Visitor Question

Why did the insurance company separate payments for medical bills and pain and suffering?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Phoenix, Arizona)

My accident happened in Arizona. I was rear ended at a stop light last year (June 2017). The other party’s insurance called me an hour after the accident to tell me that they will take all the responsibilities and will pay for the damage to my car as well as my medical treatments.

The cost to fix my car was $4,600 and my medical bill is over $16,000.

Now the insurance is offering me $7,600 for pain and suffering and over $16,000 to pay off the medical bills. However, I have paid most of them in full except the bill for chiropractor.

What do I do in this case? Thank you for any information you can provide.

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,

It is important to know what type of injuries you sustained. If the injuries were primarily “soft tissue,” you can expect a smaller settlement offer. That’s because soft tissue injuries are not as serious as “hard injuries.”

Soft Tissue Injuries

While seemingly redundant, soft tissue injuries are injuries to the body’s “soft” tissue. These injuries can often include strains and sprains to muscles, tendons and ligaments, minor burns and abrasions, whiplash, and other similar non-life threatening injuries.

Hard injuries

Hard injuries are more serious and can include bone fractures, head and brain trauma, permanent disfigurement, 3rd degree burns, organ damage, and similarly serious injuries. Medical treatment for hard injuries can be prolonged, and the recovery time for the victim, along with the accompanying out-of-pocket costs for diagnostic testing, X-rays, CT Scans, MRIs, home nursing care, wheelchairs, etc., can be quite expensive.

There is no legal definition or requirement setting out an insurance company’s duty to offer a set amount of compensation in injury claims. Some victims may recover faster than others, and as a result need less medical treatment, and less lost wage compensation. Others can take longer to recover and require longer treatment and continuing lost wage reimbursement.

It is not unusual for a soft tissue injury claim to settle for an amount approximating 1.5 to 2, or possibly 3 times the victims’ medical bills. Hard injury claims can settle for an amount anywhere from 1.5 to 2, 3, 4, 5, and for the most serious of injuries, an amount higher than 5 times medical bills.

If you feel the amount the insurance company is offering is acceptable, you can take their offer. If not, and you feel like your pain and suffering is worth more, you can make a counter-offer. Generally, an adjuster’s first offer is rarely the best the insurance company can do. Also, you can meet with a local injury attorney to review your options. Most offer a free initial consultation.

Learn more here: Negotiating Personal Injury Claims

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 with your claim.

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