How much should I expect as a fair settlement for pain and suffering in a car accident?

Question Details:I was involved in a car accident this year that was not my fault. I was stopped at a red light and the car behind me did not stop. My husband was a passenger in my car. We both went to the hospital, myself for neck pain and my husband for back pain. We were both given x-rays and pain medication. I was told I had a slight case of whiplash. The insurance company is just now offering to settle with us on our bills. My husbands bills total $2,828.53 and mine total 2,868.09. They are offering my husband only $3,300 and myself $3,200. What about our pain and suffering? Should we speak with a personal injury attorney? We're in Walton, GA.

Asked 3 years ago under Personal Injury | 5127 Views | More Legal Topics

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S.L,. Member, California Bar | FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney Answered 3 years ago

You and your husband have separate personal injury claims.  You should not settle the case until you have completed your medical treatment and have been released by the doctor.  You said that you have whiplash.  You should receive physical therapy to have that condition treated. Pain medication alone is not going to get rid of the problem. If you settle the case prematurely and are still having medical problems, you won't be able to go back to the insurance company later to ask for more money.  When you are released by the doctor upon completing medical treatment, obtain your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injuries and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.  If your husband needs additional medical treatment, he should  also get that treatment before trying to settle his claim as mentioned above for your claim.

There isn't any mathematical formula for determining compensation for pain and suffering, but what the insurance company is offering you and your husband is completely inadequate.  I would usually 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. The insurance company will respond with a lower offer and you can continue negotiating to try to get more.  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.  You will need to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

It would be advisable to speak with a personal injury attorney.

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