Author Topic: Auto Accident - what's a reasonable settlement?  (Read 8467 times)

catccc

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Auto Accident - what's a reasonable settlement?
« on: April 09, 2015, 09:17:46 AM »
I've been involved in an accident.  I'm not at fault, I appear at this time not to be injured, the other insurer has accepted liability, and my vehicle is being repaired at the cost of the other insurer.

I am asking about a settlement to waive liability for potential latent injuries, missed work (just time dealing with the claim and repairs), loss of value since my vehicle has now been in an accident, and potential residual issues with the vehicle.

I'm really not trying to take advantage of anyone, I just want this to be fair and equitable.  I am primarily concerned with the loss of value on my vehicle and potential residual issues.  How do I determine what amount is reasonable for this settlement? Anyone have similar experiences?

catccc

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Re: Auto Accident - what's a reasonable settlement?
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2015, 11:13:54 AM »
Over 100 views and no responses?  Hmm, let me try asking a different question.

The vehicle is a 2004 Dodge Dakota with 108K miles.  Runs great.  I see similar vehicles going for about 6K on the low end.  (KBB is about 4K, not sure the reason for the variance.  The insurance company isn't declaring it a total loss, even though repairs are estimated at $4,200.  IDK what they use to determine ACV, but I'm not going to ask for fear that they will say "oops, our bad, it's totaled.")

Anyway, as I was saying, I see similar trucks at $6K.  Actually, I see them for 7-8K, but with "better" trim packages (power windows, etc), and automatic transmission.  Mine is manual.  So I'm guessing it would sell for $6K.  How much less would you pay for this one knowing it has been in a moderate accident?

I was in an accident 5 years ago, it was very minor, and again, not our fault.  The other driver's insurance company offered to give us a few hundred each (DH was driving, I was in the passenger seat) to agree not to hold them liable for anything, even though neither of us claimed to be injured.  Again, this was very minor, no repairs at all needed.  Is it pretty standard to offer some type of settlement, even in the absence of immediate injuries?


Valhalla

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Re: Auto Accident - what's a reasonable settlement?
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2015, 11:23:28 AM »
First of all, given the relative low value of your vehicle, and the fact it's a truck which means it should hold its value well, I think any loss of value would be relatively small.

You didn't state the severity of the accident / damage.  But I would say anywhere from 15-25% of the value might be reasonable for loss of value.

Secondly, the injury clause - I think that is standard because there are a lot of scammers out there who would claim personal injury and try to get more money. Whether it works or not is up for debate.

Best of luck.

catccc

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Re: Auto Accident - what's a reasonable settlement?
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2015, 11:37:46 AM »
Thanks for the response!

The extent of the damage:  (the front drivers side of my vehicle took the impact)

the following items will need to be replaced: front bumper, grill, drivers side headlights, left fender. 
the following item need repair: the right and left frame rail ends, the door.
and in terms of the guts, they are replacing the radiator and A/C condenser.

I had read that insurance companies can be dismissive of diminished value claims with older vehicles, but I just don't want to be financially out anything because of the accident, now or down the figurative road.

Anyway, thanks for the response, I appreciate it!

MillenialMustache

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Re: Auto Accident - what's a reasonable settlement?
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2015, 12:18:24 PM »
I may be in the minority here and totally wrong, but I was under the impression that people typically did not get a settlement in a minor (read: no injuries) accident. I have been the at-fault party in one accident and there was not a payout to the other party - their car was fixed, they were given a rental, and that was that. My husband has also been the at-fault part in an accident (these were many years apart) and their car was fixed, they were given a rental, and that was that. I am currently in the middle of dealing with an accident that was not my fault and the car was totaled. All I got for the car was the KBB value, not anything additional for all the time it took me. The payout is for the injury only. Also, most (maybe all) attorneys will not even deal with a case that does not involve injury, because there is no additional money in it. My sister was also in an accident that was not her fault and her car was totaled, and all she got was the KBB value of her car.

