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Mother in car accident, should a lawyer be hired?

Discussion in 'Questions and Answers' started by Seeking Answers, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. Seeking Answers

    Seeking Answers New Member

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    My 75 yr old mother was in a car accident that was not her fault, she's somewhat fine save for bruised ribs and lingering pain. She was hit by a gentlemen pulling out from his driveway and he was found at fault by the investigating officer.

    The car is more or less totaled, but a value can be set on that, she went to the hospital and was discharged that evening and I'm not sure how to handle either the medical bills or any sort of settlement.

    Should a lawyer be hired on contingency or would it be better just to handle the claim herself?
     
  2. NaboCane

    NaboCane Banned

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    Always, always, always - hire a lawyer. A good one.

    If you're in the Seattle area I can recommend one. Good luck to your Mom.
     
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  3. my 2 cents

    my 2 cents Well-Known Member

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    Hire a lawyer! .......TODAY!
     
  4. MikeHoncho

    MikeHoncho -=| Censored |=- Club Member

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  5. Boik14

    Boik14 Admin Club Member

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    Agree with Nabo and M2C. I hate lawyers, even though my sister is one, but in this case where there is lingering pain you do not want to be stuck with doctors bills. Hire a lawyer.
     
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  6. Section126

    Section126 We are better than you. Luxury Box

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    Sue!!!!

    Get paid!
     
  7. Ohiophinphan

    Ohiophinphan Chaplain Staff Member Luxury Box

    Unfortunately, the man's insurance company will likely be on your Mom's doorstep immediately trying to get her to sign away her rights for a pittance. It is their job to save the company money. You need to protect your Mom. Get the lawyer and make sure the hospital knows to watch out for the folks trying to get your Mom to sign something. They have seen it before and know what to do.
     
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  8. Agua

    Agua Reality: Try It!

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    I'm an attorney and if she gets compensated for her economic damages, medical damages after reaching maximum medical recovery, and some thrown in for pain & suffering, she can negotiate it herself.
     
  9. Seeking Answers

    Seeking Answers New Member

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    The adjuster took a look at the car today and said it was totaled and made an offer for book value for the car about 2,400 dollars.

    She has no idea whether to accept the offer.
     
  10. my 2 cents

    my 2 cents Well-Known Member

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    Which book?
     
  11. Seeking Answers

    Seeking Answers New Member

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  12. unluckyluciano

    unluckyluciano For My Hero JetsSuck

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    Go through a lawyer. Its better that way, saves you grief, helps you get fair value, etc.
     
  13. Agua

    Agua Reality: Try It!

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    Did she have any other property loss or economic loss? Car rental? Missed work (probably not at 75 but ya never know)?

    Must have her reach maximum medical recovery and get all her medical bills paid past and future as a result of the accident (if any future medical)

    Make them throw something in for pain and suffering.
     
  14. Seeking Answers

    Seeking Answers New Member

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    I got off of the phone with the Claims people today, and I'm 90% certain she was flat out lying to me.

    Here is why, she told my mother last week that it would take 5 business days for the police report to arrive at their office, today she told me that requesting the report was handled by an outside agency, and they could not acquire a copy of the police report.

    Which was odd, as surely a company that large would easily be able to acquire a public record, so I asked whether or not she had handled a claim in that town before, she said they had, but for whatever reason, they could not acquire a copy of this report and she mentioned that they needed it as their insured had not acknowledged responsibility as of yet.

    Which I also found odd as the insured had received the ticket, the claims representitive then offered to recompense any expense that may be involved in acquiring the report...for her.

    That sent my antenna up, this is a huge insurance company, now family members have to do their leg work for them?

    She then told me that for whatever reason, that particular police department would not fax them a copy of the accident report.

    I was short, but polite at that point, she assured me that it can take up to 30 days to complete a accident report so maybe it just wasn't available as of yet?

    So I called down to the records department to chat, I said I needed a copy of a accident report for an insurance matter, the clerk asked me for the case number, she found it within maybe 1 minute, and said it was ready, and that she would fax the report to where ever it needed to be faxed.

    Okay, really distrusting the Claims rep, and not having their fax number, I mentioned I would be down the next day to acquire a copy of the report, and called the claims rep with a request for the fax number on her voice mail..at 4:10 in the afternoon, she was supposedly working until 5 pm but did not pick up the call.

