Author Topic: Settlement on Car Accident  (Read 5116 times)

quelinda

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Settlement on Car Accident
« on: January 23, 2015, 12:47:24 PM »
Last March I was in an accident that totaled both vehicles. A young woman driving her parents' SUV came out of a side street with a stop sign and hit me as I drove down a main road with no stop sign. She got out of her vehicle saying, "It's all my fault, it's all my fault." Her (parents') insurance company has admitted fault.

My young son was in the car with me and I had to go to the walk-in clinic to get my finger x-rayed, but we were both mostly okay, as was the woman who hit us.

We have long since replaced our van with the cash our insurance company gave us and now, finally, her (parents') car insurance company has sent me a settlement letter. They are offering to pay only $800 of the $1100 clinic bill and give me $600 cash.

Obviously, I want them to pay the whole medical bill (which my insurance company paid but needs to be reimbursed for). But in my research it looks like they are also lowballing the amount they're offering to give me. From what I'm reading, it's normally anywhere from 1.5 to 5 times the amount of any medical bills.

Does anyone know if this is correct? I'm mostly fine, my son still talks about it but seems fine, and replacing the van was a major PITA but not the end of the world in the scheme of things, so I'm not looking to take them to the cleaners. However, if it's usual for the injured party to get more money, I certainly would like it.

I've had a few people tell me I should get an attorney, but I'm not really sure that's necessary.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Settlement on Car Accident
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2015, 01:28:34 PM »
Some friends were in a car totaling accident that was not their fault and resulted in a "check out" trip to the ER for their infant child.  The at fault party's insurance company paid the bill plus threw in a couple thousand for the "suffering" without any hesitaton.  You probably don't need to lawyer up, but if you are not satisfied, don't take the first offer.

quelinda

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Re: Settlement on Car Accident
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2015, 01:30:01 PM »
Some friends were in a car totaling accident that was not their fault and resulted in a "check out" trip to the ER for their infant child.  The at fault party's insurance company paid the bill plus threw in a couple thousand for the "suffering" without any hesitaton.  Never take the first offer.

Thanks. That makes me think I'm on the right track (if not, someone please correct me!). But how do I negotiate? Write a letter? See what they say?

DeltaBond

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Re: Settlement on Car Accident
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2015, 01:38:46 PM »
I was in a wreck last Feb, and the insurance company was great, they're supposed to be cutting me a check today, actually, but they said that I have one year to get medical help and finish up with them, which means the whole deal - including their paperwork and cutting of the check.  They are paying back MY insurance company, and sending me a check to cover all the other medical expenses, plus a $1500 settlement.

I'm not sure you can actually negotiate, its all about the state your in and that insurance policy... you can sue, though.

Mrs. PoP

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Re: Settlement on Car Accident
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2015, 01:42:23 PM »
Both cars were totaled and you only got a finger x-ray?  Count yourselves very lucky. 

But you need to figure out what "mostly okay" means to you.  If you're really okay, maybe you don't want to go after more than just reimbursing your insurance company (and any deductibles or lost wages on your part).  Letting it go and putting the accident behind you can be freeing. 

But if you're not okay or expect to have continued medical bills, then by all means engage an attorney.  We did this for a soft-tissue injury to my back as the result of being rear-ended.  Our settlement once the attorney was involved was fair (I thought) as I expect it to pretty much exactly cover additional co-pays etc for "maintenance" treatment of the injury in perpetuity (well, with a 4% SWR).  I felt this was important since there is no indication my back pain will ever stop, and controlling the pain does take an occasional prescription or treatment from the chiropractor that I will incur the costs of for the rest of my life. 

Rpesek6904

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Re: Settlement on Car Accident
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2015, 01:45:51 PM »
Obviously this is a small claim. However, I recommend getting an attorney. I am a personal injury attorney. There are (at least) two things happening here that you are now aware of. First, if your community is like mine then you can pay the hospital much less than the "sticker price" for your bill. If you were my client, I would call the hospital and offer to pay 50%. The hospitals/doctors in my area this is standard. Second, the insurance company IS low balling you. They won't stop low balling you until you have an attorney. EVEN PAYING THE ATTORNEY, you will get more in the end if you are represented.

For the record, I don't want your case. You just need to know the insurance company and hospital are laughing all the way to the bank.

Fuzz

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Re: Settlement on Car Accident
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2015, 06:06:15 PM »
Agreed. You're getting low-balled, hard. Please call at least 2-3 attorneys. You're going to get screwed if you try to do this by yourself.

quelinda

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Re: Settlement on Car Accident
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2015, 06:39:33 PM »
I did call an attorney today & she said it was not worth hiring someone. She recommended that I write a counteroffer outlining how the accident impacted me & asking for $2500.

quelinda

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Re: Settlement on Car Accident
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2015, 06:48:05 PM »
If you're going to do this yourself, I'm begging you to read the book I recommended before you take any steps. Of course, it's your call, but the amount of money the book will make you will translate into a very high hourly wage for the time you spend reading it.

I'm picking it up from the library this weekend! Thanks for the recommendation.

ltt

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Re: Settlement on Car Accident
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2015, 06:56:53 PM »
This is a very small amount of money in the grand scheme of things to hire an attorney.  Have you talked to your insurance company? 

coutant1

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Re: Settlement on Car Accident
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2015, 09:59:03 PM »
There are several factors missing here.  What state is this ? Some states your own insurance is required to pay your meds and they can't recoup against the at fault carrier.  How much was your car worth ... A $2500 car with $2k in dmg will easily be a total.  If an attorney is to be involved Ya that offer may go up enough to pay the them the difference.  If you don't like the offer counter

skinnyindy

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Re: Settlement on Car Accident
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2015, 05:42:11 AM »
We negotiated on the phone and got thousands.  They have a mental amount they can go up to according to my relative.  Taking his advice and due to the nature of the accident we received 4x the original offer.  We were not hurt much but very traumatized and got on AP.

Juslookin

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Re: Settlement on Car Accident
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2015, 07:01:49 AM »
 There are a number of unknown factors here that a message board can not answer. 

1. What state are you in? In many states the at fault party does not need to reimburse your insurance carrier for the medical bills. Did you ask them why they're only offering $800. To be certain you're getting the truth just ask your insurance company to confirm what you're told. There probably is a very good reason, if not then you have a problem.  Medical bills aren't usually something an insurance company negotiates. They simply are what they are. Do they have all the bills? You need some answers about what the $800 offer represents.

2. There is no formula for figuring the value of general damages. The medical bills aren't a factor, the injuries are. What was the diagnosis on your finger?  Just because you had an X-ray that does not increase the value. What if the walk in clinic had also done an MRI and a CT scan and found nothing. Just because they did $5,000 worth of tests that doesn't make a sprained finger worth $15,000.

3. I would never hire a lawyer for this amount, they will take 1/3. That's crazy. You can handle this you simply need information. Just FYI, a trip to a walk in clinic to get checked out with no diagnosis is worth about what they offered you, $600 in my area of the country.   If there was follow up appointments, medications or an actual diagnosis the value may be different.

Of course, just as when negotiating anything, do not take the first offer.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2015, 07:04:02 AM by Juslookin »