Medical Settlement amount?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by cc-rider, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

    Jul 29, 2003
    flatlands of Ohio - sigh
    My son was involved in a car accident several months ago. Not his fault. It totalled his car (which was bought used, and was nearly paid off). They settled pretty promptly on the car. Totalled it, paid off the rest of the loan, and gave him about $200. What a rip-off.

    He had to go to a chiropractor for his back and neck, which were pretty messed up - according to the xrays. He had maybe 20 sessions.... $4500 worth!!! They are wanting their money now. (And his neck and back still hurt).

    We are wanting the insurance company to settle this now since the doctor wants his money soon. The insurance company is supposed to make an offer today. What should we expect???

    We are in Ohio... I think they will pay "pain and suffering". In addition, he was layed off of his job for a week for being late for work (the day of the accident -- he was on his way there, and was just outside the parking lot when it happened, but had to wait for the police and tow truck). I don't want to teach my son to be greedy, but I also think he should be fairly compensated for having to buy a cheap vehicle (couldn't get another loan), still having back problems, and losing a week's employment.

    Is there some sort of formula that is used? Someone told me "actual expenses times 1/2" for pain and suffering.

    Thanks for any advise!
  2. RAC

    RAC Guest

    Is not being able to get a loan a direct result of his accident? Also, do you know for a fact that his back problems are temporary only? These days employers do all sorts of background and health checks. A back injury may well disqualify him from some types of employment in future, right off the top, even if there is no lifting really involved, simply because employers do not want to deal with high health insurance/workmans' comp costs. Many people with back injuries continue to have problems for quite a while. These are issues that need to be seriously looked into.

    His employer should not be penalizing him for complying with the law--especially since the accident was not his fault. Sounds like his employer needs a fine or something....

    Don't be in a rush to settle. You may need a lawyer, and it doesn't hurt to talk to one for free--most involved in personal injury will consult for free.

  3. doc623

    doc623 Well-Known Member

    Jun 7, 2004
    Sticking my nose in.
    Talk to an attny on a contingensy(sp) basis.
    Use and attny that has a good track record specializing in this type
    of case.
    Ues a local attny if possible - check with your local legal society for referral not
    the phone book.
    Get a second opinion on his condition and/or possible cost.
    Most doctor offices - any type - do not require up front payment.
    there are too many factors to consider going it alone without experienced expert
    advice .
    Just my .02 worth.
    The decision is yours.
  4. PonderosaQ

    PonderosaQ Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 12, 2004
    SW VA
    I heartily agree wth the other replies. I have worked in the medical field most of my life and have seen what can happen down the road after an accident of this type, scar tissue, herniated discs etc etc. Do consult an attorney and get a second opinion medically. I'd go to an orthopedic dr, who specializes in movement and the like. Though I respect chiropractors many in the legal field don't. An orthopedic dr would be the one fixing any major problems down the road. My son had an accident at 16, by 19 the dr said his back looked like that of a 90 yr old on the x-rays. I never knew anything about it till he was in his late 20's and too late to give him any advice. He'll pay for it the rest of his life. A friend's son had a car accident, only in his 20's, young and healthy.....after physical therapy and chiropractic care he ended up needing major back surgery and job retraining. Is he glad he got a lawyer. I don't mean to be Miss Doomsday but since you still have time watch out the best you can for your boy. I hope he gets decent car out of it his aching back will be comfy in.

  5. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 31, 2002
    No. Cent. AR
    I would not sign/accept any offer from an insurance company until you talk to an attorney and then an orthopedic doctor.
  6. jillianjiggs

    jillianjiggs Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2003
    I'd definately see an attorney, even if it's only for a consultation. We're going through the same thing right now. (we were rear-ended and pushed into another car...totalled our car) It's so nice not having to worry about the bills, the court dates, settlements. From what I've heard, just having a lawyer guarantees that you'll get two to three times as much money in the settlement. Also, the lawyer can help keep creditors off your back and off your credit report until the case settles. I was concerned about coming off as greedy as well, but in reality, I just want to make sure that the bills are paid and that an accident that wasn't my fault doesn't mess up my credit.
  7. doc623

    doc623 Well-Known Member

    Jun 7, 2004
    While I agree with most of the information; those who are voicing an opinion
    concerning chiropractic should limit their comments on subjects that they no little of nothing about.
    A topic for another time and place.
  8. RAC

    RAC Guest

    I don't think anyone above was denigrating Chiropractic per se, just stating facts about how the legal system looks at it compared to other medical specialties. I don't know why the legal system doesn't seem to like it, maybe something to do with so many people going every week or every other week for months and years at a time, unlike with other medical procedures where something is done, it's finished and you don't go back, end of expense. Like I said, I don't know, it just is.

    I know people who swear by chiropractors and have had good results from them.
  9. amelia

    amelia Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2003
    Washington State
    CC Rider, I may still be learning the difference between straw and hay, but this is something I know a few things about.

