But this personal injury car accident case settled for a lot more than any kind of simple multiplier of medical bills.
This “times special damages math” where you try to determine a settlement amount with a formula is dangerous. It often causes plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyers (and victims) to substantially undervalue a claim.
Example Settlement Demand Letter
Dear Ms. Claim Adjuster:
This settlement demand package is submitted, on behalf of our client, Megan Barbero. Based upon the clear liability and the injuries and damages sustained, I will counsel Megan that she should settle her claims against your insured for a $100,000.00 payout. This is your insured’s policy limit and it should be the settlement amount in this lawsuit.
Liability is clear. On the evening of March 15, 2021, your insured was fiddling with the radio in her car, when she ran down Megan in the parking lot of a hair salon. Both your insured and Megan had exited the parking lot, near the corner of Pratt and Charles Street in Baltimore, Maryland, prior to the crash. In traffic court, your insured admitted her distraction, and she was found guilty of failure to exercise due care.
Unfortunately, as is often the case when a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle, your insured’s negligence caused Megan to suffer significant injury to her body. Megan was rushed by ambulance to the University of Maryland Hospital (“UMMS”), with initial complaints of spine pain, left wrist and hand pain, and bilateral ankle pain.
Megan’s hand and finger were cut and she was abraded over much of her body, by the blunt force of the impact with the vehicle and the ground. Fortunately, no broken bones were detected, although a possible hairline fracture in the right foot was later diagnosed.
By the time Megan got to UMMS, it was almost midnight. She spent a sleepless night, troubled by the aching and soreness in her body and by the recurring thought of her body being struck by the car.
Over the next few days, Megan’s fingers and feet swelled painfully. Bruises erupted on her right buttock, her knee, and her feet. Although Megan had crutches to ambulate, she could use only one crutch, due to the pain in her left wrist. Megan discovered a puncture wound on her inner right thigh, apparently from the car keys she was carrying when she was run down. Photos of Megan’s swollen and bruised body are attached, along with a picture of Megan’s bent key and vehicle transmitter which was broken in the crash.
Megan’s husband took time off from his work to attend to Megan, and the couple’s winter vacation trip to Florida was regretfully canceled. Her husband is an orthopedic surgeon. We are not seeking damages for Dr. Barbero.
On March 17, 2015, Megan presented to her primary care physician at Crossroads Medical Associates. Physical therapy was prescribed with modalities, focusing on Megan’s right ankle and foot, left wrist, and hand and spinal pain. Three massage sessions were prescribed and done as a brief course of acupuncture for Megan’s foot pain.
During this time period, Megan’s ability to walk continued to be significantly impaired. Even sitting was uncomfortable for her, due to her right hip and spinal pain. Physical discomfort prevented her from sleeping and she constantly re-lived the fright and pain of the collision in her mind.
She sought psychological counseling with Dr. Thomas Stacy. Dr. Stacy worked with Megan on cognitive and behavioral techniques to overcome the anxiety and trauma caused by the collision. Megan presented to orthopedic surgeon Dr. Oren Blam and was treated by his practice from March 30, 2021 to April 8, 2021, for bilateral foot pain and right pelvic pain. Dr. Blam recommended that Megan continue her physical therapy regimen. He later added a prescription for chiropractic care with Dr. Brian Morrison for Megan’s back complaints.
Dr. Morrison treated Megan and reported a significant improvement in her back symptoms by the end of the treatment plan.
Megan continues to experience intermittent discomfort in both feet, which is related to her mid-foot sprains sustained in the collision. She has been advised by Dr. Blam’s practice to return in the future should these intermittent complaints increase in severity or duration.
Megan’s medical expenses total: $8,350.65. The reports and bills are attached to this demand letter.
Megan works as a Reading Specialist with the Baltimore City Public School System. Her job entails mostly standing throughout the day, which, of course, she could not do at all following the collision. Megan’s rate of pay was $25.11 per hour at the time of the collision and as documented on the attached lost wage document signed by Megan’s supervisor, she lost $3,816.72 of direct income as a result of the collision.
Because Megan was not working, she was unable to make two contributions to her 403(b) retirement account. These contributions, totaling $1,180.00 cannot be “made-up”, therefore, using a conservative estimate of 2% growth in the investment and a retirement age of 65, Megan lost $230.00. A signed statement to this effect from Megan’s financial planners is attached.
The round trip mileage to and from Megan’s doctor’s appointments is attached. Using the government per diem mileage rate for privately owned vehicles of $0.575, Megan’s surface travel expenses caused by the collision are $377.20.
The documentation for other miscellaneous expenses occasioned by the collision are attached: Prescriptions ($15.95); Ice packs ($24.00); Heating pad ($44.51); Car transmitter and mailbox key ($108.38); Injury Photos ($12.09); Damaged winter coat ($189.74); Damaged riding boots ($158.89); Damaged eyeglasses frame ($170.00).
Summary of Economic Damages
Medical Expenses: $8,350.65
Lost Income: $3,816.72
Lost 401(K) investment $ 230.00
Miscellaneous Expenses: $ 723.56
To protect your insured from an excess verdict, I believe you should offer your insured’s policy limits.
I look forward to hearing from you after you had an opportunity to review this claim.