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redinsmb

Follow up to my car accident Q's

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A couple months ago I was in a car accident and received some helpful advice.  (Original thread here: http://boards.answers.findlaw.com/index.php/topic/227321-should-i-contact-a-lawyer/)

 

I opted not to consult a lawyer, my husband had one doctor's visit after the accident where he was checked out and had x-rays taken (he was sore in several areas and had nausea)  It took a few weeks, but he eventually healed and hasn't had to go back to the doctor.  He missed one day of work immediately following the accident and one half day for a doctor's appointment for the above mentioned visit.  Like me, the accident was profoundly disturbing - Recap: we were hit head-on by a woman who fell asleep behind the wheel, my husband brought our car to a complete stop and laid on the horn but we couldn't do anything else but sit there and watch as the other car approached us and smashed into us head-on at 35mph (which, as we learned, is faster than you'd think).  Airbags saved us from major injury, and the $10,000 collision repairs were covered by the at-fault driver's insurance along with a rental car.  Accident was 100% the other driver's fault, witnessed by two police officers and a third party.

 

Our young son was in the car as well, however, he was not physically hurt beyond some discomfort from the seatbelt (probably a bruise, but minor).  We didn't take him to the doctor because he was already traumatized and a doctor's visit would have made things worse.  Physically, he is fine.  Emotionally the accident imprinted on him, he plays with his toy cars and reenacts the accident and is jumpy when crossing streets (afraid cars won't stop).  I don't believe he needs any therapy to help him cope, we just keep reassuring him that it was a fluke and it won't happen again.  Still, watching him play with his cars and having one "bad car" fall asleep and smash into another one is really upsetting to me.

 

My medical treatment is still ongoing.

 

We're in the claims process now and the at-fault driver's insurance adjuster wants me to present a claim for pain and suffering for my son and husband.  I have no idea how to put a price on that and was hoping someone with some experience in the area could offer me some guidance.  My own claim will sit open until my medical treatment is completed.  We were told that the at-fault driver's insurance company does not recognize diminished value claims, even though the value of our vehicle is now considerably less than when we bought it (and the load carrying capacity has also been diminished due to the frame damage), since the at-fault driver's insurance won't pay for this, I want to be certain we're compensated fairly in other areas.

 

Thank you in advance!  If I can provide more information please post and ask, I really appreciate the expertise already shared.

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It's unclear why you wouldn't google the topic of settling personal injury claims as a DIY.  You're free to ask for whatever you like; just understand if the insurance company says "no", you either settle or you sue.

 

"I don't believe he needs any therapy to help him cope, we just keep reassuring him that it was a fluke and it won't happen again."

Uhm, I don't know that I'd have told him "it won't happen again" but ...

 

"Still, watching him play with his cars and having one "bad car" fall asleep and smash into another one is really upsetting to me."

I'm not sure what your point is here; how you cope is something you'd address with a counselor if need be.

 

"I have no idea how to put a price on that and was hoping someone with some experience in the area could offer me some guidance."

Again, I'd like to think you've googled the topic of assessing damages in DIY personal injury claims.

 

I'm unclear why you wouldn't insist on a total/salvage of the car by your own insurance company if the other insurer wouldn't proceed that way, esp. if the car isn't functionally equivalent to what it was.  I also wouldn't care what some claims adjuster at the at-fault company says about what it will and won't tolerate in terms of a DV claim; I'd see what my state had to say about it.

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It's unclear why you wouldn't google the topic of settling personal injury claims as a DIY.  You're free to ask for whatever you like; just understand if the insurance company says "no", you either settle or you sue.

 

I have already, standard suggests 1.5 times the medical costs.  However, since medical costs were minimal or non-existent, I need to come up with a figure based primarily on the mental trauma, inconvenience, and other non-monetary items.  By the 1.5 times medical cost logic my son is entitled to no pain and suffering compensation, and my husband (who was in pain for weeks and missed work resulting in loss of PTO equaling over $500) is entitled to 1.5 times medical costs (and I can't seem to locate if that's the out of pocket or the total billed to insurance).  Since he was in pain for weeks but only visited the doctor once to make sure nothing was broken it seems wrong to assume his pain and suffering compensation should be 1.5 times our $20 copay, or 1.5 times the $200 that was billed to our medical insurance.

 

Uhm, I don't know that I'd have told him "it won't happen again" but ...

 

The chances of someone falling asleep behind the wheel and smashing into us head on are slim enough that yes, I felt comfortable telling my 5 year old it won't happen again so he could sleep at night.

 

 

I'm not sure what your point is here; how you cope is something you'd address with a counselor if need be.

 

Actually, this factors into the "pain and suffering" under mental trauma.  You don't need to have a physical injury to have pain and suffering and while it's not worth much, in the interest of full disclosure so that helpful people here can actually be helpful, I included it.

 

Again, I'd like to think you've googled the topic of assessing damages in DIY personal injury claims.

 

Again, I did that.  I need real world advice, not some numbers entered into a computer system.

 

I'm unclear why you wouldn't insist on a total/salvage of the car by your own insurance company if the other insurer wouldn't proceed that way, esp. if the car isn't functionally equivalent to what it was.  I also wouldn't care what some claims adjuster at the at-fault company says about what it will and won't tolerate in terms of a DV claim; I'd see what my state had to say about it.

 

Because a total salvage of my car would have resulted in my car loan being paid off (partly by gap insurance) and me having to find a replacement auto loan and vehicle to purchase after I just bought this one last year.  Getting out of a car loan doesn't automatically give you a few grand to toss toward a down payment, and it certainly doesn't make it so that inventory in your price range is more readily available.  My car is a popular model and a replacement for the year and specific make would have been difficult to procure (I looked, there was one match available within 100 miles of my location and it was a former fleet vehicle, which I am not interested in owning).  I'd have to settle for paying more for a newer model or buying a car that I wasn't happy with.  I love my car and it was fixed after the accident by a reputable garage - the issue is that when I go to resell it I'm going to get considerably less than I would if the car had a clean record (bending the frame of a vehicle does that).  

 

Furthermore, I have looked into the state laws regarding diminished value claims and sought advice (http://boards.answers.findlaw.com/index.php/topic/227485-diminished-value-claim/) and it basically sums up to "You can try to fight it out in court, but you probably won't win".  So yes, I want to make certain we are compensated fairly in other areas before I swallow whatever the at-fault driver's insurance company is going to offer, and from all of the reading I have done, I need to make a high, but reasonable, demand for compensation because the insurance adjuster will not just say "Oh, okay, here's a check" they're trained to negotiate it down as far as they can.  However, I don't even know even a ballpark figure of what to ask for in a claim, which is the reason I came here looking for human advice, knowing that many people who frequent these forums have experience with bodily injury claim settlements.  Of course if the adjuster refuses to cooperate I am open to suing, I just don't feel it's necessary right now and would prefer to handle things out of court if at all possible.

 

If I can answer any other questions in an effort to provide you with information you need to offer helpful advice, please, feel free to ask. Otherwise, I don't really need unhelpful commentary such as "google it" or "I don't know what your point is".

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