How Much Is Your Car Accident Settlement Worth? Free Settlement Estimate

Whiplash Injury Settlement Story

Case Facts

This is the story of my car accident, injuries, and the process of negotiating a whiplash injury settlement. The accident happened on a Friday night at approximately 11:00 PM. I was driving home from work on Highway 101, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. There was no traffic at that time, and the weather was clear. It was the 11th of October, 2019.

I was in the left lane, and the driver, who we later found out was intoxicated was in the right lane. She was driving erratically and weaving in and out of traffic. Then, she suddenly swerved into my lane and hit me head-on.

The drunk driver who hit me was a young woman returning from a party who had been drinking heavily. 

Car Accident Injuries

The impact was so sudden and violent that I remember little about it. The last I remember was my head snapping forward violently with a sharp pain in my neck. Moments later, I woke up in the hospital with a banging headache and neck stiffness. The doctor told me I had sustained a grade 3 whiplash injury. The paramedics also took the drunk driver to the hospital; she sustained minor injuries.

Besides the physical pain, the whiplash injury caused by the car accident also caused me a lot of emotional distress. I was afraid to drive and worried about my health; I also felt like the accident had upturned my life.  

Medical Tests

  • Physical Examination: The doctor asked me about the details of the accident, and then he examined my neck and back for any signs of injury. He looked for pain, swelling, or tenderness.
  • Range-of-Motion Testing: The doctor asked me to move my head in different directions to see how much I could move without pain. He also checked my range of motion in my shoulders and back.
  • Strength Testing: The doctor asked me to squeeze his hands to test the strength in my neck and shoulders. 

Physical Recovery

It took me about three months to fully recover from my whiplash injury. I took over-the-counter pain medication and muscle relaxants for six weeks after the accident and underwent physical therapy for six weeks. The physical therapist helped me to improve my range of motion and to reduce my pain. I also started exercising at home to strengthen my neck and back muscles.

Whiplash Injury Settlement Process

Mercury Insurance insured the at-fault driver, while I had GEICO insurance coverage.

After the car accident, I contacted Mercury Insurance to file a claim and negotiate my whiplash injury settlement. Mercury Insurance initially denied my claim, saying I did not sustain injuries in the accident. So I hired an attorney and sued the other driver.

Mercury Insurance then agreed to negotiate. My attorney drafted a demand letter detailing my damages:

  • Medical bills, including medication and physical therapy fees, total cost-$10,000.
  • Property damage- $5,000.
  • Lost wages- I am a software engineer. I work for a large technology company. I was working on a new project when I was injured in the accident. I had to take a leave of absence from work for several weeks while I recovered from my injuries. I lost a significant amount of income during this time. I also could not contribute to my team’s work, which caused delays in the project. As a result, I lost about $15,000 in income.

My attorney and I requested a car accident settlement of $100,000 to cover all other damages and compensate me for my pain and suffering. Mercury Insurance responded to the demand letter, offering a compensation of $50,000.

We were unhappy with the offer, so we rejected the offer and restated the damages I suffered because of the accident. After another negotiation round, Mercury increased their offer from $60,000 to $70,000. My attorney advised me not to budge because he believed we could get more compensation. He then made a counteroffer of $80,000; Mercury Insurance initially rejected the offer, and my attorney told the adjuster that we would go to trial for the case. Finally, Mercury Insurance agreed to our terms after a few more weeks, and they paid me an $80,000 whiplash injury settlement, which I was very happy with.

I hired my lawyer on a contingency basis, and he was brilliant. He helped me recover far more than I would have, and I’m grateful for that. He then deducted his fees and paid the rest to my account.

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