20K settlement offer from insurance. Is a 40k counter offer acceptable?

Asked over 1 year ago - Carlsbad, CA

I was rear ended in an auto accident. Other driver found to be 100% at fault. MRI showed disc dessication at L4-5 and L5-S1. Diffuse annular disc buldge indenting thecal sac and bilateral neural foramina with posterocentral concentric annular tear without disc
protrusion at L4-5. Diffuse annular disc buldge indenting thecal sac and bilateral neural foramina with left paracentral-left foraminal focal disc protrusion causing mild left neural forminal stenosis at L5-S1. This causes severe hip and back pain that will likely never fully heal according to my doctor. I believe that $20k is a low offer and want to counter. Do you think $40k is a reasonable counter?

Additional information

Forgot to add that my medical bills total was $10k
Thank you all for the quick answers. I will be seeking a personal injury lawyer in my area.

Attorney answers (12)

  1. Barry P. Goldberg

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    9

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . Unfortunately, there is still not enough information. It could be an acceptable counter----or not! Sometimes insurers will give you a "take it or leave it". So a counter may not matter.
    The better question is "what is the case worth?"
    The insurer may be shooting at a $25k mark whether you counter at $60-$50-$40 or $30k.
    Consider obtaining some valuation opinions from some qualified trial lawyers. Maybe even get a retired judge involved to make sure you are not selling out to cheaply.
    Good luck----ask a qualified lawyer.

  2. Robert Max Klein

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

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    Answered . Good question. I am not able to give you an answer without looking at learning about some other other facts - including, the nature of the collision, the damages to both vehicles, how were you sitting, what is your prior medical condition, what is your medical history, and what is the doctor's diagnosis and prognosis (and does the doctor have an opinion on causation?). Most of us will tell you the same thing: studies show that you will get a better result if you hire a lawyer to represent you. I recommend that you hire a lawyer in your local area.

  3. Robin Mashal

    Contributor Level 19

    8

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . Disclaimer: The materials provided below are informational and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

    Generally, the first offer by a defendant is not their highest offer. However, it would be difficult to assess the dollar value of a claim over the internet based on a brief description. Keep in mind that every cause of action has legal time limits, generally referred to as statutes of limitation. Once the statute of limitation runs, you have no case. Keep your statute date in mind and file your action before the time runs. I suggest you immediately retain an attorney and review the facts of your case in detail.

  4. William Peter Daley

    Contributor Level 17

    8

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . Is 40k acceptable to you for having you life changed forever by someone else's negligence?

    I will be happy to speak with you at no cost with a FREE phone consultation if you have a San Diego or California... more
  5. Paul J Molinaro

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

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    Answered . Figuring out the amount one should accept as a settlement is a daunting task. Indeed, legal scholars have written entire books on this subject. Monthly lawyer magazines constantly provide new insight. Trade journals which specifically examine verdicts and settlements are found in law office libraries. Lots of data can be crunched to calculate a number, and then that number must be supported by experience, testimony, documents, records, and more experience.

    I've been posting my biased opinions and comments here and there on the Internet and Avvo for a while now (since the mid-seventies, I believe), and every time I see a post about a person doing battle all by his or her non-lawyer self against an insurance company, I keep thinking the post might as well read something like, "my no-insurance brother-in-law needs to get that brain tumor removed from the base of his skull. It's about the size of a penny nail and is hurting him something awful. He's up to six cans of Bud a day for the pain. So, what I need to know is whether I should cut through the top of his head or go in through his mouth..."

    No one who has suffered personal injury should do battle against an insurance company without a lawyer. No one but a neurosurgeon should do brain surgery, even if one’s brother-in-law is a schmuck.

    We personal injury lawyers offer free consultations. We handle cases on a contingent basis. We actually love the game, the battling, the negotiations, the tactics, etc. An injured person should just worry about getting better.

    An injured victim’s lawyer will consult with medical experts to determine how much past, present, and future medical treatment will be needed and how much said treatment has and will cost. An injured victim’s lawyer will look as past, present, and future losses of income with regard to job availability, loss of advancement potential, MediCare set asides (if applicable), and medical insurance issues. An injured victim’s lawyer will handle all of these issues and much more – all the while handling the formidable adversary known as the insurance company.

    When a claim involves personal injury and tens of thousands in medical bills alone, hiring a personal injury lawyer is a must.

    - Paul

    Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
    Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker
    Fransen & Molinaro, LLP
    980 Montecito Drive, Suite 206
    Corona, CA 92879
    (951)520-9684
    www.fransenandmolinaro.com / www.888MDJDLAW.com

    "When you need a lawyer, call the Doctor... Call Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D... Call (888)MDJDLAW."

    * This post and all others I make on Internet are for informational purposes only. None of the information or materials I post are legal advice. Nothing I post as comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. While I try to be accurate, I do not guarantee accuracy.
    ** Fransen & Molinaro, LLP practices in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, and real estate law.

    Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D. ... Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker... Fransen & Molinaro, LLP... 980 Montecito... more
  6. Kevin Coluccio

    Contributor Level 20

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Not trying to "drum up" business for fellow attorneys, but, you should really talk with an attorney to get an opinion based upon a full evaluation.

  7. Steven Mark Sweat

    Contributor Level 19

    5

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . No. I think you should retain an attorney. Unless you have a prior history of back problems and depending upon how severe the nerve impingement is, your case could be worth much more money. You need to have an attorney review this before making ANY further counteroffers. You are setting up (and potentially reducing) the case's settlement value with these demands and counteroffers.

    Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for... more
  8. Adrienne Patricia Allen

    Contributor Level 15

    5

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . Sounds too low to me. You need to be evaluated for the possibility of surgery before you settle. Its good you asked the question before its too late. Once you settle there's no going back. In my opinion you really should retain a personal injury attorney to protect your interests. Good luck to you.

    I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. The above answer is for general... more
  9. Manuel Alzamora Juarez

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You need to heed the advice of these lawyers and hire a lawyer right now before you make the biggest mistake of your life., The consultation with a PI lawyer is always free.!!! Best of luck.

    This answer is provided by Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., El Abogado de Accidentes de Autos de California: 510-206-4492.... more
  10. Jeffrey Bruce Gold

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Don't counter. Reject and tell them you're hiring an attorneys and then hire an attorney.

    If you'd like to discuss, please feel free to call. Jeff Gold Gold, Benes, LLP 1854 Bellmore Ave Bellmore,... more
  11. Lars A. Lundeen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I think you need professional guidance from someone who has thoroughly reviewed your past medical history and treatment related to the collision. You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com dealing with many of the issues you are now facing. The Guides can be accessed through my profile page on Avvo.com.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

    This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.
  12. Craig Franklin Castle

    Contributor Level 3

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . It depends. What are the amount of your medical bills? Did you lose any income? If these injuries were definitely caused by this accident, and you have a permanent injury--$40,000.00 may be too low a counter-demand. [even if you had some of these problems prior to the rear-end accident; the other driver could be responsible for an aggravation of your pre-existing condition.] Insurance companies also evaluate the amount of damage to your car as a factor having bearing on causation for the injuries. In other words, with little or no damage to your vehicle, it is sometimes harder to achieve a higher offer and settlement from the insurance company. You should talk to a local personal injury attorney to go over the facts of your case in more detail. I, like most p. i. attorneys, provide free consultations to accident victims, and handle these cases on a contingency fee basis ( i.e., the fees are paid as a percentage,typically 33.33% of the gross recovery, when the case resolves.) A skilled personal injury attorney should be able to help you maximize your recovery.

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