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Accident settlement and damages

by Paul

I was hoping you can help. I was rear ended a few months ago in DC. Other driver sited. I sustained Neck, Back and Knee injuries. My knee required surgery for cartilage and patella damage. At this point I have exhausted my pip and am submitting claims to my medical insurance.

To date I have about 25k in medical expenses. I also have about 2k in out of pocket expenses such as car rental overages. I am in the process of being released for the neck and back treatment and am still following up for the knee. It is still very painful and gives out without notice.

My car was brand new and was repaired at the dealer. The damage was about 8k. Although it seems to drive ok the trunk repair is noticeable. I tried to trade me car in and because it was in an accident it now has a reduced value of almost 4k.

The at-fault insurance company is following up with me about every four weeks and is trying to keep me happy and she keeps confirming that I don’t have an attorney. So far I haven’t felt the need for one. What should I expect out of the settlement negotiations? Is there a rule of thumb I should follow?

What am I eligible to recover? How is pain and suffering calculated? I have missed vacations and had to use most of my vacation time on doctors appointments.

I know I need to reimburse the medical insurance company for what the have actually paid. I tried to trade my car in and Carmax wouldn't take it due to the visable damage inide the trunk. The dealer offered 4K below KBB trade-in value because of the accident.


Hello Paul,

You have several inquiries here. Your knee injury is somewhat of a concern because it could be a permanent injury (which would have a substantially higher value.). I am not sure what your doctor is saying, but if you knee injury is permanent, you really need to talk to an attorney.

The reality is that 25K is very high for your “normal” whiplash, soft tissue injury. You also have very high out pocket expenses which would explain why the insurance company is concerned with you getting a lawyer.

If you believe you can settle without a lawyer, which again, I do not advice if you have a permanent injury, you should visit:

Regarding your car, you are dealing with what is called a diminished value claim. It is somewhat of a complicated claim to make, depending your how long ago this (few months could be 12 months or 36) happened.

For more information on how to make this type of claim and what rights you have, visit:

Comments for Accident settlement and damages

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Oct 22, 2009
diminished value
by: Pat

On the diminished value issue, don't give up. I had a 2007 BMW with 19K in damages, which was not enough for a total. The car was fixed, but O didnt want it any more. No one would buy it - not BMW, not Carmax, not even a high end used car dealership. I had all of them write letters explaining this, and also explaining that I could probably sell my car at wholesale auction and expect to get about 15K which is 18K less than what Travelers valued the car at. I sent all this info along with some internet research on diminished value to the Hartford office of Travelers, and, here's the kicker, I sent copies to THE TOP 5 EXECUTIVES AT TRAVELERS IN ST. PAUL MN. They gave me a check for the entire 18K of diminished value! I signed a release on the property claim, but still have not settled my medical. I am sure that they now cringe when they see my name on an envelope!

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