If I have waited a year for a settlement offer on a hit and run accident and was finally offered a settlement, how do I know if it is fair?

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If I have waited a year for a settlement offer on a hit and run accident and was finally offered a settlement, how do I know if it is fair?

My car was damaged and I was in a little pain after the accident. I went to a chiropractor for 16 visits but the insurance company is only offering $4500. Is this a reasonable offer to accept?

Asked on November 5, 2014 under Accident Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

There is no hard in fast answer to your question, since every case is different, but as a rough rule of thumb, a fair settlement is typically between 1/3 and 1/2 of what you could recover if you sued and won--you accept less than you might get because you save time and attorney's fees and are paid much faster with no chance of losing and not getting anything; and the other party's incentive to settle is that they can pay less.

If you sued and won, you'd typically get the sum of:

1) The out-of-pocket (not paid by your insurer) cost to repair your car;

2) Your out-of-pocket (not paid by insurance) medical costs;

3) Other unreimbursed out of pocket costs (like renting a car);

4) Lost wages, if any; and

5) With "a little pain" which took 16 chiropractor visits to resolve, a small premium for "pain and suffering" equal to, perhaps, 1/2 your medical costs.

If $4,500 is between 1/3 and 1/2 of the above, it would often be considered a fair settlement.


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