    I had to call a local rep for that insurance company to get the fax number, but now I do not trust them enough to not have our own copy of the report as I suspect legal action will be needed soon as she flat out lied to me over the phone.

    The only reason I can see for that, and the 30 days for a report to be completed nonsense, is they know they will have to pay, but are now feet dragging.

    Or plan on denying the claim altogether.
     
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  15. Ohiophinphan

    Ohiophinphan Chaplain Staff Member Luxury Box

    Get the lawyer!
     
  16. NaboCane

    NaboCane Banned

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    Why do you keep getting deeper into this without an attorney? Every day that you wait gives the insurance company another opportunity to screw your mom out of something she is entitled to.

    It's your situation; but right now you're (and your mom is) being handled by the insurance company...what outcome do you think they are working toward?
     
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  17. FinSane

    FinSane Cynical Dolphins Fan

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    I recently got into an accident the 3rd of this month. I was heading north on a road passing through an intersection on a solid green light when this old lady darts out and slams into the driver side-front end of my car. I didnt have any major injuries but had a huge bruise on my left arm and part of my skin was cut from the seatbelt. I didnt go to the hospital since I felt ok. The next day I felt sore as hell but I dont have a regular doctor. The other thing is the woman who hit me was an old lady who was somewhat out of it at the time, so I didnt get a chance to get her information and the police officer only handed me a business card with the case # on it, no report and no citation for the lady as well, despite having a witness who was driving behind her at the time. the police officer said it would take 3-10 days for the report to be completed.So I called my insurance company and told them everything relevant.After talking with family members I wound up seeking consel since I didnt have any paperwork or any information and I went through my own insurance company. I met with the lawyer, got a free consultation, and the lawyer wont get paid unless we get a settlement. The lawyer is handling the insurance paperwork, the police report, and he recommended me to a chiropractor since I began having moderate neck and back pain. Had I not sought a lawyer Id have to worry about the other insurance company backing out, since there wasn't a citation and I didnt have a copy of the police report at the time. My insurance company couldve raised my premium since it couldve been a claim against me. And the accident wasn't fault. But thats why its always best to hire a lawyer. This could've been a nightmare for me had I acted otherwise.
     
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  18. Agua

    Agua Reality: Try It!

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    Insurance companies routinely and notoriously drag their feet.

    Perhaps you should see if you can hire an attorney on an hourly basis to negotiate the settlement for you. From the little information you've provided, it is hard to tell if there is enough money involved for it to be worth either your money or the attorney's time to hire on a contingency basis.

    Having practiced law for 18 years, perhaps I'm underestimating the difficulty for non-lawyers in negotiating a settlement, but all you're entitled to is what you've lost. Based upon the facts you've presented, that includes the fair market value of the vehicle, any out of pocket expenses your mother incurred as a result of the accident such as alternative transportation, lost wages, just about anything else that she lost.

    She needs to have a doctor examine her and determine if she has fully recovered. If so, she's entitled to her medical bills. If she had insurance that paid for medical treatment, or medicaid, they need to be notified of the settlement as they may very well come looking to your mother to pay out of the settlement proceeds.

    If she has not reached full recovery, then she needs to be compensated for future medial expenses and you probably ought to hire a lawyer.

    They ought to throw in something for pain and suffering too.

    You should expect it to drag out a while either way you go. That's the nature of the beast.
     
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  19. Two Tacos

    Two Tacos Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    I was hit by a teen that had been out parting all night last year. He was just below DUI level but admitted fault and was cited and I think charged with something since I was injured. One year later and his insurance is ready to settle. They paid for all medical and for my totaled car (about $40k in total) They offered $5k pain and suffering I said no $10k, they then went to $7K I said no again, sent them pictures of my injuries and a pain journal that I kept, where I documented what I was going through in recovery. I asked for the $10k again and they said yes. Originally, they did not want to give me the money, as I had no physical therapy and there for nothing to prove pain. Once they got the journal they changed their tune. I don't think you need a lawyer unless you are going trial. As long as you document everything. Have her write down what she cannot do that she normally could for as long as she is in pain. If you do go to trail the lawyer can use that stuff. Also, you shouldn't worry about settling until the medical stuff is resolved. Let the medical people know that its an insurance case and they should give you time to get it settled. A lawyer would of had to of gotten me at least $3k more just to pay his fees. I suppose that would have been possible, but I have my doubts.