Also, if the accident really was just an accident and everything of yours was getting fixed, I am not really sure I think it is right to get a settlement. Accidents happen and the other person is already being punished enough by paying for your vehicle to be fixed (I know their insurance pays, but they will pay it back in the form of higher premiums. I had an accident premium for three years from my at-fault accident, and the premium was based on the amount the insurance company paid). My DH also currently has an accident premium. Now, if they were given a ticket for careless or reckless driving, that is something else too.

I could be totally off base here, would love to hear other thoughts.

Valhalla

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Re: Auto Accident - what's a reasonable settlement?
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2015, 12:38:25 PM »
Yup Millenial - you're wrong. Diminished  value is real and part of the settlement, whether there are injuries are not.

OP - you may be able to request a free DV report here - http://www.ican2000.com/dvfaqs.html

I have family who work as claim adjusters and deal with this daily.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2015, 12:41:24 PM by Valhalla »

MillenialMustache

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Re: Auto Accident - what's a reasonable settlement?
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2015, 12:51:13 PM »
Yup Millenial - you're wrong. Diminished  value is real and part of the settlement, whether there are injuries are not.

OP - you may be able to request a free DV report here - http://www.ican2000.com/dvfaqs.html

I have family who work as claim adjusters and deal with this daily.

No need to be nice about it apparently. I think I was pretty nice in my post. Also, the website you link to does not look very professional or up-to-date. Any better sources on this being true? Why has it not happened in all the auto accidents I mentioned above?

Valhalla

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Re: Auto Accident - what's a reasonable settlement?
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2015, 12:54:01 PM »

No need to be nice about it apparently. I think I was pretty nice in my post. Also, the website you link to does not look very professional or up-to-date. Any better sources on this being true? Why has it not happened in all the auto accidents I mentioned above?
Sorry if it came across as mean. I was just trying to save keystrokes and say it in the most straight forward manner possible.

Diminished value is generally a well recognized principle by most people, so I'm a little surprised that you're unaware of it.  I'm a car enthusiast, although have not gotten into any accidents myself (knock on wood), I know many people who have, and have claimed diminished value and been compensated appropriately.

Most car forums, and financial sites will discuss this issue.  Just a simple google of "diminshed value" will yield a lot of results.

Enjoy.

catccc

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Re: Auto Accident - what's a reasonable settlement?
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2015, 12:56:02 PM »
No citations were issued in my case, as far as I know, but it is obvious that the other driver was at fault- yes, it was an accident, but it was an accident that he caused due to his negligence.  He had a stop sign (along with a big neon sign under the stop sign that stated "CROSS TRAFFIC DOES NOT STOP" and I did not.  Nobody was there to see if he stopped, he says he did, but I doubt that, given the amount of space between his vehicle and the one in front of him that crossed me safely.  I would say this was a moderate accident.  My truck is in better shape than the vehicle that did not yield to me.  I hit the rear drivers side, and his rear passenger tire was no longer attached to his car.  He had to be towed away.  My truck will look the way it did before the accident, but it no longer has a "clean" carfax, right?  That's worth something.

I don't mean to sound too defensive here, but I don't think I'm being unreasonable with my request.  And I've been on the other side of this, too, when I was younger, I was at fault in an accident, and the other driver tried to take my insurance company for injuries that they had before the accident.  I'm not trying to fool anyone or get away with anything here.

Regarding the other accident that I was in that I referred to, which I did deem minor:  I didn't ask for a settlement, they just offered it without us asking.  DH was surprised at first, but after discussing it, I think it was quite reasonable for them to offer it.  Once it was clear what we were giving up for the settlement money, which was the inability to claim any other damages in the future, I felt it was a reasonable trade.  We felt fine, but the truth is other big things were on our mind, which I believe had the potential to mask the feeling of minor soft tissue injuries.  (We were rear ended on the way to a birth center to have our first child when that accident happened.  I was in labor, which completely stopped in its tracks when we were hit.  So our main objective right after the accident was to get to the birth center and make sure our baby was okay.  And she was, she was perfect.  But it was scary.)  IDK if the insurance agent thought this was an unusual situation and thus offered something, or if it's a normal thing...

