Other driver was at fault and cited. I have Med Pay, and therefore have not signed waiver for my medical records to their insurance. They immediately offered $2K settlement based on 3 days out sick. I refused to accept. They now are saying I am running out of time to settle. Meanwhile I had many visits to PT. I am much better, but some persistent neck stiffness. I managed to make up time out of office so I wasn't docked pay. However, this was very stressful. I couldn't concentrate on getting well. I also could not get a replacement car for 6 weeks. Are these sorts of factors things that should be taken into account? I suffered whiplash. Red flags went up when they pushed for my medical records and continued to say time was running out, and the offer could be lower after reviewing my record
Sadly you are starting to realize the same thing many other unrepresented people realize when dealing with insurance companies - you are not going to get treated fairly. I represented insurance companies before switching over to represent injured parties, and it was typical to drag cases out until the injured party started running out of time. Then the insurance company would bully the person into accepting a value that was far less than what their case was worth.
The other problem is - asking what your case is worth on a forum like this, is like emailing a doctor about your knee problems and asking him whether you need surgery or not. There are many complicated factors that go into what your case is worth, ranging from the county the other driver lives in. to which particular insurance company you're dealing with, to specific facts about the circumstances of the accident that make it better/worse for you. There is no magic formula to case values - if there was, many of us would not have a job. Even if there was, understanding what your case is worth, and understanding how to get that value are two different things.
I would encourage you to call a good attorney. We all offer free consultations, and you don't owe us anything until your case is resolved. My initial reaction is that $2000 does not measure near the value of the damages you have described, but again, that is only an educated estimation. You may have already taken steps to compromise the value of your claim (if you gave them access to your medical records, etc.).
You must be aware of one key date though - you only have 2 years from the date of the accident to file suit (if suit is required), otherwise you lose that right forever, and the law is very unforgiving (if you are one day late, you are out of luck).
Good luck, I hope you heal well, and hopefully you'll let a professional do the heavy lifting for you so you get the maximum amount you deserve while focusing on your healing.
An attorney will take these cases on a contingency fee basis, and usually although the attorney is being paid 1/3 of the settlement amount, the client will still end up with more money in his pocket with an attorney and far less personal aggravation. You have not said how long ago your accident was and whether the statute of limitations is coming up. There is a two year statute of limitations in Georgia. It would be in your best interest to call an attorney for a free consultation and give him or her more details than you could list here. There are just too many variables to cover in a general answer. I cannot imagine the insurance company increasing the settlement offer without reviewing all of your medical records. Just like when trying to give you an evaluation of your case, I cannot do that without your medical records. I would only be able to give you a ball park figure, an estimate. You described days that you missed from work. Did you have a doctor signing off on that absence? It would really be in your best interest to call and discuss this with an attorney. The attorney should be able to give you some idea of what he/she thinks your case would be worth based on the facts you would give him.
A) The insurance co. cannot evaluate your claim without your medical records, lost wages verification statement, and other items. Therefore, they made you an offer which had no basis whatsoever, what we call a nuisance claim offer.
b) You should not sign a waiver giving them permission to get whatever medical bills you might have. You need to obtain your records and submit only those which are relevant to the injuries you sustained in the collision.
c) Attempting to figure out what a fair amount of compensation you deserve for your particular claim is not something a lay person can do, unless you have settled hundreds of similar cases and you know what the recent jury verdicts for similar cases in your particular jurisdiction have been so you can use those as leverage in your settlement negotiations, and you have a reputation the insurance co. is aware of, and a great many other factors that only an experienced attorney would know about,
d) The ins. co. is pressuring you to settle now. Be aware that you have 2 years from the date of the incident in which to either settle or file a lawsuit. Don't let them hurry and rush you, especially since you don't know whether or not your injuries will cause you problems in the future.
You would most likely sell yourself short by negotiating a settlement on your own. Do yourself a favor, get a lawyer now before you do or say something which could forever damage yiur claim.
Law Office of Robert G. Rothstein (Atlanta)
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