If my husband and I were got into a car accident and was 100% the other party’s fault, how much should the settlement be?

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If my husband and I were got into a car accident and was 100% the other party’s fault, how much should the settlement be?

We were going pass the green light at an intersection when the opposite side car made a sudden left turn. His insurance agent only offers us $2000 to cover my medical, emergency, ambulance, and any mental and physical injury I had. I was 3 months pregnant at that time. My health insurance put a lien to his insurance so they only offer us that much. We don’t think $2000 is the right settlement amount. How much should we ask?

Asked on January 16, 2012 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Assuming that you have completed your medical treatment and have been released by the doctor or have been declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary which means having reached a point where no further improvement is anticipated, and have obtained your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of wage loss, your compensation will be determined by these items.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for documented wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injuries and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.

There isn't any mathematical formula for determining compensation for pain and suffering.  It just depends on the facts of the case.  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 with the other driver's insurance carrier.  The insurance company will respond with a much lower offer and you can continue negotiations.  If you have residual problems after having completed your medical treatment, then that would be a factor for asking for additional compensation for pain and suffering.  Another factor to consider is if the medical reports indicate that you will need future treatment.  An estimate of the cost discounted to present value should be included as compensation.  If the case is settled, you cannot go back to the insurance company in the future and ask for an additional amount. 

If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the at fault driver/registered owner of the vehicle.  If the case is settled with the insurance company, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is NOT settled with the at-fault driver's insurance company, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault driver/registered owner of the vehicle prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The amount of settlement is not something anyone will tell you without looking at all the factors. If you feel $2,000.00 is too low (which it may very well be too low based on the limited information herein), you would need to consult and should consult with a personal injury attorney who handles and has significant experience with motor vehicle accidents. If your jurisdiction recognizes your unborn fetus as a viable entity, then your claim could very well include you, your husband and your unborn child. You should come prepared to your meeting with the lawyer. Bring your medical records, invoices, diagnosis, car damage invoices or mechanic statements and all correspondence you have received. Do not be bullied into only accepting a few pennies if your claim is worth more than that, but remember, if the other person doesn't have much insurance, you may very well be suing a judgment proof person so you have to weigh your options.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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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