    First, you can pretty much count on the insurance company getting the better of you unless you're represented by an attorney. Bottom line, you have no leverage at all unless the insurance company believes that NOT entering into a fair and timely settlement will end up costing it in attorney fees. Now, before you say that your son can't afford to hire an attorney, realize that an attorney who does any amount of personal injury work is going to expect to be paid on what's called a "contingent fee" basis, meaning that he'll take one-third (usually) of the recovery as a fee. If you don't recover anything, you won't owe him anything except for his costs. I think it's fair to say that in general people fare much better recovery-wise when an attorney is representing them--even considering the one-third contingent fee--than they would have if flying solo.

    As far as damages go, you're generally entitled to recover all medical expenses, to the extent that they are reasonably incurred, as well as lost wages and other out-of-pocket expense (e.g., rental car, transportation to medical appointments, amounts paid to others to perform household work you cannot do). These include future expenses so long as they are more likely than not to be incurred and can be quantified with reasonable certainty. Other potential items of damage include compensation for loss of use of a vehicle and loss of sick leave or vacation time. Then there's the so-called "general damages," which include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, and disability. There are other categories of damages, but these are some of the most common.

    In most instances, the settlement of a claim in which liability is clear and there is no contributory negligence on your part will at the very least get you back all of your so-called "special damages"--the concrete stuff such as medical expenses, lost wages, and out-of-pocket loss. I say that with several caveats: First, only those expenses are reasonably incurred are recoverable. Chiropractic work, massage therapy, and other long-term, less traditional therapies are likely to be questioned in this regard. Second, your damages are recoverable only to the extent that you are reasonably diligent in taking action--such as keeping medical appointments, doing prescribed exercises, and under certain circumstances, taking alternative employment--to keep them to a minimum. This is referred to as the "duty to mitigate damages." Third, if there was a preexisting condition that caused you similar problems in the past or which you allege to have been made worse by the accident, you will face the sometimes squirrelly task of proving, through expert medical testimony, what was proximately caused by the accident and what was not.

    General damages are much trickier because they're so subjective. I've heard the rule-of-thumb that, at least in the case of straightforward minor injuries, general damages often turn out to be approximately two times special damages, but that's just a rule of thumb. There are a whole ton of factors that play into the calculus--including how sympathetic the plaintiff is, whether the responsible party's conduct would be viewed by a jury as deserving of punishment, etc.

    I could write a tome on this (indeed, I have a multi-volume SET of books on damages), but the point is not to arm you with the ability to settle this thing yourself, because you're not likely to do yourself any favors. When I got T-boned in an intersection a couple of years ago, I turned it over to a colleague to handle; although I was perfectly capable of taking the case to the Supreme Court, I was not an effective advocate for myself--and that's true for just about anybody.

    Go see three or four attorneys that do primarily personal injury work. Your state's bar association can refer you. Or call around to attorneys that do other types of legal work and ask who THEY would regard as good in the area of run-of-the-mill personal injury.

    Good luck!

    P.S. Does your son carry his own insurance? If so, check into the coverage and see whether he's got PIP or MedPay, which might cover medical expenses while a settlement is pending.
  10. William

    William Member

    May 26, 2003
    A friend of mine (age 74) was in a car accident on Christmas eve 2003. His wife died. He was at fault by making a left turn across the path of an oncoming car. The other car was exceeding the speed limit by 20 mph (and was also cited for bald tires).
    My friend would never have called an attorney, but his own insurance adjuster told him, 'I highly recommend that you contact an attorney'. He ended up getting 25,000 (before 33% attorney fee) for loss of his wife, 10,000 of the other guys liability limit, and has just been told by his attorney that their is more coming for his own injuries (broken ribs that now appear to be healed). My friend did have un-insured and under-insured coverage on his 'minimal' coverage. The other driver had minimal coverage in place (Florida).
  11. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    Northern Wisconsin
    I understand your predictament. Your son was involved in an accident. You don't want any more than you have coming.....but you certainly don't want to settle for any less than an equitable settlement.

    My brother went through a horrible accident when he slowed down to make a right hand turn and a semi truck ran over (literally) his car. The car was totaled. He on the other hand went to the hospital. He was out of work (he's a bricklayer) for 6 months, and still suffers some loss of balance.

    He very much wants to settle, but his attorney advised him not to until the full extent of his injuries are fully known. When insurance companies cut a check, everything is considered "PAID IN FULL", and if one has an accident related injury flair up, guess who will be paying for it?

    Fortunately, my brother is a Union bricklayer and has excellent health insurance, which paid for most of the medical expenses and ensuing therapy.

