General rule of thumb is 3x medicals for general damages, plus out of pocket costs. $27,000 is a reasonable starting point. You may need a personal injury attorney to value your claim.
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.
I do not practice in California. Personal injury lawyers aren't only useful for proving liability. In a non-contested liability case, they are also useful for, including without limitation:
1. Getting you greater value for your case
2. Negotiating with the insurance company
3. Negotiating down liens that may be asserted against your recovery by providers, medical insurers
4. Suing the b*stards if they refuse to pay you fair value.
It seems like a relatively small dollar case, but based on the facts presented, I'm not sure why you were advised to not seek a lawyer? I'm sure there are many in your area who would be willing to help.
I don't think that there is any universal "formula" for assessing damages that are fair in every circumstance. Many insurance carriers used to operate that way, to try to squeeze in some type formula (e.g. 2 times meds, or 3 times meds), but every case is unique. It would appear that the adjuster in your case is trying to start low in the hope that you will take very little. That said, from the minimal facts, it would appear that the number offered is low, even assuming that they are willing to pay for the medical costs in addition to the $3K. Assuming there are no issues related to possible "comparative fault" on your part, I would think that a counter demand in the neighborhood of $25-30K is in order. If you don't get any satisfaction in your continuing negotiations, it may be time to consider legal counsel.
There is no "formula" to assess your damages. I would not agree that 3 times medical specials is a formula a plaintiff would want to follow. Each case rises and falls on its individual facts. You have certainly given insufficient information to give you any kind of a ballpark figure.
Simply because they are currently admitting liability does not mean that you don't need a personal injury attorney to assist you in getting fair value. Arrange a free consultation with a local personal injury attorney and get his or her advice, after discussing the facts in great detail. You may find it beneficial to retain counsel to assist you in getting a much higher settlement.
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 insure proper advice is received.
DO YOU HAVE A LOSS OF EARNINGS? MAYBE A LOSS OF FUTURE EARNINGS? HOW ABOUT EXPENSES SUCH AS CAR RENTAL? IS THERE ANY POSSIBILITY OF FUTURE MEDICAL TREATMENT OR SURGERY? THESE AND OTHER ISSUES SHOULD BE ADDRESSED IN ORDER TO PROPERLY EVALUATE YOUR CLAIM'S WORTH-DO NOT BE IN A RUSH TO SETTLE OR YOU WILL SHORT-CHANGE YOURSELF.
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