« Last Edit: April 09, 2015, 01:28:35 PM by catccc »

Valhalla

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Re: Auto Accident - what's a reasonable settlement?
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2015, 01:00:42 PM »
You got lucky. I have a friend in a similar situation who is SOL.  The other party caused the accident, but he lied about it to the cops, and since there's no way to prove / disprove what happened, the cops gave both equal fault and they are on their own for their damages.

Diminished value is common. Google it. There are lots of info on it out there.

I have family who work in this area and I have discussed it with them as well.  Unless you're dealing with a jerk claims adjuster who won't budge, you should get some additional settlement for this.

catccc

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Re: Auto Accident - what's a reasonable settlement?
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2015, 01:26:06 PM »
You got lucky. I have a friend in a similar situation who is SOL.  The other party caused the accident, but he lied about it to the cops, and since there's no way to prove / disprove what happened, the cops gave both equal fault and they are on their own for their damages.

Diminished value is common. Google it. There are lots of info on it out there.

I have family who work in this area and I have discussed it with them as well.  Unless you're dealing with a jerk claims adjuster who won't budge, you should get some additional settlement for this.

Thanks again for your input, and for asking some experts in the field, I really appreciate it!  (Now, if I can just get the claims adjuster to get back to me!) 

I am lucky, and very grateful that this case seems clear cut.  The other driver did try to claim I was speeding, but I was not, and my claim rep and the other driver's agent are in agreement that I was not based on the level of damage to my vehicle.

catccc

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Re: Auto Accident - what's a reasonable settlement?
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2015, 02:00:01 PM »
Thanks all for your input.  I just wanted to update in case this helps someone else.

I had to press them a bit about the diminished value claim.  They didn't want to talk to me over the phone, I'm guessing they just wanted to make this slow and require some work/input on my end.  I got a letter in the mail requesting documents for the claim, basically proof of diminished value. 

If you look online you can buy diminished value reports all over the place, with a price range for $15.00 to $200.00.   I didn't want to pay a cent for something that might not pan out.

Instead, I sent them a print out of private party value for my vehicle in perfect condition from the site that gave the highest value, a print out of trade-in value for my vehicle in fair condition, a copy of the body shop's repair details.  I asked for the full delta between the perfect private party value and fair trade-in value, $3,800.  (Fully expecting they would offer less.)

Valhalla was spot on with his 15-25% estimate of the value - they came back with a settlement offer of $1,200, 18% of perfect private party value.  I think this is fair so I'm taking it without further negotiation.


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Re: Auto Accident - what's a reasonable settlement?
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2015, 06:34:14 AM »
I WAS injured in an auto accident. I broke a bone in my neck, and had damage done to a fusion in my neck that caused lasting headaches for 8 months.  For 4 months I was in a cervical collar that meant I could not drive, and was restricted to picking up no more than 5 pounds, basically meaning I was useless (that isn't even a gallon of milk).  I didn't miss much work, because my husband drove me- but that added almost an hour to his day each day.

My settlement (with a lawyer...without one they basically wanted to offer me nothing) was absolute utter crap. 
We could have gone to trial, but there are no guarantees and trial dates were 18 months away, I just wanted it done with. The first offer from the insurance company would not have even paid my medical bills. In the end, they did pay my bills and I got a measly pain and suffering settlement.  The system is absolutely pathetic. I lost 8 months of my life to this stupid driver and got next to nothing.

If you are NOT injured, I wouldn't expect much. Do not rush to settlement though, to make sure that you aren't injured.  Document what your time off work has cost you in lost wages or lost PTO.  That may be all you get, though I'd start by asking 3x that.
In my experience the future resale of the vehicle was not considered at all (though I had no problems getting the insurance to pay repairs.)  I'm really impressed you managed to get a payout there.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 06:44:39 AM by iowajes »

jackiechiles2

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Re: Auto Accident - what's a reasonable settlement?
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2015, 07:07:57 AM »
I WAS injured in an auto accident. I broke a bone in my neck, and had damage done to a fusion in my neck that caused lasting headaches for 8 months.  For 4 months I was in a cervical collar that meant I could not drive, and was restricted to picking up no more than 5 pounds, basically meaning I was useless (that isn't even a gallon of milk).  I didn't miss much work, because my husband drove me- but that added almost an hour to his day each day.