    I'd advise you to immediately seek the services of a qualified orthopedic surgeon. For my $.02 worth, chiropractors are little more than quacks. Your son could easily be put his health in serious jeopardy by strictly relying on the services of a bone cracker. Ones health means everything!
  12. stonefly71

    stonefly71 Well-Known Member

    Apr 14, 2003
    First off tell the chiropractor he will have to wait there isn't much he can do get a laywer but don't get handelman they suck. My brother was in a cab in ohio and was on his way back to work from the hospital from a Injury he got from work the cab driver went down a onw way street the wrong way. My brother got nocked out and thrown around in the back seat of the cab the driver hit 3 cars and got out to see if everyone was alright except my brother who laid in the back of the car unconchuss(sp)? after all was said and done he got about 13,000 bucks and by the time he got to the hospital he had 5 lawyers there to talk to him including the cabs lawyer. My brother in my opinian got screwed big time he should have gotten at least 10 times what they paid him. and he lost his job and was off work about 6 months and still has problems with his neck at times but thats what he will have to deal with. sorry about the rant but Ohio laws suck. My case is differnt cause mine is workers comp and I don't want to start with it I've been off 3 yrs for a back injury and the company I worked for in self insured and is trying everything to get me to go back to work after they Permantly laid me off 2 yrs ago. Just so they don't have to pay me my disabilty pay.It's like pulling teeth to get my meds every month from them. And I take about 900.00 in pain pills per month and have had a number of prosedures done next in to have my back cut and the dicks removed. Srry anain for the rant I just hate Ohio and I'm only 32 and will suffer the rest of my life with back pain and arthuritis(sp)/
  13. There are some good chiropractors out there but a lot of them exceed the boundaries of science in the interest of padding the bill, when they claim to be able to see discs on plain x-rays. that is simply not possible, and any one telling you they can is lieing
  14. RAC

    RAC Guest

    Perhaps I should clarify. I myself have never used a chiropractor. I know people whose opinion I trust who have, and they have gotten relief.

    However, what you see a lot in accidents are people who go week after week, month after month, like women go to hairdressers.... Chiropractic does not seem to long-term cure, like surgery (not that there can't be complications there either). And everyone I know who uses a chiropractor is told they NEED to keep going regularly--there is always the push to make it part of your routine (which is too easy to do if someone else is paying). In many cases I think one would be far better served putting the money into a set of those hanging boots, or a slant board (there's one item in the Living Arts catalogue where you lie on it and essentially are in a backbend position, but not having to lift yourself into it), or a set of Yoga or Pilates lessons if surgery is not an option, or they are afraid of surgery.

    The uncertainty of going week after week to chiropractors is I think an important reason why the legal system doesn't support its use. As you say, it is too easy to pad the bill, and when your lawyer is telling you who to go to it's even worse.

    CC-Rider, also go look at the Nolo Press website. Lots of good legal info there.
  15. doc623

    doc623 Well-Known Member

    Jun 7, 2004
    Are you the individual that earlier stated that you have a history
    of working in health care? If so, how?
    I tried to caution you earlier about expressing an opinion on a subject of which you have no expert opinion. I also said that this was the subject for another time
    and place. However, since you opened the door here is my .02 worth.
    Chiropractors are licensed and monitored by all 50 states.
    Chiropractors have been given the status of an expert witness by the courts to testify and many do and have done in the past.
    Some chiropractors specialize in various phases of care - after extensive residency and/or post graduate education and passing the appropriate national
    board examintations.
    Further, any care given/provided by any health care provider has to be medically/chiropractically justified.
    There is more information if you so desire or request.
    I again caution you about voicing/giving an opinion on a subject that you are not qualified to do so and to which some may take offense.
  16. RAC

    RAC Guest

    Never said anything about licensing requirements, I know they are licensed to practice. I know that they are used as expert witnesses in trials. However, there is still the feeling (justified or unjustified) among people (including judges, juries, lawyers and people in the insurance industry) in general that they are not as useful as for example an MD. It's just the way it is right now, and anyone suing for damages HAS to take that into account, whether they personally believe it to be true or not.

    No, I do not have a history in the health care field, never said I did. If you read my posts again, I am mainly addressing how Chiropractic is perceived, and it IS all about perception when someone is arguing your case in court. If you have a non-smoking judge, they may just buy the argument (as well as the evidence out there about second-hand smoke) that the current custodial parent is truly endangering the children's lives by smoking and should lose physical custody for example.

    Judges, lawyers and juries all bring their own experiences, personal points of view and preconceived notions to court with them. That too is a fact, and has to be considered. They cannot or will not always check their attitudes at the door. Look at the Martha case. In my opinion that one juror was going to find her guilty regardless, based on the statements he made after the case.

