Should I settle?

New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
[ << Previous Thread | Next Thread >> ]

Cookie122
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 61
   Posted 5/14/2008 10:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Sorry everyone, but this is going to be a long story/rant:
 
I was the passenger in a car that was rear ended by a hit a run driver last Oct. The driver was my sister and the other driver has never been found. We both received whiplash, muscle strains and pulls of the neck, back, shoulders, and arms, and whatever else the chiropractor wrote (I recently seen the mention of dislocated vertabrae or something else that I was never made aware of). We went urgent care the day of the accident and were told we have no breaks in the neck and were given pain pills and muscle relaxants and a referal to see a physical therapist or chiropractor. Our choice. We went to the chiropractor for three months and exhausted the insurance's $2,000 med-pay. The chiropractor wanted to continue seeing us for another 3-6 months, but we didn't have the money and the car insurance would not continue to pay for it. Of course I could have continued by going through private insurance, but that would have been a whole other battle and I would still have some out of pocket expenses, and I expected the car insurance to pay everything. My sisters private insurance ran out 6 days after the accident, her 23rd b-day.
 
We were offered a settlement of $2,500 back in Dec or Jan that we declined because we were still in treatment, still in pain and expressing symptoms (muscle spasms, etc...). I told them that our pain and injuries were solely a direct result from the accident and that we expected them to pay everything that resulted from it as it was not our fault and thats what we have insurance for. They said that since we should have been healed within 3 months (Like they know everything) and that they would have to evaluate us and see if there was any under lying pathologies. Needless to say we have been waiting since Jan. to hear back from them. Today we finally recieved a call that we will be receiving a release(?) letter in the mail shortly and that by signing it we will waive them of any future claims as a result of this accident. And that even if we are permanently injured as a result we will not be able to claim it against them. The $2,500 settlement also remained the same.
 
My question to everyone is this: I'm still experiencing issues in my shoulders and neck that I attribute the accident being the cause of or at least behind the cause of it. I believe that I have pinched nerves from the accident and that by having to discontinue treatment it got worse to the point that I'm losing abilities in my arms. I made a drs appointment for the 21st and we'll see what they say about that. Should I contact the car insurance and tell them that I am going to see the dr on Wedns. and that I contribute the need of the visit to the accident? Or should I give up and sign the release and accept the settlement? I had hoped it would go up because that settlement was based on only 2 months treatment and that we were 100% better, obviously we are not better and we had 3 months treatment and should have gone longer. I'm tired of dealing with them and want this to be over, plus I could use the money for a new car. Should I hold out and see if I could get a better deal or do you guys think this is the best I can get? What am I entitiled to?
 
P.S. I do intend on calling the insurance and asking what their settlement is based off of. And then make sure they know the facts about everything from my view point.

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/14/2008 11:52 AM (GMT -7)   
cookie,
I didn't see any mention of a lawyer in your post, and that's what I would suggest you do - consult one ASAP, and definitely before you sign any settlement letter. It may be difficult because the other driver was never found (is there an open investigation?), but you at least need a legal opinion. If it was me I wouldn't sign or agree to anything until I got legal advice. And remember most of the time they record your phone calls, so don't agree to anything verbally.

Some injuries may not manifest themselves for awhile, and this could leave lingering problems for you - as your post is already indicating. See a lawyer, ok?

PaLady

Cookie122
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 61
   Posted 5/14/2008 12:52 PM (GMT -7)   
PaLady,

My Family and I briefly discussed talking to a lawyer about this, but decided that it would cost us too much to pursue it that way, more than its worth. Since the causes for our pain do not show up in x-rays it would be difficult for us to prove that we are still injured as a result of the accident. It is also very difficult for us to prove that we are in pain and are not holding out for more money. Also one of the reasons why we have not contacted a lawyer (besides they cost way too much) is that the claim is against my father who the policy is under since the other person got away. I also don't know if our case is still an open investigation. I don't think so since we haven't heard anything from the police or insurance about what they did to try to find the person (if anything). Since I was the passenger I don't know what I can and can't do, especially since anything I do would in a way be against my family.

I guess what I was asking/looking for was if anyone thinks that I could and should get more money from the insurance to pay any future medical bills as a result of my injuries and how would I go about doing that?

