictures were inclusive as to who hit who and that their client wasn’t given a chance to give his side of the story to the police (another complete lie, we saw the police talk to him).

The claim was going to arbitration, until I called our police department to ask  if they had a record of the officer talking to the driver that hit us and whether or not there were any 911 calls related to the accident. They not only found a record of the officer talking to the driver, but a witness who saw the entire accident and completely supported our story.

We sent that information to the other driver’s insurance company and within a month was sent our $1000 deductible we initially had to eat. So now my boyfriend is done with physical therapy and we are getting ready to settle with the other insurance company and have no idea what to ask for. Given our circumstances, what is a reasonable amount for us to settle for?

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 Sirena,

You indicate the following:

 – The driver’s insurance company denied the claim
 – The driver retained an attorney
 – The claim “was going to arbitration”
 – Your boyfriend has been reimbursed for his $1,000 deductible.

Because the claim is being submitted to arbitration, the other driver’s attorney will do everything possible to convince the arbiter to minimize his client’s culpability. This includes attempting to convince the arbiter to award your boyfriend as little as possible, if at all.

Because of the seriousness of your boyfriend’s injuries coupled with the driver’s having retained his own attorney, your husband would be best served by seeking legal representation. Without his own attorney, he will be at a distinct disadvantage.

Before attending arbitration, visit with several personal injury attorneys in your area. Most will not charge for an initial office consultation. Personal injury attorneys usually do not charge any fees until, and unless they succeed in resolving their client’s claim, whether at arbitration or at trial.

Without reviewing your boyfriend’s medical charts, test results, medical bills, and other documentation, it is impossible to advise you what amount would be appropriate for him to settle for.

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,

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