Auto accident with truck - trucker 100% at fault
I am finishing treatments and incurred following expenses.
$6000 accupuncture - headaches & back pain
$1500 kaiser Dr's
$3000 Psychiatrist and Psychologist diagnosed PDSD (screaming in sleep)
? forced to give up driving due to fear , 73 years old, extremely inconvenient and annoying
$ 450 mileage for driver at $.50 mile
$20,450 total expenses + pain and suffering
There's a lot more information needed to really assess the potential value of your claim. What was the extent of the damage to both vehicles? When you say a "truck"...do you mean a pick-up truck, SUV, or a freightliner truck. Do you have a pre-existing history of headaches or back pain? If so, were you symptomatic leading up to the accident. What was the dental for? How is it accident related? Did you have to undergo dental surgery?
Most importantly, what is the amount of the truck owner's policy limits? Before beginning settlement negotiations, that is the first question you should ask the insurance company.
Also, what County is your claim venued in? That can affect the potential value of your claim.
It really seems that you should retain a personal injury attorney to help you maximize your recovery.
It certainly sounds as if you are trying to do this yourself. You need to retain a personal injury attorney to review all of your records and bills and write a proper demand that gives an appropriate value to your case. You must level the playing field with the insurance adjuster by having an attorney who can advise your properly once an offer is received--this is not the forum for that, as we cannot know your case as intimately as an attorney you retain. It sounds like you have an excellent case. Maximize the value of it for yourself with a good attorney.
Thats difficult to answer without reviewing medical records and knowing injuries, wage loss (if any), future medical treatment, impairment rating and drivers insurance policy. (And many other factors).
You need to contact a personal Injury attorney to review your case and make an accurate demand based on the facts.
There is no standard formula for determining case value. Factors such as length of treatment, health before the crash, pre-existing conditions, permanent impairment, need for future medical treatment are few of the many things that need to be evaluated for case value. Your best option is to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to maximize your compensation.
There's no way to know. Developing a case valuation would require a comprehensive review of your medical bills and records. It's a job for someone who does this for a living. And even if you were to come up with an accurate estimate on your own, no insurance adjuster will take you seriously if you don't have a lawyer. Do yourself a favor and hire an experienced personal injury attorney.
Folks often post questions on this forum asking what a fair settlement amount is for a personal injury matter. Unfortunately, no attorney is going to be able to give you a substantive answer without reviewing all of the circumstances, medical records, etc. You need to consult with a personal injury attorney to assist you. Personal injury attorneys typically handle cases on a contingency fee basis and give free consultations. Use the Find a Lawyer tab on Avvo to find one in your area. Best of luck to you...
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Your prior med condition is relevant, as well as prognosis. You don't provide the detail needed. Dental of 8k- What injuries? HA and neck pain are symptoms. What are the actual injuries? ^k acupuncture is very high amount for such treatment. Not sure why that is so high. PTSD can be serious. Don't know what testing and records show. Don't know facts of this crash (dramatic crash?) Your psych history is very relevant to that claim. PTSD is not easy sell to ins co. Screaming in sleep is a symptom, but there are other specific criteria for that psych diagnosis.
Who paid the bills? Medicare? Kaiser senior advantage plan?
You have a complex injury case, with significant potential damages and apparently a large commercial policy on the other side. You should have an experienced atty representing you, or you will likely get screwed. Don't be penny wise, pound foolish.
It appears that you may have a very good case. Why are you trying to handle this by yourself? Do you deal with insurance carriers on a daily basis? If necessary, can you personally handle a trial and litigation? Do you think that any insurance carrier is going to give you any amount of money without a fight? Do you realize that when you were hurt, you went to several doctors and dentists for treatment but you are thinking you can handle legal matters by yourself? Do not do this to yourself. You should find an experienced personal injury attorney here in the Los Angeles area. Most personal injury attorneys like myself provide a free initial consultation and a contingent fee contract. I seriously hope you will find an attorney that you will feel comfortable with and that can handle your case for you the way it should be handled. Best of luck.
You don't describe the actual accident at all. Therefore, there is no way to know what happened to you and whether the injuries reflect what happened in the accident. You don't say if you have a lawyer already, either.
I deal with cases like yours often, and have tried three in the past 16 months. You won't get a fair shake from the insurer without a lawyer, that much is clear. If you have one, why don't you trust him/her? Will they not file/try your case?
You are missing many important factors which without having experience in evaluating, make it impossible to formulate an answer to your question. These include: What kind of witness you make and whether or not you will be likable, the insurance company involved, the intelligence and/or experience and flexibility of the adjuster, the clarity of the causal relationship of your injuries and the extent of pre-existing conditions, the cooperation of the health care providers that have treated you in writing helpful reports and willingness to testify at a reasonable cost, the willingness of your attorney to take the case to trial, if necessary, etc. The weight of these factors in making an evaluation vary from case to case. This is why you should not even be thinking about trying to handle this yourself or asking this question on this type of forum.
I read your posting with interest. If you are represented by a personal injury attorney and you trust their judgment you should let them handle your case and when an offer is made the 2 of you can decide if the offer is acceptable.