BTW, Thanks PaLady for responding and offering your advice, but I would like to settle this without the need and expense of a lawyer. Plus I'm sure their lawyers are way better at dealing with these kinds of issues and I would only end up with a bigger headache and more out of pocket expenses.

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/14/2008 1:25 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't know where you are located, but here in the U.S. there are usually tons of attorney who will at least give you a free consult. You can even get some right over the internet. The question you're asking us is really a legal one. Should you get more money? Of course. But how much is possible, I don't know. And a lawyer may be able to advise how much you should try to get - even if it's on your own w/o formal help. Plus, an investigation could still be open, and a lawyer might be able to advise you as to whether you could encourage the police to look further to find who hit you. There are so many things with technology now, cameras on certain streets, maybe there's a way. On the other hand, if there's little likelihood of finding someone (which would mean the case wasn't against your father's insurance), a lawyer could advise your best options.

Try searching Martindale Hubble (I think that's how it's spelled) for lawyers in your area that deal with auto accidents. This is the main rating service for attorneys, so you'd get to investigate their ratings. And again, many have websites that you can request a free, online consultation. And if you can find a few free consultations, that's even better!

Good luck!
PaLady

By the way, in these cases if an attorney finds it worth fighting, they often take it on a contingency basis. That means they take a cut of what they get for you as their fee, and you owe nothing if they don't get a settlement. If you do make some kind of agreement along those lines, one thing you have to be careful to insure is that the attorney also pays the costs involved even if you lose. If you don't have a strong case, probably no one will take it but you still may get advice about how to work to get a better deal from the auto insurance company.

Post Edited (PAlady) : 5/14/2008 2:34:04 PM (GMT-6)


Cookie122
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 61
   Posted 5/14/2008 2:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Good advice. Thanks once again!

I talked to the new person handling my claim. Apparently she's covering for the other person who is on medical leave! <eyes rolling>.

From talking to the new lady it sounds like if I do want to fight with them about it, it will take even longer. And I'm really tired of waiting since it has already been over 7 months and I want the money ASAP so I can put it towards a new car. The new lady said that the old one feels she made a resonable and generous offer and that anything over the $2,000 med-pay is new money and they will not give me more money to pay any bills that the med-pay has already paid. (Duh <eyes rolling>). So I guess I more or less came to a decision even though I'm not happy about it. I'm tired of fighting them and having it drag out for so long (probably what they were hoping for!) so I guess I'm saying I will take the settlement after all.

Stupid insurance is supposed to be there to help you, but it only ends up screwing you over in the end!

Anyway thanks PaLady for your input and listening to my rant!

Mochiah
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 450
   Posted 5/14/2008 3:04 PM (GMT -7)   
Admittedly, I haven't read every response, so forgive me if this is a repeat!

My daughter was in an accident where someone else ran her off the road. She hired Bart Durham, an injury lawyer here in TN (who may actually handle out of state cases too, so look him up on line, never hurts to ask). Both she and my grandson (who was less than a year old at the time) were seen in the ER. Baby was fine. She had to go on to PT, chiro, etc. Her consultation was free.....and she paid NOTHING if she did not win a settlement. She had the injuries you describe and all of her medical bills were paid plus she received about $10,000 (this was after the attorney took his payment). This was settled within about 6 months. So, find yourself a lawyer who does not charge you unless you receive a settlement.
Mochiah/a.k.a. Sue
cervical fusion 2006
L4-5 surgery with cages, plates, and screws in 2005
MEDS:  Fentanyl patch, Norco, Celexa, trazodone, and Flexeril
 
To handle yourself, use your head...to handle others, use your heart
 
I'm going to smile like nothing is wrong, act like everything is perfect, and pretend its not hurting me.


Cookie122
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 61
   Posted 5/14/2008 3:26 PM (GMT -7)   
Mochiah, Did they catch the person who ran your daughter off the road?

Mochiah
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 450
   Posted 5/14/2008 3:35 PM (GMT -7)   
Yes, they did, some 10 miles down the road. Fortunately, the vehicle that was behind my daughter was an off-duty EMT and saw the whole thing and her vehicle was equiped with flashing emergency lights, so she pulled them over and held them there until the police came.

