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What is a fair settlement?

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Ten months ago I was rear-ended while at a complete stop behind another vehical at a red light. The individual who struck me admitted fault, she had not attempted to stop as she explained at the scene, she did not see me or the red light. Paramedics took me by ambulance to an Emergency hospital. The hospital physicians recommended I seek a personal physician for treatment. I did so.
I sustained severe back and neck injuries, and I was diagnoised with severe TMJ. This unfortunate accident, aside from being unwanted was and is inconvient as well, as I was obligated to relocate from Nevada (place of accident) to New York four weeks later. This relocation had been scheduled several months prior to the accident.
I hired an attorney as I did not have the emotional stamina nor the skills to deal with any insurance company (especially hers) and I could not postpone my relocation. I was told in the very begining of this unfortunate experience that I would have to pay my medical bills out of pocket (my insurance did not have personal medical coverage) and her insurance company would reimburse my medical bills only when all treatment had ended. To date, I am still under physician care.
I received a call from my attorny's office this afternoon informing me of the insurance company's offer for settlement. It is barely twice my medical bills. A sum out of which I must pay said bills ( credit cards and four leins) and 33% to my attorney, plus future medical services.
My attorney recomends I reject this offer and accept his suggested settlement of just a little bit more, not even three times my bills to date. He recommends I do not go to court with this as my injuries fall into a catagory called "tissue injury", which is perceived and accepted by the courts as basically a non-injury. Apparently there is a set settlement limit for such cases regardless of ones individual experience. After paying court costs and 40% to the attorney, there would be even less available for my medical bills than the suggested settlement. It is not fair compensation.
The insurance company, refuses to pay for any medical services received after July 5th, the day I visited their choice of doctor.
They required I visit their doctor at that time. I am told he has determined I no longer required treatment after what seemed barely half an hours observation. I am told there is nothing I can do. Legally, they can do this. Is this true?
I had on my own, sought out a second and third medical opinion on my primary physicans proceedures, one before the insurance required doctor visitation and one aferwards. They concluded my treatments were appropriate and that I should continue them. I was told a few months ago that My particular injuries could take a year to a year and a half to heal completely, especially the damaged facet joints of the neck (which do not show up on MRI's, I had to submit to a painful hospital proceedure to verify the physicians conclusion in August) and I was informed that I will develope arthritus in the various areas of my back and neck that have sustained damage as a result of this accident. And I will be requiring future treatments. The quality of my future physical well-being does not look bright. This is depressing news for someone who had taken good care of her health and body and had been an active equestrian prior to the accident.
I believe my physicians are doing their honest best in their treatment of my particular case. But I feel as though I, my treating physicians and therapists are being accused of perpertrating fraud. That is not true. What can I do?
I feel as though I am being victimized by the system as it was explained to me today. What can I do to receive a fair settlement? What is a fair settlement? What can I expect? My attorney requires an answer from me this coming Monday. I don't know what to do. What are my recourses?
I would be most appreciative for any information you can give. Also, I realize timing for a response may be a problem for my attorney, he will have to wait. I cannot make a spontaneous decision.
Thank you for your assistance.

-Truly Wreck!!!




Dear Wrecked:
So sorry to hear of your situation. A few comments... You don't say what state you're in and that makes a difference. A fair settlement in one jurisdiction may not be considered fair in another jurisdiction. If you're unsure of your attorney's advice, you may want to consider getting a second opinion from another local PI attorney. I know you said your attorney needs an answer by Monday, but why? Why can't you have til mid-week? Is that when the offer expires? See if you can buy yourself some time, then get into another attorney's office ASAP. In order for another attorney to judge whether this is a fair settlement or not, that attorney will want to see most of your medical records and legal documents generated by your present attorney. PI cases are very fact-specific and you're likely to get a much more accurate evaluation by a local attorney who could actually review your medical records than an evaluation you get online. If you need a referrel to another local PI attorney, check on either this website or get a referrel from your local county bar association. It sounds like the injuries you sustained are those referred to as "soft tissue injuries"; ie, no broken bones, no fractures, etc. Soft tissue injuries can be difficult to prove since most medical technology can't detect them. And a demand for three times the amount of medical bills incurred is typical in many jurisdictions, although, in your case, it may not leave you with enough money left for future care and other items. In a nutshell, I think you'll get a better and more accurate evaluation of your case (with all its many facts and history) from a local attorney who can actually see the medical records and the legal documents prepared thus far than what you'll get online. Please come back if you have further questions. Best of luck to you.

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