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I was in a car accident in August of last year. My med bills were 5300. How much should i negotiate for pain & Suff?

Aurora, IL |

The other person's insurance company offered me $4600.00 for Pain & Suffering. I have read online that pain & suffereing is usually 2 to 3 times the medical bills. Any suggestions?

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Attorney answers 8


Unrepresented parties only get 11% of what represented parties get. Unrepresented parties only go after one insurance policy, when there are frequently more than one to go after. Unrepresented parties end up getting kicked in the teeth 100% of the time. Don't be a fool. Get a lawyer.

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Consult (and retain) an attorney. Jeff Adams


If cases like yours were resolved simply with formulas, lawyers like us who represent victims would be out of work. Here are just a few factors that a lawyer (and an adjuster, and a jury) will use in evaluating your case: The severity of your injuries; [The amount of the medical bills are not always representative of this. For example, some broken bones are severe, painful injuries that require little treatment and thus produce low medical bills. Also, some medical providers charge unreasonable fees. Be assured that the adjuster and the jury will know this.] What the photos of the property damage look like; Where the collision occurred [conservative or liberal jury pool - or something in between]; Whether any of the injuries are permanent; How long you treated for; Are your medical bills mostly for diagnostic tests (x-rays, MRIs) or for treatment?; Are your medical providers known "players" in the community? Will you make a good impression on a jury? Will the defendant? [e.g. a very sweet little old lady]; How much work did you miss? Were there any time gaps in your medical treatment? Have you had any prior collisions? Any subsequent collisions? Do you have any convictions that can be used against you in Court? Does the other driver? How will your pain and suffering witnesses do before a jury? There are other factors, but I'm sure you get the idea. We earn our money - getting you more money. You really should get a lawyer. Good luck.


Consult a personal injury lawyer license in Illinois. I provide free consultations.


You need to consult with a Personal Injury attorney.

As others have pointed out the percentage of your settlement, in most instances, dramatically increases when you have a Personal Injury attorney.

The Insurance Co. will try and pay out the least possible to unrepresented claimants.

Would you perform a root canal on yourself? I hope not.

Test the waters and at least consult with an attorney to see if you feel comfortable.

Feel free to contact me.


There is no guideline for what pain and suffering should be, as it varies from person to person and injury to injury. It is amorphous not matter how many times others insist on rules applying.

I wish you luck in settling your case yourself but encourage you to retain a lawyer in the future if you are injured, as studies show that cases handled by lawyers usually are settled for higher amounts and/or better value.


How much you can recover for Pain and Suffering varies widely on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes, you can recover 3-4 times your medical bills, sometimes much more and sometimes less. It largely depends on the type of injury and whether you have any ongoing or permanent damage. It may also depend on how the injury has impacted your life (i.e. losing a leg vs. just having back pain).

In short, there are lots of different variables that impact how much a case might be "worth" and a good attorney should be able to outline some of those variables and help you to decide whether to settle.

I will also tell you that an insurance company's initial offer is often low. Furthermore, you should be sure that the $4,600.00 offer is just for pain and suffering and does not include what we call "special" damages - i.e. compensation for your medical bills or car repair bills. If it includes those other damages, you may have to pay back your insurance carrier for medical bills or car repair bills.


Consult with an attorney; you need to know that your rights are being protected and that you are being fairly compensated for your claim. Given the $5,300 in medical bills - assuming all were related to the incident - I would suggest that pain and suffering should be 2-3 times that amount, if not more depending on the nature of the injury. You may also have claims for lost wages, property damage, etc.
Further, beware that the settlement is not a 'global' settlement, i.e., in settlemen of property damage and injury claims.

Any time you deal with an insurance company, it is important to remember they are not acting in your best interest and not your advocate. Best to consult with an attorney you trust. Best of luck to you with your claim.

James Rowe
The Law Firm of Rowe & Associates
100 North LaSalle Street, Suite 1010
Chicago, Illinois 60602
(312) 345-1357 tel
Free Consultations - No Fee Unless You Win!

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