How to settle car accident personal injury claim without a lawyer

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speic...@hotmail.com

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Dec 11, 2004, 6:29:07 PM12/11/04
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My kid and I sustained whiplash-type injuries in a car accident 6
months ago and the other driver's insurance has accepted liability.
Medical and treatment bills are about $4000 and still ongoing my wage
loss is $20,000.
Does anyone have any tips on how to settle a personal injury claim on
our own?
Do I legally have to give the other insurance all the medical
information immediately?
How long should we wait until we settle?
what are the pitfalls dealing with the claim adjuster on your own?
How long after the settlement ended can we expect the money?
Is there an easy formula to calculate how much will my settlement be?
if you had settled on your own, any suggestions would be appreciated
if we settle, do I settle separately or do I settle together with my
kid?
My kid seems to be OK but I am worry about his future prognosis.
Should I wait till near the end of the statute of limitation and then
settle her case

speic...@hotmail.com

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Dec 13, 2004, 11:44:33 PM12/13/04
to
person are more restricted by society's expectations than are those of
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jobe...@gmail.com

unread,
Dec 14, 2004, 9:21:59 AM12/14/04
to

speic...@hotmail.com wrote:
> My kid and I sustained whiplash-type injuries in a car accident 6
> months ago and the other driver's insurance has accepted liability.
> Medical and treatment bills are about $4000 and still ongoing my
wage
> loss is $20,000.

You've been out of work for whiplash for 6 months? What is the formal
diagnoses? Prognosis? What is your occupation? Treatment regimen?
What type of doctor are you seeing?

> Does anyone have any tips on how to settle a personal injury claim on
> our own?
> Do I legally have to give the other insurance all the medical
> information immediately?

You need to release all your medical information. That will include
*prior* medical information, too - to make sure that you're not
treating for something for which you already suffered,a dn to make sure
that your treatment is consistent with the injury claimed, and that it
is appropriate for the injury claimed.

> How long should we wait until we settle?
> what are the pitfalls dealing with the claim adjuster on your own?
> How long after the settlement ended can we expect the money?
> Is there an easy formula to calculate how much will my settlement be?
> if you had settled on your own, any suggestions would be appreciated
> if we settle, do I settle separately or do I settle together with my
> kid?

You shouldn't settle until you're sure your injuries are either healed,
or as improved as they're ever going to be. The only pitfalls to
dealing with the adjuster on your own is that he/she will possibly use
language you're not clear on, or that you don't understand. (And
remember - anyone who tells you that you WILL get more with a lawyer?
That lawyer is going to take 33% off the top of your settlement. So if
the carrier decides to offer you (for example) $100,000, and someone
says a lawyer can get you more - you'd have to get nearly $150,000 with
an attorney in order to put you in the *same position* you were without
an attorney. Take that into consideration.) The carrier will not make
the first offer - they will wait for you to make a demand. General
area is 2-3x medical + out of pocket expenses. 6 months out of work
for whiplash is going to require a LOT of documentation about why you
could do no work - and if you're making a claim that there are things
you cannot do, the carrier will likely surveille you to see if you're
doing things you say you can't, or if you're doing things that you
would normally do in the scope of your career that you say you are
prevented from going back to.

> My kid seems to be OK but I am worry about his future prognosis.
> Should I wait till near the end of the statute of limitation and then
> settle her case

You don't say how old the child is (and I'm confused if it's a boy or a
girl, you use both pronouns here). If your child is under 18, the
statute of limitations is generally age of majority + X (statute). IE
- in NJ, the statute for Bodily Injury is 2 years, so if a 12 year old
is in an accident in NJ today, the statute of limitations for that
child will generally not expire until 2012 (barring early emancipation,
etc.) Any settlement for a child under the age of majority will
usually require the involvement of a judge to approve the settlement.

Talk to the adjuster - he/she will be able to give you more advice
about what they'd need in order to settle a claim for a minor.
Good luck!

Stan Brown

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Dec 14, 2004, 9:22:04 AM12/14/04
to
"" wrote in misc.legal.moderated:

>Does anyone have any tips on how to settle a personal injury claim on
>our own?

That's like asking if anyone has any tips on how to rive a power
drill into your head. The most useful tip is: DON'T.

If you have any personal injury at all, you are overwhelming likely
to be lowballed by the insurance company (your own or the other
driver's) unless you have a PI attorney.

--
If you e-mail me from a fake address, your fingers will drop off.

I am not a lawyer; this is not legal advice. When you read anything
legal on the net, always verify it on your own, in light of your
particular circumstances. You may also need to consult a lawyer.

Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com

Paul Cassel

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Dec 14, 2004, 9:22:16 AM12/14/04
to
speic...@hotmail.com wrote:
> My kid and I sustained whiplash-type injuries in a car accident 6
> months ago and the other driver's insurance has accepted liability.
> Medical and treatment bills are about $4000 and still ongoing my wage
> loss is $20,000.
> Does anyone have any tips on how to settle a personal injury claim on
> our own?

Why are you bothering when there are pro's who do this for a living?
Many will consult with you for free to give you an idea if it's cost
effective for you.

If you wish to go alone, and the other side smells you are a naif, you
lose your hammer which is going to court. Your post indicates to me that
you'd be lost filing in a District court which is where you'd need to be.

> Do I legally have to give the other insurance all the medical
> information immediately?

Nothing to lose. Either you produce it now or later. This is NOT Law and
Order where you pull a fast piece of evidence out at the last minute and
overwhelm the other side. You need to make your claim and for that you
need to document actual damages.

> How long should we wait until we settle?

Why wait at all? The defense is benefitted from delay, not the
plaintiff. If there is a fair offer on the table, why not take it?

> what are the pitfalls dealing with the claim adjuster on your own?

He is a pro and you aren't. What is the usual and customary award for
your injuries in your area? What is the value of your experts who will
testify to your damages? The adjuster knows as does a local PI attorney.
You don't.

> How long after the settlement ended can we expect the money?

You can make payment time part of the settlement. I've seen payment on
the same day.

> Is there an easy formula to calculate how much will my settlement be?

No. Usually it's actual plus Pain & Suffering with maybe punitive too.
Sometimes an insurance will deny what you think of as actual damages if
the treatment is excessive such as if you went to a chiropractic mill.
Also if you malingered to up your damages the insurance will fight. I
recently had a case where actual documented damages exceeded $20k, but
the settlement was under $6k because the documentation was from such a
mill and the juries aren't buying that junk any more.

> if you had settled on your own, any suggestions would be appreciated
> if we settle, do I settle separately or do I settle together with my
> kid?

It makes no difference. The value will be calculated separately in
either case.

> My kid seems to be OK but I am worry about his future prognosis.
> Should I wait till near the end of the statute of limitation and then
> settle her case
>

Medical question - not legal.

-paul
ianal

Scott Hedrick

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Dec 17, 2004, 7:24:52 PM12/17/04
to

<jobe...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:anttr01g4sl8ki2o1...@4ax.com...

>(And
> remember - anyone who tells you that you WILL get more with a lawyer?
> That lawyer is going to take 33% off the top of your settlement. So if
> the carrier decides to offer you (for example) $100,000, and someone
> says a lawyer can get you more - you'd have to get nearly $150,000 with
> an attorney in order to put you in the *same position* you were without
> an attorney. Take that into consideration.)

Also take into consideration that, with an attorney, the carrier is far more
likely to take you seriously and be willing to settle quickly. A faster
settlement means you start getting better medical treatment and the bills
get paid.

Barry Gold

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Jan 9, 2022, 10:34:19 AMJan 9
to
You have a claim worth AT LEAST $24,000 and you're asking advice from a
bunch of strangers?

Get a lawyer. Your lawyer will get you fair value for your claim. Yes,
he/she will charge you 1/3 of the settlement (40% if the claim has to go
to court, but that rarely happens), but without a lawyer you are going
to be outgunned by the other driver's insurance company adjusters, who
do this all the time and are experts at driving down what they have to
pay you.

If you have $20,000 in lost wages, you almost certainly have pain and
suffering damages as well as your medical and wage claims. That will
probably more than make up for the 33% or 40% that your lawyer will charge.

There are four ways to find a lawyer:

1. If you have a personal lawyer, ask him/her to recommend a specialist
in auto accident claims.

2. Ask your friends, coworkers, and family members for the names of
their personal lawyers. Call those lawyers' offices and ask for a
referral to a specialist in auto accident injury claims. If you see one
name on several of those lists, that's the one you want.

3. Find the web page for your county Bar Association. They will have a
referral service where you choose the kind of legal help you need and
they give you a list of lawyers who work in that area. But beware: they
don't do any sort of quality control. They just accept the lawyer's word
that he's good at that sort of thing.

4. If you live in a major city, there are probably billboards with
advertisements for lawyers. There may also be TV ads. Again, you have no
idea how good those lawyers are. Here in Los Angeles, we get ads for
"Sweet James" (I kid you not!) and "Call Jacob". Most of these
specialize in cases that are easy to handle, rather than complex ones,
but it sounds like yours should fit that definition since the other side
has already accepted liability.

NOTE: I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice. If you want legal
advice, hire a lawyer.


--
I do so have a memory. It's backed up on DVD... somewhere...

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