    All I am saying, is that if you are going to use a Chiropractor, have some other back-up opinion. You would normally get two or more opinions with MDs too in serious cases. This is no different.
  17. jillianjiggs

    jillianjiggs Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2003
    Fortunately for chiropractors and patients, Chiropractic is actually being taken seriously by a large portion of the medical field now. My HMO covers Chiropractic and Accupuncture. (this is an HMO that won't cover ANYTHING experimental) It really depends on the Chiropractor and what they claim they are able to treat. Claiming to be able to treat headaches, backache, muscle problems, sports injuries, etc. is acceptable. If your Chiropractor claims he/she can treat something like cancer, run, and run fast.
  18. StinkerBell

    StinkerBell Well-Known Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    He needs to see a neurosurgeon before you settle.
  19. bluereef

    bluereef Active Member

    Oct 13, 2003
    FL, TN
    I wasn't going to remark on the issue of chiropractic, but some totally mal-informed remarks have forced me to bring the truth to light.

    Just because you get ongoing treatment that emphasizes the natural structure of your body versus getting a procedure that cuts you up and then forces you to be bedridden for days or weeks at a time has nothing to do with approach being long term. The focus is just DIFFERENT.

    What would you rather have? Ongoing psychotherapy to help you work out your issues, or a lobotomy where they cut out a portion of your brain? I'd choose the former.

    That's because the chiropractic approach should be gentle, non-jarring, and "persuasive" in getting your body to realign itself naturally. One adjustment does not make a permanent change--if it did, it could be traumatic to your body and spinal cord.

    And just like your car that benefits from a regular wheel realignment--since everyday wear and tear can throw it out of proper alignment and cause other problems--your spine benefits from such regular realignments.

    And all this regular readjustment is not for the sake of just "putting things in their place". Proper spinal alignment frees your body to focus on its natural rhythms and immune system. If your spinal cord--the body's main transport system for the way the brain communicates with the rest of the body--has unnecessary pressure on it, your brain and your body won't be communicating and functioning at an optimal level.

    Before going to chiropractic, I was constantly sick with upper and lower respiratory infections (200 days a year I felt AWFUL). After I finished 4 months of frequent adjustments (3 x per week) following a severe back sprain, and started going "regularly" (once every 6 weeks), I experienced a significant drop in illness. I am sick maybe 4 days a year now as my body is better equipped to fight off bugs when they initially enter my body: My spine is in much better alignment and my body has a much better ability to heal itself.

    BONUS: The overall costs of all the chiropractic treatment were STILL cheaper than seeing the Ear, Nose, and Throat specialists and the drugs they were putting me on).

    That still won't give you proper alignment side-to-side and front to back. You spine was designed to have very specific curves in it in very specific places. Forcing yourself to stretch won't cut it.

    Yoga is very good for spinal alignment, but not as good as chiropractic. Pilates has nothing to do with it.

    No, it's because of a strong lobby by the medical and pharmaceutical industries to promote themselves and to denegrate the benefits of chiropractic. Chiropractic is a relatively new field and it struggled against the entrenched medical industries to gain respect and recognition as a non-invasive approach to healing. If people can heal themselves from within, then med docs and drug companies won't be able to profit from you so much.

    Chiropractic doesn't seek to "cure" you of anything--it is designed to allow your body to heal itself. It's like the adage: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure--except the medical profession rarely cures, it usually just throws drugs at the symptoms.

    Your statement is worth less than 2 cents because it has no basis in modern fact.

    At the time of graduation, today's chiropractors spend on average over 100 more hours in studying the human body than do medical doctors (2,887 vs. 2,756). This includes classes that focus on anatomy, physiology, pathology, bacteriology, diagnosis, neurology, x-ray, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics and chemistry.

    Here is a breakdown of what chiropractors and med doctors must study before graduating:

    The Doctor of Chiropractic readily acknowledges that the early, formative years of chiropractic education--like those of medicine--left much to be desired. But this is true of every science and profession. Maybe early chiropractors were quacks, but not today. And as in every professional field, there will always be a range of very good to very bad practitioners.

    Neurologists and neurosurgeons are not trained to read x-rays the same way chiropractors are. After my back sprain, the neurologist said I was "fine" after reviewing my front x-rays. He said I just had a bad sprain and gave me pain killers and muscle relaxants. Several weeks later, a friend recommended I see a chiropractor because I was still in pain. The chiropractor took x-rays from the front and side and showed me how I was misaligned (crooked!) in many places--even though I tried my best to "stand perfectly" during the x-rays. I was shocked at how wacky my spine looked and that the neurologist said I looked fine.

    So, see a neurologist if you desire to make sure you don't have severe impairment. But seeing a neurologist should NOT rule out also seeing a chiropractor. They focus on two different things.

  20. NancyinArkansas

    NancyinArkansas Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2002
    I know a woman whon run a stop sign and ran up under a 18 wheeler and killed the woman with her--they are suing the 18 wheeler driver because he was over his driving limit and should nt have been there---i dont agree with that but your son should have his money--all the best-Nancy