If you are not represented by a personal injury attorney I would recommend that you retain one immediately. Your injuries appear to be very significant and if you're attempting to deal with the insurance company on your own you are doing yourself a disservice.
The ultimate settlement value of your claim depends on a myriad of issues you have not provided, as pointed out by some of the other lawyers responding to your question.
If you are attempting to "second guess" your lawyer, you really should set up an appointment with him or her to discuss your case.
Lastly an initial demand for settlement is often times higher than the true settlement value of a claim.
So if you do have a car accident attorney or personal injury attorney handling your matter discuss your concerns directly with him or her. If you do not have an attorney you should retain one.
I agree with the answers provided by my other colleagues and would add the following:
1. Assuming all of your injuries were caused by this accident.
2. Assuming all of your medical treatment was necessary.
3. Assuming the cost of the treatment was reasonable.
4. Assuming you had no preexisting conditions and all of your injuries resulted from this accident.
5. Assuming there are no other expenses such as loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, the need for ongoing transportation cost due to fear of driving, future medical care, future mental health care cost, future household services cost due to your inability to do those things, etc.
The value in this scenario in my opinion will be somewhere between $80k to $100k range. If any of the above assumptions are incorrect and future expenditure is indicated you can be in the high six figure range or more.
If you were hit by an eighteen wheeler, in California they are rewired to carry a minimum of $750k in liability insurance.
Feel free to contact me for more thorough evaluation as the above opinion is based on limited information but is provided to give you an idea.
I live and work in California and deal with accidents like yours all the time, so I am happy to answer your question. Your gut instinct is right that you have questions regarding your rights and your case. I've handled a good amount of accident cases and know this to be true that insurance companies give cases like yours a hard time even if the police report finds the other person at fault. You should hire an attorney now before you hurt your case (happens unfortunately very often). You should hire a lawyer to help you out with the claim because regardless of the outcome of the police report insurance companies give unrepresented people a tough time. I've handled cases and referred clients to great doctors in the Malibu, CA area.
At our firm we always refer clients to all kinds of doctors and chiropractors when our clients are injured and our clients never pay anything upfront, not even a copay. The doctors are willing to do this because an attorney is on board. You are entitled to have your property damage, medical bills and future medical expenses PAID FOR BY THE OTHER PARTY'S INSURANCE. The attorney you hire will handle the claims process from start to finish.
But you are going to need to see a specliast to even get a shot at getting future medical treatment from the Defenedant. Moreover it sounds like the accident is completely the other persons fault so you don't want this case to become a difficult one because of lack of inattention. The insurance company will make you believe that your case is worth very little... Regarding pain and suffering, you need to speak to an experienced attorney that can strategize your case. Just because you were in an accident doesn't mean you have pain and suffering, at least thats what the insurance companies think. Make no doubt about it you have a great case, but you need help from a professional. You are entitled to your medical bills being covered as well.
Do you feel that you are at the same medical condition that you were before the accident? As a basic premise I wouldn't handle your claim by yourself. The attorney you hired can likely refer you to a doctor, if you ask for one, who will see you with no upfront payment! I've done this many times to help my clients out. You should not wait a single day to hire a lawyer, we will advise you on the strategy of your case. There is no upfront cost to hire an attorney.
With a case like yours it seems like you have some good facts in order to get a high settlement, but your case definitely needs to be developed further to corroborate your story. The most important thing when building your case are: liability (were you at fault); how bad are your injuries to your body. A lot of these things sound like they are not complete yet in your case so its something that is worth hiring an attorney for in order to get a sense of whether you have a case and what the strategy would be for you to build a strong case! I've handled cases and/or spoken to clients in the Malibu, CA area.
Its very possible that your case is worth more than the $$$ that the insurance company will offer you by yourself. Make your life easier and call an attorney today, you won't regret it.
This same question... worded differently... is asked all the time here on Avvo and in law offices across the country... that number one seeks is really the big issue in all civil cases seeking money damages whether a car accident case or a breach of contract case or a case of defamation... "How much money am I entitled to?" "How much will I get?" "What should I accept?"
There are as many different answers to this question as there are plaintiffs and defendants... yes, the defendants ask this question too, in reverse of course.
Adding up the known numbers is easy peasy... anyone with an abacus can do that... the real skill comes in figuring the chances of winning at trial... the pain and suffering... a careful study of verdicts and settlements from published data... the caliber of defense counsel... the reputation of the defendant insurer... policy limits... the judge assigned... the community jury pool... defendants attachable assets... how many defendants... I could go on and on and on and on and on and on and on... seriously... lawyers attend lectures and read books and talk endlessly with other lawyers about this very topic.
And this is just one reason why it's worth paying a lawyer to handle personal injury cases.
Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
Attorney at Law, Physician
Without a full review of your file, medical history, type of dental care, type of care at Kaiser, damage to vehicles, future prognosis, past and future lost income and other variables no lawyer can responsibly come up with a dollar figure. However, if I were in your shoes I would want to start by knowing applicable insurance limits and available coverages.
Pain and suffering refers to physical and mental trauma caused by an injury, and is often a significant component of non-economic damages.
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