How much can I ask insurance company to pay out for a injury claim?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How much can I ask insurance company to pay out for a injury claim?

I was in a car accident, rear ended. The person who hit me insurance company
has offered me 700 as settlement offer for my injury claim. I was out of work for
a week, had to visit the doctor twice as well as had 2 over the phone
appointments, I was without a car for a month while they figured out if they were
going to pay out the claim or not, and I was put on 4 medications that I paid out
of pocket for– although I do have insurance through my job. I heard that they
have to pay out 3 times the actual cost of the medication. Is this true? Also, I
missed work for 4 days, although I used my sick days and was paid, I missed
out on overtime pay as we were busy during the holiday season and I was
working 2-3hrs more a day during that time. I also had to hitch rides or take
public transport to work because I didnt have a car for that month. Can I also
ask for pain and suffering? The adjuster also keeps saying, ‘I havent heard of an
injury claim for such a minor accident’, even though the doctor was the one who
took me off work and I was in real actual pain. My back still hurts now, in fact.
Can I ask for more? If so, what would be a reasonable amount to ask for? Any
advice anyone could give me I would greatly appreciate.

Asked on March 3, 2016 under Personal Injury, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Even a "minor" accident can result in significant injury.  Don't settle the case until you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary, which means having reached a point in your medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated.  Then, obtain your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of wage loss.  Your claim filed with the at-fault party's insurance carrier should include those items.
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.
Without knowing your total medical bills when you complete treatment and reviewing the medical reports, it is not possible to place a dollar value on the case at this time.  There isn't any mathematical formula for determining compensation for pain and suffering.  If you complete your treatment and don't have any residual complaints of pain, etc., I would ask for quadruple the medical bills to compensate for pain and suffering, but NOT expecting to get that.  That would be a starting point in negotiations and the insurance carrier will respond with a much lower offer.  You can continue negotiating from there to try to get more.  If you have residual complaints after completing treatment, I would ask for considerably more.  Also, if the medical report mentions future treatment, the estimated cost of that treatment discounted to present value needs to be factored in to the amount of your settlement because once you settle the case you can't go back later and ask for more money.
If the case is settled, NO lawsuit is filed.
If the case is NOT settled, your lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights  forever in the matter.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the at-fault party's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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