Visitor Question

Settlement for Constant Pain?

Submitted By: Stephanie (Seattle, WA)

While driving home one night I was stopped at a light and was rear ended by a man going 40mph. I had instant pain in my back and was taken from the scene in an ambulance. Since then I have had x-rays, bone density scans, and an MRI. I have been referred to physical therapy and have gone a couple times.

I have since talked with my doctor about how painful physical therapy is and he is giving me an injection in my back to help with the pain. In all of my x-rays there is nothing broken, but I am still in constant pain for which I have a constant prescription of pain pills. With nothing showing up in my scans and x-rays will the insurance company think my injuries are not bad?

My vehicle was totaled out and the insurance company has already paid for the vehicle damage. I was not at fault at all in this accident and I was wearing my seat belt. I have been out of work now for seven months and my insurance company is paying my lost wages. However, I have lost my position with a union and my future is not looking as bright as it did before the accident. I had a retirement fund that my employer and I were contributing to, which now I will need to cash out to be able to pay my bills.

How much should I settle for? 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.


Dear Stephanie,

From the facts you present you should be entitled to a personal injury settlement which includes compensation for all of the wages you lost as a direct result of the collision. Whether or not you have been receiving compensation for your lost wages from your insurance company is irrelevant when it comes to a third party collision. One has no bearing in the other.

You may have a more difficult time though convincing the at-fault driver’s insurance company to settle for any large amount. That’s because to compensate you for your pain and suffering, the at-fault driver’s insurance company must have some basis upon which to pay.

From the medical reports you discussed there doesn’t seem to be any “hard evidence” of your injury. That doesn’t mean to imply you haven’t been in pain. It just means the insurance company needs some form of medical records to justify payment. Certainly your doctor’s medical narrative, including its diagnosis and prognosis will be helpful. Pain and suffering compensation is usually based on several factors, the most important of which is the dollar amount of your medical bills.

A reasonable settlement would usually be somewhere in the range of 2 – 4 times the amount of your medical bills. That amount will take into account your lost wages, out of pocket expenses and pain and suffering. You can do the math.

Learn more here: How to Calculate Pain and Suffering

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 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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