My settlement (with a lawyer...without one they basically wanted to offer me nothing) was absolute utter crap. 
We could have gone to trial, but there are no guarantees and trial dates were 18 months away, I just wanted it done with. The first offer from the insurance company would not have even paid my medical bills. In the end, they did pay my bills and I got a measly pain and suffering settlement.  The system is absolutely pathetic. I lost 8 months of my life to this stupid driver and got next to nothing.

If you are NOT injured, I wouldn't expect much. Do not rush to settlement though, to make sure that you aren't injured.  Document what your time off work has cost you in lost wages or lost PTO.  That may be all you get, though I'd start by asking 3x that.
In my experience the future resale of the vehicle was not considered at all (though I had no problems getting the insurance to pay repairs.)  I'm really impressed you managed to get a payout there.

3x???  Always start with 10x.  I do defense work and when we're calculating the value of a case, we generally start with the worst-case jury verdict, which we base on 10x the medical bills/actual damages. 

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Re: Auto Accident - what's a reasonable settlement?
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2015, 07:27:25 AM »
I WAS injured in an auto accident. I broke a bone in my neck, and had damage done to a fusion in my neck that caused lasting headaches for 8 months.  For 4 months I was in a cervical collar that meant I could not drive, and was restricted to picking up no more than 5 pounds, basically meaning I was useless (that isn't even a gallon of milk).  I didn't miss much work, because my husband drove me- but that added almost an hour to his day each day.

My settlement (with a lawyer...without one they basically wanted to offer me nothing) was absolute utter crap. 
We could have gone to trial, but there are no guarantees and trial dates were 18 months away, I just wanted it done with. The first offer from the insurance company would not have even paid my medical bills. In the end, they did pay my bills and I got a measly pain and suffering settlement.  The system is absolutely pathetic. I lost 8 months of my life to this stupid driver and got next to nothing.

If you are NOT injured, I wouldn't expect much. Do not rush to settlement though, to make sure that you aren't injured.  Document what your time off work has cost you in lost wages or lost PTO.  That may be all you get, though I'd start by asking 3x that.
In my experience the future resale of the vehicle was not considered at all (though I had no problems getting the insurance to pay repairs.)  I'm really impressed you managed to get a payout there.

3x???  Always start with 10x.  I do defense work and when we're calculating the value of a case, we generally start with the worst-case jury verdict, which we base on 10x the medical bills/actual damages.

I was told to do 10x for bills/damages (and apparently the other company starts at 1/10 of the actual value of the bills and damage), but that you are generally only going to get exactly what your time off was worth.

But it was also very clear that a person negotiating without a lawyer wasn't going to come close to what they would be able to get with a lawyer.  And if your vehicle wasn't badly damaged, you'd get screwed even with a lawyer, despite cases in the state showing precedent that vehicle damage is NOT to be considered proportional to injury.  (AKA- I would have probably done a lot better in jury, but I wanted the chapter of my life CLOSED.)
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 07:29:09 AM by iowajes »

DeltaBond

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Re: Auto Accident - what's a reasonable settlement?
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2015, 07:38:12 AM »
For mine they paid for all of the medical costs and an additional $1500 for me just to have.  A friend of mine got medical costs plus $1000 for her to just have.

jackiechiles2

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Re: Auto Accident - what's a reasonable settlement?
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2015, 07:51:31 AM »
I WAS injured in an auto accident. I broke a bone in my neck, and had damage done to a fusion in my neck that caused lasting headaches for 8 months.  For 4 months I was in a cervical collar that meant I could not drive, and was restricted to picking up no more than 5 pounds, basically meaning I was useless (that isn't even a gallon of milk).  I didn't miss much work, because my husband drove me- but that added almost an hour to his day each day.

My settlement (with a lawyer...without one they basically wanted to offer me nothing) was absolute utter crap. 
We could have gone to trial, but there are no guarantees and trial dates were 18 months away, I just wanted it done with. The first offer from the insurance company would not have even paid my medical bills. In the end, they did pay my bills and I got a measly pain and suffering settlement.  The system is absolutely pathetic. I lost 8 months of my life to this stupid driver and got next to nothing.

