Give me advice on settling a bodily injury claim for a car accident.
January 30, 2007 11:56 AM Subscribe
I had a car accident a few months ago and am now talking with the insurance company about the bodily injury claim. I've heard a lot from folks (on mefi and elsewhere) that you shouldn't settle quickly and to ask for more than they offer at first. I'm wondering how I do that. How much more do I ask for? What can I expect as far as the insurance company's response? How do I rationalize my bargaining?
posted by mulkey to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A quick version of my story: A guy runs a red, smacks into the side of me, totals my car. My back hurts, I go to my chiropractor for some help, they're great and after about three months get me back together again (yay). Just got a call from the company hoping to settle and they're offering me $2500 which the insurance guy explained included $1136 for medical costs, $250 for lost earnings and $1114 (he said he "rounded up") for general damages.
Since I'm a grad student and an instructor, I don't have the ability to "lose wages" so even though I was in pain, irritable, took time off of work, and the accident caused me to delay tasks I would otherwise have done more quickly this doesn't change my salary. The $250 was a project I was working on that I couldn't do on time because of being injured. The guy made it sound like a big deal that he was giving me that money. I have a hard time knowing what else to say except that the accident made my ability to do my work very slow for two + weeks. Which didn't mean I didn't have to do it, it just piled up and I felt overwhelmed afterwards. Is there any way to argue this?
The second issue is that when the insurance company took away the rental car, I had to bike everywhere which was not ideal given my back pain. I did eventually find a good car, but there was a week there where my mobility was limited and my body in more pain than necessary. Is this something I should comment on to get more money? How do I do this?
I'm guessing that they're low balling me here and wanting me to accept the money gratefully and move on. But I don't know how much I could expect to get for a totaled car and a bunch of pain. When I asked for rationale the guy fed me some lines about how "he does this every day" and "we know what juries are likely to award". I'm wondering how much of that is just what they say to get me to accept gratefully and how hard I should push.
Any advice or thoughts hive mind? I'll accept those gratefully!