I was in a car accident on 2/27/16 where I was in my car alone, fully stopped at a red light behind 2 other cars and another driver rear-ended my car at full speed in a 45 mph zone. He admitted at the scene that he was looking at his kids in the back seat & did not see me. It was a bright, sunny day with no snow or ice on the road so he was 100% at fault & fully admitted this. I went to the ER that day & as such, there is a bill from the hospital for the ER & the ER physicians. My husband & I had been negotiating a settlement with the other guy's insurance company on our own as my husband didn't think we needed a lawyer (although I disagreed). At this point, there is now a lien from the hospital which lists both me & the insurance company. The amount of this lien is $6087.56. I asked the adjuster to also send me a copy of what he has so I can be sure we're both looking at the same thing.
I wasn't honestly looking for some huge personal injury payout from this accident although I went through several months of treatment with a chiropractor after this accident. My chiropractor also filed a lien against the insurance company. They have declined to pay this.
After all the back & forth with them, the adjuster offered a settlement of $6706.56 which we agreed to & we signed the release which states this exact amount. (I know, we shouldn't have done that. I regret it now.) Once the adjuster confirmed he'd received the signed release, he informed me that his company would be sending the checks directly to the hospital as there is a lien against them (something he never mentioned he was going to do previously) & they would not be sending anything to me at all. Here is the exact email he sent me after I questioned this: "im sorry, but there was a lien from the hospital. We have to pay the hospital what is owed. There is also a lien on the file from your chiro, but we did not accept the chiro so payment had to be sent to the hospital."
Almost all of the communication we've had with the adjuster has been via email.
I have 2 questions - first, since there is already a difference of $619 between the amount of the settlement & the amount of the lien which he says they're paying, can I demand a check for the difference? The release expressly states the amount of the settlement.
My second question - since I am also listed on the lien, can I request documentation from the insurance company once they've satisfied this lien? I don't know exactly how liens work, but I'm guessing the insurance company is also going to settle with the hospital so that they only need to pay a portion of the amount owed. Am I entitled to know the amount they're going to pay to the hospital & then am I entitled to the difference there in any way?
Any & all help is appreciated here.
1 Answer from Attorneys
Sadly, all I can say is this could be an "I told you so" moment between you and your husband. Not that I am encouraging that, but the failure to retain counsel was a grave mistake. I have little doubt that an attorney would have succeeded in multiplying your recovery and negotiating your liens to boot. While you can and should schedule a consultation to have everything reviewed, the status of the case makes things doubtful or at least substantially hinders the likelihood of an attorney's interest. Sorry that you learned the hard way that the insurance adjuster's job is to pay out as little as possible.