If you are NOT injured, I wouldn't expect much. Do not rush to settlement though, to make sure that you aren't injured.  Document what your time off work has cost you in lost wages or lost PTO.  That may be all you get, though I'd start by asking 3x that.
In my experience the future resale of the vehicle was not considered at all (though I had no problems getting the insurance to pay repairs.)  I'm really impressed you managed to get a payout there.

3x???  Always start with 10x.  I do defense work and when we're calculating the value of a case, we generally start with the worst-case jury verdict, which we base on 10x the medical bills/actual damages.

I was told to do 10x for bills/damages (and apparently the other company starts at 1/10 of the actual value of the bills and damage), but that you are generally only going to get exactly what your time off was worth.

But it was also very clear that a person negotiating without a lawyer wasn't going to come close to what they would be able to get with a lawyer.  And if your vehicle wasn't badly damaged, you'd get screwed even with a lawyer, despite cases in the state showing precedent that vehicle damage is NOT to be considered proportional to injury.  (AKA- I would have probably done a lot better in jury, but I wanted the chapter of my life CLOSED.)

If you had a neck injury and major surgery, I'm honestly surprised you didn't walk away with a fair amount.  I suppose after your attorney took 40% with expenses and whatnot, it probably wasn't a whole lot that went into your pocket.

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Re: Auto Accident - what's a reasonable settlement?
« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2015, 07:58:14 AM »

If you had a neck injury and major surgery, I'm honestly surprised you didn't walk away with a fair amount.  I suppose after your attorney took 40% with expenses and whatnot, it probably wasn't a whole lot that went into your pocket.

No, I didn't have surgery- it did some damage to the previous surgery I had had.  I had no life-long injuries from the accident, and the broken bone in the neck healed fine.  I would rather have a crappy settlement than life-time injury, so it is fine, really.
The lawyer actually had to work pretty hard for what money he did get (his expenses were next to nothing though, just a few stamps and copies) because the other insurance company screwed us around so much. I without a doubt would have ended up with less in my pocket than if I hadn't used a lawyer. They were basically willing to give me the same as what it cost to repair my car, which was about 2% of my medical bills. It took a lot to even get the medical bills paid, much less a pain and suffering payment.

The major lesson I learned is 1) take the ambulance (I drove myself immediately to the hospital, I didn't realize I had a broken bone in my neck; that apparently diminished the seriousness of my claim) and 2)If you have a high pain tolerance, lie and say a much bigger number.  Since lots of people like to say that a splinter is an "8", you have to say 10 for pretty much anything. Doctors know you are lying, but the insurance companies apparently put way too much faith in those numbers.

If I had a job that wasn't so flexible I might have been able to get more, but my job had no problem with me taking 10-12 hours to put in 8 hour days since I needed rest breaks, so I only actually missed 2 days of work.  And husband was not compensated at all for his time in getting me to work; probably because for most people an hour of driving is a normal commute (his normal commute is 15 minutes of biking).
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 08:30:57 AM by iowajes »

catccc

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Re: Auto Accident - what's a reasonable settlement?
« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2015, 08:08:20 AM »
The way it works in PA, you get nothing for pain, suffering, or inconvenience if you are limited tort, which I am.  Your own insurance covers any of your own medical expenses- PA is no-fault for injuries.  It didn't matter that the accident was the other driver's fault, my insurance was to cover my medical bills.   (Mine turned out to be solely a dr. visit to check out a strained shoulder.)  There are very few exceptions to limited tort rules, some that come to mind are death and permanent disabilities.

So even if I had sustained a more serious injury, I would have been out of luck on that, because I elected limited tort.  I understand why they do this, because before they did this, the system was overrun with frivolous lawsuits.

They also were unwilling to compensate for missed work due to dealing with the claim or damages.  That may fall under the limited tort rules.  Annoying, but I felt I couldn't do much about it.  If I had missed work for the doctor's visit, I believe it would have been my insurance company to pay out.  IDK why that is.

So basically I have been compensated only for measurable economic damage.  The fact is my truck, with repaired frame damage, is not worth what it was before the accident.