About a year or so ago, I took over a case from some out-of-state lawyers on a rear-ender car crash that caused my client some long-term injury. The other personal injury attorneys got policy limits from the at-fault driver. It was a very small amount. It did not begin to cover the injury to my client.
My job was to get my client’s insurance to pay for the rest. This is called uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). Fortunately, my client had plenty of coverage. You should review your policy to make sure you have at least $250k in coverage. It tends to be very cheap and will save you if a person without adequate insurance, or no insurance, hits you. There are very few car crashes where your medicals will be under $50k. If you have a broken bone or any kind of head injury, it can be well over $100k.
A UM/UIM case is very similar to any car crash case, except there are duties by my client to her own insurance company and duties of the insurance company to her. We have to cooperate with them, which usually means that we have to provide a medical release and make a statement. [Both should be done only at the direction of a competent car crash lawyer, no without one.] The insurance company must pay the claim in a reasonable time following cooperation. If we do not cooperate, they do not have to pay. If they do not pay after cooperation, we can sue them for bad faith, meaning three times damages plus attorneys fees and costs. Suffice it to say, the insurance company does not want to suffer a Bad Faith plaintiff verdict.
There were issues on this case and we had to litigate due to timing. In the end, we were able to settle prior to trial for an amount with which my client was pleased. I believe we got every dime the insurance company was willing to pay without a trial. The client really did not want to go to trial.
I was happy to help the client. She continues to heal. The money will help her.
Insurance companies, whether your own or the at-fault driver’s, want to pay as little as possible. Adjusters get bonuses based on results. When they make you an offer, it is because they think this will save them money. An offer of $5000 or less is a low-ball offer to clear the case. It does not represent your damage or injury. It means the adjuster clears a case and gets closer to a bonus. A higher offer usually means they fear the case is worth much more.
A personal injury lawyer can help maximize the offer. A good personal injury lawyer will help to make sure you return to health. I am not a doctor and I cannot diagnose, but if you are hurting and the doctor says nothing is wrong, we should discuss how to proceed. You need help.
If you want a personal injury lawyer that will listen to you and work to help you get healthy, and get your bills paid, let’s talk.