insurance settlement questions - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 01-16-2004, 02:09 PM
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As some of you know my teenage sons were passengers in an auto accident in April.

Luckily the driver did have insurance.



Each son could collect a maximum of $25 K. (Above medical expenses)

I spoke with an attorney, and he said that he believed that he could get the entire amount, yet would keep about half for his fee.

So, it is really a maximum of $12.5 for each son.



Each son's case will be settled separately. The insurance company called yesterday to say that they were ready to settle Samuel's claim. They offered $1,500.



I told them that was far to low and they came back with a counter offer of

$6 K today.



Samuel had his head cut wide open. It looked like a horror movie, yet he suffered no brain damage, thank goodness!!

He had a headache for a day, and his scar is under his hair, plus it is amazingly thin, though long (4 inches) Yet, if he one day should go bald it would certainly be visible...he missed a week of school, was traumatized for sure...etc.



What's fair?

I have no idea.

Is it a hassle to go to court??

Should I negotiate?



I would be most grateful for any advice here!

Thank you!!
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#2 Old 01-16-2004, 02:14 PM
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The standard for pain and suffering, or so I have been told, is usually 3-4 times medical expenses, depending on scarring, etc.



Use that as a starting point.



50% contingency fee from the attorney? Sounds kinda high. Did you check around?
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#3 Old 01-16-2004, 02:20 PM
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Mushroom, contingency fees vary and it would definitely pay to shop around. For instance, the guys with whom I share office space charge 30% if it settles before a lawsuit is filed, 33% if it settles after a complaint is filed but before trial, and 40% if a trial actually commences. Typically triple one's meds is the general rule around here, but if actual scarring or other long term damages are present then P/S could be higher. Also, punitive damages might be available at trial if the driver who caused the injury was impaired or otherwise grossly negligent. States vary as to the availability of punitives, though, and insurance companies will almost always refuse to pay punitives unless the matter goes to trial and it starts looking like they would get hit for more than for what they could settle.



You might as well talk to a lawyer, almost all the personal injury lawyers will consult with you for free.
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#4 Old 01-16-2004, 02:49 PM
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Thank you Tame. Thank you Bank.



My younger son's medical expenses were just under a thousand dollars.



The older ones are a couple thousand so far. (He is still being treated.)



I think the attorney did say 40% for his fee, not exactly half and no, I did not shop around. I just called for some immediate advice so I wouldn't do anything totally stupid. That was back in April and I have spoken to no one since. Honestly attorneys and insurance people scare me!



So, do you think I should definitely not handle this myself and hire an attorney?
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#5 Old 01-16-2004, 02:57 PM
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Get an attorney.

Get one that is cheaper than the one you talked to. 50% is very high.

I've used www.findlaw.com before with good success.

Insurance companies will screw you over if you don't have legal representation.
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#6 Old 01-16-2004, 03:27 PM
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Mushroom - at the minimum, do a consultation with another attorney. Now that you have all of the medical bills, you should get a decent idea of what the case is worth in legal terms.



The next issue will be what it is worth in your time and effort to pursue the matter to the fullest.
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