19 answers

Pain and Suffering....how Much Should I Ask For?

On Dec. 23rd we were hit by a drunk driver. It caused me whiplash but my husband and Daughter had no injuries, thank goodness. At the time of the accident I was just shooken up but not really in pain. But the next day got worse and then on Christmas I could barely turn my neck. After that it just kept getting worse until I couldnt stand up much because I was extremely dizzy and in pain. I was having numbness and tingling in my arms, hands and legs and feet on only one side of my body (where the whiplas occured). So I went to a Chiropractor and after doing and X ray he showed me how the Whiplash caused the vertebrae in my neck to completely shift and one had twisted the wrong way. So one side of my necks muscles were holding the weight of my head which was causing all the problems. Shortly after I started the treatment my husband deployed and things got worse because I had to take care of our 18 month old on my own. I couldnt hold her much and was always in pain. Now almost 7 months later, I am doing better and getting ready to settle soon. But I have NO idea what to ask for for pain and suffering. I dont want to be greedy but I also dont want to get taken advantage of. How much should I expect for pain and suffering pay out? Anyone have advice on how much to ask for?

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

To clearify to those who think I didnt go to the Doctor or ER first, I did. I went to a doctor on base twice and they sent me to a physical therapist but it only got worse. At that point they said they couldnt do anything else. They never did an X ray or anything. So I finally decided to go to the Chiropractor and he did an Xray. My insurance is covering the Chiropractic care until Im done and then the other party's insurance will have to pay my insurance. Also, like I already said, I dont want to be greedy and im not trying to get a lot of money. I just want to make sure it covers my chiropractic care and im wondering what else it should include.

Featured Answers

I don't know how much you should ask for, but I hope you get as much as possible. And don't even think about being greedy - you deserve every penny of it. This piece of trash drunk driver could have killed or maimed all of you and he/she deserves to be taken to the cleaners.

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I don't think you are being greedy by taking some jerk-off that was DRINKING AND HIT YOUR FAMILY to the cleaners. I would absolutely sue for all your medical expenses, and childcare that you needed to pay for, and pain and suffering. How much? I don't know. A LOT! I am usually all "don't be greedy, don't sue people, don't clog up our courts" but I think that if someone has decided to drink and drive then they get to pay the piper. Talk to your lawyer and find out what he believes the MAX is that you can get paid and then sue for a bit more. Let the lawyers haggle it out.
L.
(I lost the tip of my finger at work a couple of years ago and was paid almost $3,000 for it. I think you should get a helluva of a lot more)

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Did you go to the ER? Why did you see a Chiropractor and not a Medical Doctor? Did you have and MRI done or an EMG? The discomfort you went through was probably only partially caused by the accident, they rest was caused by delay of care. I agree with the other post. You (your lawyer) should ask for enough to cover your medical expenses (though you probably had minimal out of pocket expenses is your husband is military), any lawyers fees, and monies you paid for help with your child while you were recovering, and any wages lost from missing work (if you did miss work). Don't be greedy. The person who hit you doesn't pay you the insurance co. does and they compensate by raising rates.

I have been through this. I was at a complete stop at red light and rear-ended by a lady going 45mph....no brakes or anything...she was on her cell phone not paying attention. Luckily the cars in front of me had started moving and when i saw her coming i had enough time to take my foot off the brake. I traveled an entire block before stopping. Being an EMT I knew I would have whiplash. By the time I got home 1hr later my left arm was numb and I had excruciating pain in my neck. Went to ER for x-rays. Showed nothing. Went for PT. I had started PT before she even notified her insurance company.

I had MRI & EMG because I lost the feeling in half of my left hand. Turned out two pinched nerves (neck & elbow) from the seat belt and my elbow hitting the door . I missed 2 weeks of work after the accident (though I tried several times to go). Then I had to have surgery on my arm to remove a piece of bone and move the nerve so I could feel my fingers again. Missed 2 more weeks of work (even though the doctor wanted me out for 6) and 3 months of PT.

