Visitor Question

In final negotiations with the adjuster…

Submitted By: Vicki (Waterloo, Iowa)

I was driving down the interstate in Iowa when a large tire flew off an oncoming truck and made impact with our car, almost killing my husband and I. I felt jolted of pain through my arm and up into my neck.

We don’t have much in medical bills but worried about future medical problems and still have problems with pain. We’ve had nothing but problems in dealing with the insurance company and we went into a hole having to purchase another car.

They want to settle for $4,000. And I think $15,000 for each of us is fair to release them from liability for future medical problems. What’s fair here? Thanks for any perspective you can give.

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 Vicki,

It appears your car was totaled. This means the insurance company decided it was more cost effective to pay you the fair market value of your car as it was immediately before the accident rather than paying for it to be repaired. In most cases this results in the victim being placed in an untenable position where it is impossible to find another car similar to the one the victim had before the collision.

Based on the facts, you sustained what are referred to as “soft-tissue” injures. Soft tissue injuries represent damage to muscles, ligaments and tendons throughout the body. That damage manifests itself as contusions, abrasions, sprains, and strains. Soft tissue injuries are to be distinguished form “hard injuries” which can include bone fractures, head trauma, 3rd degree burns, permanent disfigurement, and similarly serious injuries.

When liability is undisputed, the victim of a car accident is entitled to compensation for his or her medical, dental, chiropractic, and therapy bills, out-of-pocket expenses (for such items as medications, the cost of travel to treatment, wheelchairs, nursing costs, etc.), lost wages, and pain and suffering.

While there doesn’t exist a chart, application, or formula a victim can rely on when determining an appropriate amount to demand from the insurance company, in most cases, soft tissue injury compensation is a product of a multiplication of the victim’s medical bills.

For most soft tissue injuries, that multiple can be anywhere from 1½ to 2, and sometimes 3 times the medical bills, plus expenses and lost wages. In your case, making a demand of 3 times your medical bills would be a good starting point. You can negotiate down from there.

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: October 19, 2017

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