Visitor Question

Reasonable offer after rear-end collision with drunk driver?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina)

Approximately 10 days ago, my 4-year-old daughter and I were rear-ended by a passenger van traveling over 50 miles per hour. The driver of the van was charged with DWI, Speeding, and Failure to Reduce Speed. We were nearly pushed into oncoming traffic but were able to pull off the side into a parking lot. I hit my head on the steering wheel (even though I was wearing a seatbelt). Thankfully we were in a large SUV, but my vehicle was deemed a total loss.

My daughter was shaken up but with no apparent physical injuries. I declined the paramedics recommendation that I be taken to the hospital for evaluation and returned home to calm my daughter down. Hours later I was in pain and unable to sleep – headache, neck, back, hip and shoulder pain.

The next day I had my husband take me to the hospital for evaluation. They did scans on me and then released me with pain medication and muscle relaxers when the scans showed no signs of fractures.

Since the accident, I have had recurring headaches, hip, back and knee pain. I am also afraid to drive thinking someone is going to hit me constantly. (I never saw this driver coming.) My daughter is now afraid to drive on the road we were hit on. (It is the main thoroughfare through town.) She also has not wanted to be out of my site since the accident.

I have followed up with a chiropractor for my pain issues and am considering counseling. I missed at least 3 days of work plus had to limit my duties due to the accident. I also had to cancel a family trip for my daughter’s birthday in addition to other “inconveniences”.

Their insurance company has been very friendly and forthcoming but I feel their offer (made 2 days after the accident) of medical bills covered up to now and for 6 weeks plus $1000.00 for my daughter and $2000.00 for my inconvenience, $800 in lost wages for my are less than sufficient.

I know neither of us had life-threatening injuries or were hospitalized, but it has had a major impact on our lives and I have had considerable pain and inconvenience. I’ve never been in a situation like this before or even been the driver in an accident in over 20 years of driving. Is this offer reasonable? Thanks.

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 Anonymous,

Fortunately, your injuries, and those of your daughter were relatively minor. Inasmuch as your medical bills will be paid, as well as your lost wages, and the injuries were relatively minor, the amount of $3,000 for your inconvenience, which is a euphemism for pain and suffering, seems fair.

While no one would doubt your daughter’s fear of driving or not wanting to be out of your sight are real, compensation for those fears would require more than just your opinion. Instead, you’d need psychological or psychiatric proof from medical professionals.

The same is true for your recurring headaches, hip, back and knee pain. Compensation for these injuries will require medical proof. Insurance claims adjusters just can’t pay for injuries which aren’t supported by medical proof.

Do not settle your claim until you are sure you’re fully healed, or you have reached a level of maximum medical improvement, wherein additional treatment will not substantially improve your condition. If you settle your claim prematurely, and later require additional medical treatment, you will not be able to reopen the claim.

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: November 1, 2017

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