So, I guess what you are saying is that you are fighting your own insurance rather than the offender's. In any case, doesn't vehicle insurance provide something like $10,000 damage per person or something like that? Why are they trying to cut it off at $2000.
Mochiah/a.k.a. Sue
cervical fusion 2006
L4-5 surgery with cages, plates, and screws in 2005
MEDS:  Fentanyl patch, Norco, Celexa, trazodone, and Flexeril
 
To handle yourself, use your head...to handle others, use your heart
 
I'm going to smile like nothing is wrong, act like everything is perfect, and pretend its not hurting me.


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/14/2008 3:43 PM (GMT -7)   
cookie, they're going to try to get off the hook with as little as possible. If you can get some free consults from attorneys - either online or using 800#'s, why not take a few days and do that. Seems you've got nothing to lose but some time and energy, and potentially may gain from just some suggested strategies about how to negotiate with the insurance company. You might be able to get another couple of thousand and you may just need them for some PT or chiro treatments.

PaLady

sjkly
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 2113
   Posted 5/14/2008 3:50 PM (GMT -7)   
YOu need to get a lawyer, don't settle for less then the medical bills will cost plus an amount for pain and suffering.

Chutz
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9090
   Posted 5/14/2008 3:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Ditto...they're trying to scare you into settling cheap. Do not sign or accept anything from them without legal counsel.