All I asked for was for them pay the medical bills ($20,000) that my insurance did not cover. I didn't ask for them to reimburse me for work missed because I had vacation and sick time that covered my time out. The insurance company refused. I got an attorney. Two years later, with my credit damaged because of the medical bills. The insurance ended up paying out $75,000. I received about $25,000 after the medical bills and lawyers fees. I still have problems and could not longer be an EMT because of the physical demands.

4 moms found this helpful

PLEASE get an attorney. You will not get the amount of money that you are deserved if you try and haggle on your own. And as for all the folks that want you to "take the guy to the cleaners" - I hope you realize that the driver will not pay you any of his own money. That is what insurance is for. He'll have to deal with the mess he made on his end (tickets, increased insurance, fines, etc.) but none of his money goes to you. In any event, you should be reimbursed for all of your medical bills (including what your insurance paid), any other incurred expense (ie, childcare, travel, prescriptions, etc), all future medical expenses that you will incur (and there is a way to calculate that), and also noneconomic damages, ie pain and suffering. That amount is what you want to make it. You could ask for the max amount that his insurance allows or over that and then your attorney would negotiate the final amount. You should also consider a claim for both your husband and daughter because they were involved too and I'd assume they had some medical expenses just from getting checked out.

I'm glad you're feeling better. Don't feel greedy when negotiating a settlement. That is exactly what insurance is for. And please get an attorney. Call the Washington State Bar if you don't know where to begin in looking for one - they will be able to point you in the right direction. And also know that you shouldn't have to pay an attorney up front. Find one that works on a contingent basis - ie, they only get paid if you get a settlement. It will be standard that they be reimbursed for their expenses and then their fee is a percentage of your settlement amount. Some people think that is a lot of money but you will get more with their help.

Good luck!!

4 moms found this helpful

I agree with Betty O...it is way to early to think about settling. It has only been 5.5 months and you probably do not know the full extent of your injuries or prognosis. I'm not sure about WA but in CA we have two years to file. Don't rush, it could only harm you.

3 moms found this helpful

I don't know how much you should ask for, but I hope you get as much as possible. And don't even think about being greedy - you deserve every penny of it. This piece of trash drunk driver could have killed or maimed all of you and he/she deserves to be taken to the cleaners.

3 moms found this helpful

Ask for how much you spent. I used to be a chiropractor assistant. It's actually very normal to not feel pain right away. We had people come in a few weeks after, sometimes. I felt so badly for the people who could not get a settlement, because they did not need treatment for a while. Anyway, I think you should get reimbursed for your medical fees, if you had to hire someone to help you with your children, or if you could not work. I don't mean to be rude when I say this, but you didn't really experience suffering. Meaning, it didn't do severe damage and now you can move on with life. If he had impaired you and you could not function normally for the rest of your life, then you should ask for more. The only reason I say it, is from experience. We saw many settlements take forever, because the person simply asked for more then they needed. Insurance companies will fight you and they have the manpower to do so. If you are getting what you paid back, you are not being greedy, or being taken advantage of.

2 moms found this helpful

Wait a few years before you settle, seriously. It will take that long before you know the outcome of what your medical costs will be. If you settle now, even for 50,000, it may not cover all of your future medical costs. Get a lawyer to help you with this.

2 moms found this helpful

Sorry, to hear about your accident! I'm so glad your husband and daughter weren't hurt. I've been in a few car accidents, and I never felt a thing until the next day. The adrenalin keeps you from feeling any pain.

If it were me, I'd probably ask for $50k. Honestly, the guy was drunk. You and your family were traumatized. You were hurt. You may have residual pain or spinal problems years down the line. Once you settle, they will not pay for any additional medical expenses.

I have no experience with insurance, but I chose the $50k number because most people have coverage of at least $50k, so his insurance should be able to cover it, and he won't have to lose his house to pay the damages.

Good luck to you. You don't sound greedy to me.

2 moms found this helpful

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