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How do you determine the percentage of your settlement offer? If is is fair or not?

Commerce, GA |

My daughter was in a car accident in Aug. '09., it was the other persons fault and she left the scene and my daughter followed her. The police were eventually called to the new location, but it turned out the girl would not corporate with police and about three weeks later was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident, no insurance and withholding information. My daughter was hurt so we took her to the ER that night. They said she had whiplash, and a sprain back. She went to a chiropractor. Has since stopped going but still has headaches. We are going through our insurance company and they paid off the vehicle and have made an offer for pain and suffer. Would like to know how to determine if it's a good offer.

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Attorney answers 3


Not enough information to evaluate. Injuries seem minor but headaches still persisting are worrisome. She should have it checked out to make sure it will disappear soon. Rough rule of thumb is 3x medicals plus lost wages.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.


Your question lacks some necessary facts such as the amount of your daughter's medical bills, the amount of any of her lost wages, the specific injuries she sustained, whether x-rays at the ER showed broken bones or fractures and how long she treated with the chiropractor and, most importantly, the nature and extent of her current headaches. All of these factors will impact the offer made by your insurance company.

An offer should fully cover all of her related necessary medical bills, lost wages, and also include some sum for future medical bills and "pain and suffering."

Also you should know that different insurance companies have different ways of determining how much to offer in settlement, with some offering more and some offering less.

A general rule of thumb for soft tissue injuries used to be that settlements would be 2-3 times the amount of medical bills plus lost wages. However, over the past several years insurance companies have been offering less and less in settlement; these lower offers may be due to cost saving measures and they may be due to a perception that juries are returning lower awards for soft tissue injuries.


The best way to get paid too little on a claim is to do what you have done and negotiate directly with an insurer. Almost always, insurers will offer unrepresented parties far less than what a claim is worth.

Even with paying a lawyer part of a settlement, odds are decent that you would do better.

It concerns me that an offer is even being made at this time. If your daughter stilll has problems, it would be extremely foolish to settle now, as future medical claims would be excluded.

You really need to get a lawyer right away and stop talking directly to the insurer.

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