Visitor Question

Reasonable settlement demand for rear end car accident?

Submitted By: Ernie (Chandler, Arizona)

On 5/26/2017 I was driving north on Interstate 17. Suddenly the driver in front of me slowed down. As she did, I also slowed from about 60 mph to about 30 mph. Unfortunately, the driver behind me did not slow down. Instead, he crashed into the rear of my car.

The force of the crash propelled my car forward. At the point of impact I was slammed against the seat and headrest. I was able to swerve to the shoulder and avoid hitting the driver in front. When the police arrived they issued a traffic citation to the driver who struck me. The citation was for following too closely.

At the time I was shaken up, but declined the offer of being transported to the local emergency room. Instead I took the day off from work and rested. When I awoke the next morning my neck and shoulders were so sore I could barely move without searing pain. My head also ached.

I went to a local physical therapy chiropractor. I received 3 trigger point injections in my lower back. The neck pain resolved in the first 2 weeks. However, the back pain has persisted for 6 weeks and is now finally beginning to resolve.

I am likely approaching maximum medical recovery at this time with no permanent injuries. The at-fault driver carried Arizona’s minimum car in insurance of $15,000 for one person in one car accident, $30,000 for two or more people in one car accident, and $10,000 in property damage. Along with Arizona’s minimum requirements, I carry $100,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage along with $5000 in medical coverage.

To date my insurance company has paid $6,500 in medical bills. My insurance company is also paying the $9,500 necessary to repair my car. Obviously, a substantial amount of bills will have to be paid by my underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.

Is a settlement using a multiplier of 3x medical costs customary for this situation?

Here is the breakdown:

$6,500 in medical bills

$800 in out of pocket expenses for rental car  plus 10% bluebook auto value $1350 diminished value plus $9500 car repair.

$19500 +$800 + +$1350 + $9500 = $37,650 total

Minus $9500 auto repair

Minus $6500 Medical payments

Net to me = $21,650

Thank you for your time.

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 Ernie,

Your entire medical/chiropractor/physical treatment included 3 trigger point injections in your lower back. Your neck pain resolved in the first 2 weeks, and while your back pain persisted for 6 weeks, it too has begun to finally resolve.

Quite often injured persons refer to chiropractic and therapeutic treatment as “Medical,” when technically, they are not the same. Medical treatment normally consists of hospital stays, medical diagnostic tests such as MRIs, CT Scans,  and X-rays, and treatment given a patient by a physician.

The distinction is important. Severe injuries normally require medical treatment. Insurance companies afford medical treatment more credibility than they do chiropractic or therapeutic treatment. One can argue the fairness of this variance in credibility, but for now, doing so would be unproductive.

Because your injuries were “soft tissue,” and not the more serious “hard injuries,” which can include bone fractures, 3rd degree burns, head trauma, permanent scarring, etc., the insurance company will very likely not agree to accept a multiple of 3x. While you can request that amount, it is very unlikely the insurance company would pay it.

The insurance company will not agree to paying a multiple for your car repairs. That’s not included. Nor are lost wages. In most cases, the amount for your pain and suffering compensation will be multiple of medical bills, with expenses and lost wages added afterwards.

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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