I am a 34 year-old California resident. Back in the beginning of January, my son and I were hit while waiting at a stoplight. We were hit pretty hard – my vehicle was actually attached to the vehicle in front of me as a result of the impact. The person that hit us turned out to be under the influence of alcohol. There was a police report done, and the “drunk” individual was cited (in addition, this person actually left the scene of the accident – but was later found since the person in front of me took down the license plate). Thankfully, the person that hit us has insurance.
In January, I spoke with the insurance adjuster of the person that hit us – since there was no question that their insured was at fault, they accepted liability. The adjuster explained that after my son and I complete our medical treatment, they would make a settlement offer.
My insurance company initially paid for the repairs of my vehicle, but was reimbursed by the at-fault party’s insurance. Total vehicle repair came to $14,200.
In the accident, my son’s neck and shoulder were injured. He had a couple of medical visits and missed several days of school due to pain. Thankfully, he is currently not experiencing any pain now.
My neck and shoulder were also injured in the accident. However, my injuries were more severe than my son’s. Over the past nine months, I have had 4 1/2 months of physical therapy, cortisone injections, and medications with the pain not improving. Since conservative treatment was not successful, I recently had surgery to correct the impingement in my shoulder. I am currently continuing physical therapy.
Since the accident, I have missed time from work and have incurred out of pocket medical expenses (co-pays, prescription co-pays). The total so far for time off of work (Sick Leave, Vacation, Unpaid) plus out of pocket expenses is around $7500. And, the medical bills I would estimate around $25,000 – $35,000 (including the surgery/anesthesia bill). However, this is just an estimate – as I am still continuing physical therapy and will attend additional medical visits as needed.
I do not have an attorney, and am hoping it will not be necessary to retain one.
I thought I would give a little background leading up to my question. A co-worker of mine mentioned that she didn’t think my settlement offer would include an amount for Pain & Suffering since I do not have an attorney, and am not going through the courts to settle my claim. I was under the impression that my settlement would include time off from work & reimbursements in addition to an amount for pain & suffering. I do realize that every claim is different, and handled by a case by case basis. And, I understand that there really isn’t any “standard” amount I can expect to receive. However, when it comes time to negotiate a settlement, I was hoping to know what a fair estimate would be? And what the settlement will include – including an amount for pain & suffering? (Believe me, this whole experience has made my son and suffer in so many ways – physically, emotionally, and financially).
Does anyone have experience with this type of situation? Any advice / information would be greatly appreciated!