How Much Should I Accept in an Auto Accident Settlement?


We live in Houston Texas my 18 year old daughter was involved in a auto accident she was the passenger and the driver of the other car was 100% at fault. She injured her right knee when it hit the dashboard. She went to physical therapy for a few months and ended up having surgery her total health bills are 35,000.00 our erisa self funded health ins plan payed out 21,500.00 the rest was written off as contract rates with our ppo network. The driver of the car that hit her has State Farm and they have a 100,000.00 per person policy.

Anyway after negotiating State Farms final offer is 42,500.00 We have to pay back the health lein for 21,500. they will not negotiate this offer the lawyer gets (33%) 14,000. plus 1,000 in fees That adds up to 36,500. So in the end my daughter gets 6,000.00 for pain and suffering for her knee injury and surgery. IS THIS A FAIR OFFER?? Thanks for any input. I would also like to add we have not agreed to this offer yet and nothing has been signed yet!

Her medical diagnoses for her knee are 924.11 knee contusion 719.46 S/P lateral release synovetomy 836.0 tear of medial cartilage 727.0 synovitis tenosynovitis and chondromalacia of patellae. Her surgery procedure was arthroscopy with tricampartmental synovetomy and arthroscopic lateral release.


Alyssa, your question is a tough one to answer. I am a Florida accident injury lawyer, and I’m not licensed in Texas, nor have I ever practiced there. So I have no information what a fair settlement is in your area for this type case. Just as an example here in Florida, settlement ranges vary from county to county, with ranges being generally higher in the north part of the state than in the south.

Also, laws vary from state to state. The type and amount of damages you can recover in Texas may be much different than in Florida. So, the best estimate of the true value of your daughter’s claim is going to have to come from a lawyer in Texas.

I can give you a couple areas you can look into to evaluate the value of the claim. In Florida, we have a Jury Verdict Reporter which records information about accident and injury lawsuits. It usually gives the details of the claim, such as the type injury, whether it went to verdict or was settled prior to trial, the county in which the accident occurred, the doctors and lawyers involved, and the amount of economic damages including health insurance liens, medical bills, lost wages, and any awards for pain and suffering. If you’re not sure about the value of your daughter’s claim, I would ask your attorney to provide you with this type of information.

Another avenue to explore is reducing the insurance lien. Some states have statutes which govern how a health insurance lien may be reduced when it arises out of an accident injury case. Other health insurers will negotiate the lien on their own as they are very happy to be recovering money back for medical bills they have paid under the health insurance.

Also, Florida has PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance coverage which is mandatory. In Florida, it usually provides $10,000 in medical bill coverage. The PIP coverage can be used to cover a health insurance lien.

Just from your description of the settlement, it appears to me to be low. I would have a hard time telling one of my clients who has undergone surgery that my attorney fee is $14,000+ when the client is only going to net $6,000. However, there are many factors that go into the settlement value of a claim, and they go beyond the facts you’ve described above.

My advice is to sit down with your attorney and ask him for some of the information I’ve mentioned above. If you don’t get satisfactory answers, you can always switch lawyers. If you’re not satisfied with the settlement amount, you also have the right to go to trial.

If you have a question or need information on South Florida Auto Accident Settlements, contact Florida auto accident attorney Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today for a free consultation.. The Law Office of Joseph M. Maus and Associates has handled some of the largest Florida overtime wage claims. Attorneys in their offices were recently appointed in Federal Court as lead counsel in an Overtime Class Action against a large Fortune 500 Company.

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