Legal Question in Personal Injury in Indiana

Im trying to settle a personal injury claim myself because my attorney backed out at the end and i ended up getting the at fault drivers insurance co. to give me there limits and now i have to deal with uim and claims. number one im afraid to cash the check ins co gave me because i dont know if you are suppose to settle with claim holders first (health and med pay) and i dont have an offer from uim yet. can i cash the first check (state minimum limits) before i talk to health ins co that covered medical expenses and med pay i just saw a letter in with attorney paperwork that ins wanted to settle on a number before settlement but the first settlement will not be all of it because uim will need to kick in also since medical bills where 37500 the state is indiana

Asked on 9/19/13, 11:36 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Charles Candiano Candiano Law Office

First of all, you really needed permission from your insurance company before you agreed to settle the third-party claim. Your insurance company had the right to decide whether it wanted you to accept the policy limits or whether it wanted to retain the right to sue the third-party defendant, itself. Even though we all know that they would not do that, your insurance company had the right to make the decision, itself.

Assuming that you overcome that hurdle, you need to call your insurance company and request their permission to negotiate/cash the settlement check from the third-party defendant. They will probably give it. Memorialize their permission with a letter or email.

If there were any lien holders, they should all be listed on the check as payees. An attorney would have worked out agreements with any lien holders or subrogees so that the third-party defendant could have written a "clean" check with only your name. If others are named on the check, you will need to come to some agreement as to how much they are to be paid. You will need to reduce that agreement to writing and forward a copy of it with the check (unsigned by you) to the lien holder or subrogee for their signature. You will need to repeat this process for each additional payee on the check. Once that is accomplished, you will have the Herculean task of getting permission from your bank to deposit a check that is made payable to so many people with so many people who signatures cannot be verified.

The med pay is coming from your own policy and will be understood to be an offset against any additional monies paid on the claim, unless otherwise negotiated. You should prepare a comprehensive demand which highlights the fact that you were not responsible for the accident, lists your injuries (and why they are related to the accident, and a list of all medical treatment which you received, by provider. You would want to accompany this comprehensive demand by exhibits from each of the medical providers from home you sought care. These exhibits would comprise all of the medical records and medical billing from each provider.

A personal injury attorney's job may not be "rocket science," but nobody hands him or her money without a great deal of thought and preparation. Provided that you are willing and able to put forth the time effort and resources, you will arrive at this juncture. Once you do, how will you know how much to ask for? It is a rhetorical question because you won't. That comes from years of experience. Please bear in mind that a personal injury attorney cannot even begin to acquire that experience without a minimum of 19 years of formal education and very often, hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt.

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Answered on 9/19/13, 1:25 pm

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