Daughter was passenger in her boyfriends car and was severely injured in auto accident. His insurance company is wanting to settle for the policy amount of 100,000 for bodily injury. I am concrened about the potential for further treatment due to her injuries. She will recieve a cash settlement for about 45,000 after her present doctor bills are paid. My wife and I will recieve about $10,000 for lost wages the two weeks she was hospitalized. Is this a fair settlement or should I file a lawsuit?
7 Answers from Attorneys
Before you settle, you will need to do a complete investigation of all insurance available from all sources, many of which you may not be aware of. You also need to do an asset check on the at fault party. You also need to make sure of all possible sources of payment of medical bills and what rights of reimbursement they have. You should at least consult with an attorney, even if you want to settle your case without one. I would be happy to speak with you if you want further information.
There may be other insurance policies available and it's possible that the medical bills don't have to be completely repaid. My cellphone is 678.576.7385 if you want to call tonight with questions. No obligation or cost to you of course. My office phone is toll free 866.352.3311. We handle cases all over the state.
You definitely should not file a lawsuit without the assistance of an attorney. Insurance defense attorneys are very experienced and you could jeopardize your daughter's claims. I would also investigate every avenue of insurance coverage. A final note, most medical providers are willing to negotiate their bills. If you provide more information regarding your daughter's injuries, I can give a better assessment as to the value of the claim.
David H. Glass
If an insurance company is offering $100,000 and you have made the mistake of not having a lawyer, the odds are high that you have cheated yourself out of a far better settlement and have possibly irreparably harmed your case. However, without all the facts no one can possibly assess a settlement. The one certainty is that if you chose to do this withoutr a lawyer, you are going to get a lot less than if you did what everyone should do and that is hire a lawyer on day one. As to whether we could help you at this point, I'd have to sit down with you. Bear in mind that if you wait past the statute of limitations, you get $0.
First: See how much underinsured motoris coverage you have on all your cars. If it exceeds $100,000 you may have good options. Was there a policy of excess insurance kept by the boyfriend's family. Was it a business vehicle in any way, shape or manner? You can do an asset search on the boyfriend and the cars' owners to see if the owner may have any responsibility.
You have been offered $100,000 to settle. You may want to hire an attorney on an hourly fee basis [usually around $250 or so an hour, to determine if you have other options. Why pay 1/3 of $100,000 if you don't have the need!
First,I am very sorry that this tragic event happened to your daughter. At the same time it appears to me that she is lucky to be alive and your whole family has that to be thankful for.Your legal question is extremely complicated.That said I will try to tell you some things in this message that,hopefully,will assist you in making the right decision.Many people have a type of insurance coverage on their automobiles called "uninsured motorist" coverage.You must first determine if you have such on your car or cars.Sometimes more than one policy can apply. State Farm issues a separate policy for each car in the family and the courts of this state have ruled that such coverages can be added together("stacked" is the legal term).For example, 3 policies having UM benefits of $100,000 each can be added to make $300,000.Also,the car she was riding in may be under a similar situation for liability coverage.You did not describe the wreck well enough.Was the boyfriend at fault or was there another car involved?If there is another car and another driver there should be more liability insurance.I take your statement about doctor bills to mean she has no health insurance,but have you tried everything?Peachcare?Medicaid?Often there is a type of coverage called "Medpay" on either the boyfriend's car or possibly on your family vehicles.My gut tells me that there is probably more insurance out there and you do not know about it. You cannot rely on the adjuster to advise you about such things.I am sorry to say it but sometimes the adjuster will actually lie to get an advantage or close out a case.You have to get a really good personal injury lawyer to help you.Do NOT get just any lawyer.Frankly,most attorneys who do a divorce one day and defend a DUI the next day do not understand this stuff.The internet will fool you too because a lot of lawyers who don't know squat about insurance or personal injury pretend to. A top personal injury lawyer would be willing to talk to you about this free of charge to see if he/she could help you improve the amount of recovery.If some lawyer wants to charge you for such an evaluation DON'T go to that lawyer.That means 1)that lawyer is trying to gouge you and 2)that lawyer probably doesn't know this area of the law anyway.I generally believe that it is best to get the top lawyer for this kind of thing in your area.If there is nobody that fills the bill in Dublin I know that there are several in Macon.If you want you can call me and I will give you the name of someone who will do an excellent job.Good luck.And remember,be careful.You really need a good lawyer for this but if you end up with a bad lawyer it can really mess up your case.
Do not settle until you have confirmed all insurance, assets or other parties who may be responsible. You should also be able to negotiate and substantially reduce or eliminate any medical or insurance liens. You may call for us for a free consultation, and you may visit our website, www.johnsonward.com, for more information on our firm.