My wife was involved in an auto accident that totaled her car and the State police gave the other driver the ticket for reckless driving. My wife will need at least two operations for lower back (rod) and her neck ( disc removal and fusion of discs). The driver that hit her has insurance that will pay only $25k and our car insurance has a $250k for underinsured drivers. The cost of the operations will come out of this money (I assume) and will not cover the cost of the operations. My question is where does the money come from since it was not her fault. She has lost her job and does pain and suffering get considered. We are not out for a big pay day but this looks like we will be paying a lot of money out that we don't have.
4 Answers from Attorneys
There are two sources of recovery you identified: other driver's auto insurance and your own UM. The case details matter. For example, if the other driver was on-the-job, running errand for employer, or vehicle-for-hire, then there may be an additional source of recovery. If the crash occurred because of some visual obstruction on residential or commercial property which contributed to the crash, that may be another source of recovery. The list could on, but ultimately is limited by whatever facts apply.
If you wife has health insurance, then it should cover these surgery expenses. Health insurance typically has to be paid back from a compensation recovery, but it is usually paid back (1) at reimbursement rate, and (2) health insurer often takes reduction on the repayment (1.e. 25-33% off). This often puts more compensation in the victim's pocket versus paying raw doctor and hospital bills.
Talk to a lawyer if you are currently trying to handle this yourself, or actually sit down face-to-face with your lawyer so you have a full understanding of what's going on.
You really need an attorney to negotiate the bills down and perhaps get you something from the limited insurance. If the other driver has no assets to cover excess losses than you are stuck with 225k. So very sorry for the issues.
There are various sources of money in addition to the insurance. You will need a lawyer to negotiate your wife's medical bills and to work with the insurance companies.
MICHAEL D. STEWART, ESQ.
Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart
The Chase Bank Building
150 SE 2nd Ave., Suite 1000, 10th Floor
Miami, Florida 33131
There are various additional ways to obtain a recovery over the insurance limits. The at fault carrier may owe more than $25,000 perhaps if they are in bad faith an do not agree to pay this amount in a reasonable manner . There may be personal assets to pursue and additional insurance available such as an employer involved with the at fault driver..
In addition, another thing to consider that if your wife has some type of health insurance, the medical bills will be reduced but you will have to pay a health insurance lien at the time of a recovery.
The medical providers reducing their bills at the end does help the accident victim obtain a bigger part of the recovery. Another way to obtain a bigger part of the recovery is the Attorney lowering attorney fees. If there is a settlement in the $200k range, many lawyers will reduce their fees in a major way.
Lieberman Law Company,
PO Box 4066
Boynton Beach, FL 33424