Visitor Question

What’s a reasonable amount for damages?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Seattle, Washington)

I was driving a rental car and was sideswiped by an SUV at a 4-way stop. The other driver admitted fault to police and was cited for failure to yield. Their insurance accepted full liability. I was in a small subcompact.

Whiplash and back problems have plagued me since the accident. Typical medical treatments have been unsuccessful. Real damages are emotional as I was using the car to visit a gravely disabled parent who relies on me. I can no longer do that. The adjuster has pestered me non-stop to settle, but I just had more tests done so the situation is ongoing.

What is reasonable in this situation? This happened in Washington state.

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,

A determination of the amount of compensation you deserve can not be made until the following issues are addressed:

  • The type, severity, and extent of your injuries
  • The required medical treatment to treat those injuries
  • You are fully healed; or
  • You have reached a level of maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is the point at which the condition of an injured person is stabilized. At that point no further recovery or improvement is expected, even with additional medical treatment.

Tell the adjuster you aren’t prepared to settle the claim because you are still treating. The adjuster can’t force you to settle your claim until the above issues are determined.

Washington State Law §04.16.080 gives those injured as a result of another person’s negligence up to three (3) years from the date of injury to settle their personal injury claim, or file a lawsuit. This is referred to as the Statute of Limitations.

The claims adjuster is aware of the statute of limitations. At any one time, the adjuster has 40 or more accident cases assigned to him or her. It is important for the adjuster to “clear,” meaning to settle or deny as many of those claims as possible so s/he can move on to other claims which continue to be assigned. This gives you the leverage. Don’t rush. Take your time.

Keep copies of your medical records, bills, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses (such as medications, bandages, etc.), and a written verification of your lost wages, if any. These will all be important in support of your personal injury 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: October 19, 2017

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