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Roger
Roger, Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
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Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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Hi, 6 months ago i was met with an accident. Some guy ran

Resolved Question:

Hi,
6 months ago i was met with an accident. Some guy ran into my car from behind when i was at halt at a speed of may be 25-30 miles an hour. I had Neck pain after 2-3 weeks. i went to the doctor, got the MRI's, got physical therapy and the total amount for medical expenses came to about 3000 dollars which the insurance company said they will pay for it. As far as lost wages, they said they will compensate for 3 days of lost work. But for pain and suffering they are putting a dollar amount of 1000 dollars. Is that fair at all? How much amount is compensated for pain and suffering in such cases. i feel like the insurance agent is trying to get it settled down for as low as possible.

Please advice.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  Roger replied 1 year ago.

Kirk Adams :

Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Personal Injury litigation attorney. Thanks for your question. I'll be glad to assist you.

Kirk Adams :

Generally, pain and suffering claims associated with a physical injury are hard to value because there are no guidelines on the matter. Instead, it's a subjective view of the impact the injury has had on the person.

Kirk Adams :

That said, the rule of thumb is that pain and suffering claims are generally 1/2 the amount of the actual damages (medical expenses).

Kirk Adams :

If you add the pain and suffering amount to the lost wages amount, you'll probably be close (or even over) 1/2 of your medical expenses. If that is the case, then the settlement offer is likely reasonable.

Kirk Adams :

But, before settling on a figure, you should consult your physician about FUTURE medical treatment you may need as a result of this injury. If there is none, then that's fine. However, if there is a likelihood of additional treatment in the future, then you should consider making a demand for future medical treatment as well.

Kirk Adams :

You could likely get the insurance to come up some as the cost of defending a claim like this if you were to sue would be much greater, so there should be room to negotiate - - especially if future treatment is a real possibility.

Customer:

Here is something i read about online - "When the injuries are relatively minor, the adjuster multiplies the amount of special damages by 1.5 or 2". Is this not true? Here is the source - http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/how-do-insurers-value-injury-29976.html

Kirk Adams :

It

Kirk Adams :

It is not true that the special damages are multiplied by the actual damages.

Kirk Adams :

For instance, it would not be likely that the insurance company would offer you MORE for your pain and suffering than your medical bills.

Kirk Adams :

It's usually the opposite in injuries where there is no long term pain and suffering. This is the case in instances where the injury could cause long-term/lifetime disabilities, issues, etc.

Kirk Adams :

Frankly, MOST insurance companies aren't willing to offer anything for pain and suffering unless the injured person gets an attorney and sues.

Kirk Adams :

I read the article and I think we're on the same page basically in our thinking - - the author is using different terms for damages than I am.

Kirk Adams :

Actual damages are the medical expenses, lost work, etc.

Kirk Adams :

Special damages are for pain and suffering, emotional distress, etc.

Kirk Adams :

BUT, the author is using special damages when referring to the medical bills.

Kirk Adams :

So, we

Kirk Adams :

can stick with the author's terminology in order to be clear.

Customer:

got it. The MRI revealed a bulge in c4 and c5. And the insurance agent is saying that it is pre existing and may not have caused because of this accident...as the repair cost to fix my car was less than 2000

Customer:

I never had a neck pain before not did recieve any treatment before the accident

Customer:

but the MRI which was taken after 3-4 weeks showed that

Customer:

the insurance negotiator does not want to take that into account and ruled out as pre-existing

Kirk Adams :

Insurance companies are notorious for claiming that there was a pre-existing condition. However, if there are no medical records, proof, etc., that this was there before the accident, they'd have a tough time proving that in court.

Kirk Adams :

Also, the pre-existing condition SHOULD NOT relieve them of their responsibility to cover your damages.

Kirk Adams :

There is a legal theory known as the "egg shell rule", and it basically says that you take an injured party as they are - - injuries, pre-existing conditions and all.

Kirk Adams :

Here's a good link about the rule: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eggshell_skull

Customer:

she is willing to pay for my medical expenses...but she is relating the bulge on c4 and c5 as pre existing.

Customer:

i mean this could have a huge impact on the long term right?

Customer:

that is where i was getting at

Kirk Adams :

Ok. Well, IF they can PROVE that this was a pre-existing injury, then they would not be responsible for that.

Customer:

I do not have any medical history of any neck pain..or anything like that

Kirk Adams :

BUT this is hard to prove, and it would take medical proof to establish this. However, it would also take evidence/proof/testimony, etc. from you or your medical providers that the bulging discs weren't there before the wreck.

Customer:

right

Kirk Adams :

So, if you want to seek damages for the bulging discs, and they won't agree to cover it or pay you for the long term injuries, you'd have to sue and try to prove it with medical proof/testimony from a medical doctor.

Roger, Attorney
Satisfied Customers: 27079
Experience: BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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Roger
Roger
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BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters