My daughter was injured in an auto accident and the adjuster is not offering the coverage of medical which totals $14,078.40. I have asked for settlement of $24,078.40 of which $4,000 is for loss wages and $6,000 for pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of consortium. The adjuster claims that court has to approve amounts over $10k yet she increased offer to $13k, which does not cover medical bills. According to OCGA §29-3-3 it states $15,000 and that can be reduced by medical. Am I reading this incorrect?
4 Answers from Attorneys
First of all, you've hurt your child by representing your child yourself. On average claimants without lawyers get offers 80% lower than claimants with lawyers. As to the less important question you asked, whether you need to be a conservator and/or seek court approval depends on details you did not post. BTW, a $24,000 demand in a case with $18,000 plus in medical and lost wages was likely far too low. See a lawyer and see if he can salvage your mistakes.
The problem you are having is that you are trying to represent the interests of your daughter without fully understanding the consequences of your actions. Without the help of a qualified personal injury attorney you are opening a can of worms which include the posting of a bond in probate court; the possibility of violating laws for the repayment of medical expense;, and the undercutting the value of your daughters claims for future issues. Get a lawyer asap. You are welcome to call me at 404-892-0700.
The adjuster represents the insurance company, and has no qualms about lying to you. Saying that a settlement has to be approved by a court is complete garbage, as that is only true in worker's comp cases. You have lots of options paying for medical, including using your own medical payments coverage and entering to a settlement with a "not made whole release". The reason people get attorneys for things like this is: 1) an experienced attorney will know what the rules are and are not, 2) the insurance adjuster will offer more because they know the case is serious, 3) there are too many rights and opportunities which could be missed if you go in without knowing what those rights and opportunities are, and 4) the threat of a lawsuit from an attorney who actually knows their way around a court room (as opposed to TV lawyers who would have to use GPS to find out where the courthouse even is) will garner a higher offer or, if no settlement is reached, a higher verdict.
You desperately need competent legal representation. Ask around--family, friends, church members, police (if you know any)--and find the best personal injury lawyer in your community. Hire that lawyer ASAP before you permanently damage to your child's case. Do NOT hire one of those lawyers who advertise on TV. They are really just the same thing as insurance adjusters only from the plaintiff's side. One of them confessed to me once that HE HAD NEVER TRIED A CASE. There is a reason why a person has to go to 4 years of college and 3 years of law school to become a lawyer. Doctors have to go to college and medical school. Would you try to set a broken bone or do surgery yourself? Get the best local lawyer and do what that lawyer says.