Chutz
Co-Mod Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
~~~
Fibromyalgia, Ulcerative Colitis, Insulin dependent diabetic, collapsed disk, dermatitis herpetiformus, osteo arthritis in spine and other locations.
***************

The only difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has it's limits. Albert Einstein: (1879-1955)


Cookie122
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 61
   Posted 5/14/2008 4:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for all the info everybody! This is my first time dealing with anything like this. It makes it a little more difficult since it is my (mine, my sisters, my families) insurance I'm fighting since the jerk was never caught. Though we tried. I know what the insurance is trying to do and I have to say its working. I'm tired of dealing with them and I don't want to cause problems for my family (since its their insurance. yes we have un-insured motorists). Plus the insurance has paid all of my medical expenses thus far as far as I know. At least I haven't received any bills from anyone. So the money will go in my pocket unless I decide to go for more treatment which I know I should. (Shame on me for not).

Given all that does it sound like a decent offer considering everything I've said and that I'm tired of dealing with them and waiting for forever to receive any money from them? I know you guys aren't here for legal advice, but personally what do you guys think?

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/14/2008 4:44 PM (GMT -7)   
cookie,
I think several of us have just told you what we think. And there seems to be a lot of agreement among us. There's really nothing I can think to add.

PaLady

Cookie122
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 61
   Posted 5/14/2008 4:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Good point PaLady as always. Thanks again to you and everyone else who responded.

The battle goes on. I'll look into those lawyer consultations.

Mochiah
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 450
   Posted 5/14/2008 5:40 PM (GMT -7)   
It is always better to consult a lawyer, especially when the first consult is almost always free. Even tho you believe the insurance has paid for all bills to date, they are wanting you to sign something saying they don't have to pay future bills.... and you yourself have said you need more therapy. PLUS, just because you haven't received a bill yet does not mean they have paid everything. The places/doctors you went to have sent their billing info in, doesn't mean its been paid by the insurance. One of my daughter's bills didn't arrive until a year later.
Mochiah/a.k.a. Sue
cervical fusion 2006
L4-5 surgery with cages, plates, and screws in 2005
MEDS:  Fentanyl patch, Norco, Celexa, trazodone, and Flexeril
 
To handle yourself, use your head...to handle others, use your heart
 
I'm going to smile like nothing is wrong, act like everything is perfect, and pretend its not hurting me.


straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13454
   Posted 5/15/2008 4:39 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi cookie,

I worked in the personal injury field for 20 yrs plus for a law firm. I can give you some insight on what the ins company is doing. Had you gone to a medical dr, md, rather than chiro care, your claim would have 9 times out of 10 had more value. Now, I am not saying this to raise anyone's hackles, and I am not bashing chiros, its a fact. The insurance companies give very little credilbility to chiropractic care. They generally allow six weeks of care with the chiro and recongnize no futher care or billing from that date.  Their bills are excessive, which you know from them exhausting the med pay on the policy in no time at all. They use a form with hand written notes that do not amt to a hill of beans.

Also, the insurance companies look at how much damage was done to the vehicle. In some cases if there is minimal damage they allow for er care or one visit to the dr and thats it. It doesn't matter how many lawyers you get that will not change.

I know everyone on here says hire an atty, I can assure you with what you have written about the accident, I would not hire one, the only thing that will change is he will get 1/3 of your settlement and thats free money to him, he did not have to work for the money. Hiring an atty is not a guarantee of more money in a settlement. We culled our cases very carefully and I helped alot of people settle their own claims w/o hiring us. I told them what to say & do and if they had questions they would call me back. In turn they appreciated the honesty and in time they may refer someone to us that we could help.

I would wait until after you see the dr on the 23rd before settling up with the ins. company. By the way, what kind of dr are you going to be seeing?

Most people do not know this but the adjusters do not decide what kind of money to offer on a claim, its a computer generated program. Allstate has a computer program called Collosus. They have employees who enter all the info into the computer about the accident. When I say they enter everything, I mean literally that. Your medical records and billing, property damage, the whole bit. Once the info is fed into the computer it kicks out a sheet with info and a value of the claim. All companies have gone to this way of computing claims because it saves them the almighty dollar.

Sorry this is lengthy, any questions ask them, if I can help I will. Susie



PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/15/2008 10:09 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Susie,
I just wanted to clarify - I don't think a lot of us were saying hire an attorney. But calling for some free consultations could be beneficial; just as you suggest, she might get some guidance which could result in perhaps a bit more money, and help her protect herself. cookie seemed to be ready to settle for the least amount, and sign off quickly to get money to buy a car. Maybe by doing a few things differently she could get a bit more. I do realize from personal experience attorneys don't just take any case; they want to make their money as quickly and cleanly as possibly. But maybe she'd run across someone nice like you who would give her guidance.

PaLady

Cookie122
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 61
   Posted 5/15/2008 11:22 AM (GMT -7)   
Mochiah, thank you for your input. I'm not looking forward to the possibility of receiving bills from the chiro or any other dr anytime in the future. I'm hoping everything has been paid for up to now although I know its unlikely. Hopefully I wont get any surprise bills a year from now like your daughter.

Straydog, You offered a lot of great advice and I appreciate it. What you said about the insurance companies is some good info we should all know. What you said about attorneys is one of the reasons I am hesitant about talking to one, but everyone made very good points that I could at least consult some for free. It really sucks about what you said insurance thinks about chiros, but everything you said makes sense especially after everything the insurance has told me.

PaLady, Once again great advice. I do see the need for me to consult with a lawyer to protect myself in the future, but it would be nice to wrap all this up and put it far behind me.

The dr I'm seeing on the 21st is my GP. My regular GP has been known to be stupid and go along with anything I self diagnose myself with. He might send me out for x-rays or minor tests, so I need to be forceful with him and follow up with everything. Its almost like I'm the dr. He actually is one of those few drs who is more willing to write perscriptions than run tests to find out exactly what is wrong. Also more likely to think its all in my head kind of dr and will say/do anything to shut me up and get me out of his office. However, instead of seeing him I was given the opportunity to see a new person in his office so I took it. We'll see how bad they are. I don't know if its a guy or a girl.

So well see how it all goes. I'm definitely going to wait until after I talk to the dr. before I decide anything with the insurance.
New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
Forum Information
Currently it is Monday, December 05, 2016 9:46 AM (GMT -7)
There are a total of 2,732,999 posts in 301,075 threads.
View Active Threads


Who's Online
This forum has 151228 registered members. Please welcome our newest member, Acro1010.
323 Guest(s), 16 Registered Member(s) are currently online.  Details
JayMot, teacher2many, PeterK, Wanda1225, Michael_T, Serenity Now, NiceGuyEddie, smlafleur, JEN02, Paxton, NiceCupOfTea, pmm73, Gbryan, Mustard Seed, Meshawmama, snowboat


Follow HealingWell.com on Facebook  Follow HealingWell.com on Twitter  Follow HealingWell.com on Pinterest
Advertisement
Advertisement

©1996-2016 HealingWell.com LLC  All rights reserved.

Advertise | Privacy Policy & Disclaimer