    All my opinion of course.
     
  20. DeDolfan

    DeDolfan Premium Member Luxury Box

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    i don't know but I guess I'll break with the majority here. Before you decide, if your mom is no apparent pain and if the insurance will settle all damages to the car and cover all med expenses, I don't see where a lawyer will do much good other than to dig into your pockets. It is foolish to hire a lawyer to try to get any increase of the $2400 offer for the car. even if that is a low ball offer, you likely wouldn't wind up with any more considering the lawyer's take. My only concern rioght now would be if your mom is in any pain, other than what is expected. If the insurance wants to offer a settlement for her pain, be wary then as they probably not will ofeer anything like that just out of the "kindness of their heart" and accepting any settlement would stave off any litigation you might bring later. If you feel that your mom might have problems later on, you may want to consult an attorney to find out if there is any statute of limitations in personal injury, during which time you may see if any problems may develope. i would do this much even if the insurance paid all medical bills. But I would sit still awhile and see how things shake out for the time being. There's no need going for extra expense with a lawyer if you don't need one. Frivolous lawsuits are a big reason insurance costs so much today.
     
  21. NaboCane

    NaboCane Banned

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    I was in an accident in 2004; rear-ended, very routine, not even that hard. But immediately, I had shooting pain from the left side of my head and neck down to my left shoulder.

    I had x-rays, had chiropratric, accupuncture and massage and felt well enough within a year to settle for enough to cover all medical expenses, attorney's fees and a few grand for me.

    Little did I know that I would need lifelong treatment for the same shooting pains, nor that they would become near-debilitating over time; I have to take 4 aleve a day just to keep from having excrutiaitng pain in my left shoulder that keeps me from sleeping, it's so bad.

    I should have had an MRI, which would have shown the nerve damage that didn't show up on the x-rays, and that the treatments only masked long enough to fool me into thinking I was done with the pain.

    You have the right to what you're entitled to under the law; settle for any less than that and you can screw yourself out of necessary care down the line.
     
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  22. FinSane

    FinSane Cynical Dolphins Fan

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    This is what I was worried about when I got into my accident. I mightve felt fine after awhile. I had minor-moderate soreness in my neck and back but I could've gone on without seeking a lawyer or treatment.

    But in a year or so from now, I might wake up one morning in excruciating pain and get checked out, and low and behold I have a back/neck injury that developed from my accident and worsened over time. My current job is also pretty physical, I do alot of bending, lifting and loading and my chiropractor tells me my back already had some damage from job alone and the car accident made it worse(he of course, is going to note any injuries he finds are the result of the accident, for insurance purposes). Im glad I got checked out and my lawyer will ensure her insurance company(Allstate) will cover the expenses. Im not looking to go after a bunch of money, I just want my expenses paid for.
     
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  23. NaboCane

    NaboCane Banned

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    Good. I thought I was better, took the money and ran. Big mistake.

    But the point is: I got everything paid plus cash; if I hadn't had a lawyer, you think the insurance company would have been watching out for me?

    It's a world made by lawyers for lawyers; get one or get rolled by the insurance company.
     
  24. FinSane

    FinSane Cynical Dolphins Fan

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    Your insurance company has a lawyer, why shouldnt you?
     
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  25. DeDolfan

    DeDolfan Premium Member Luxury Box

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    You are correct. As in your situation you obviously needed it. But that doesn't mean that everyone in an accident does tho. That is why I mentioned the statute of limitations thing. That can be anywhere from 2-5 yrs, FL being at 4, and should be, but not always tho, ample time to determine if there may be problems down the road. I see both sides of this. If one needs if, fine, but don't go for it in a greedy way just because you can.
     
  26. jdang307

    jdang307 Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    How much were your medical bills I'm curious? One of the hardest things to do is value a personal injury case. I've heard 2-3x medical bills at least (that includes bills and pain and suffering). But it also depends on the limits of the policies, but there are ways around that. I've settled 2-4x it just all depends. Minimum is 2.

    I am not your lawyer, go seek your own advice blah blah blah
     
  27. Two Tacos

    Two Tacos Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    That's a good argument for a lawyer then, my non pain and suffering bills were like $20k or so. I just felt that $10k was fair for what I went through.
     
  28. jdang307

    jdang307 Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    If you felt what you got was fair and are happy, that's all that is important not the money. :)
     
  29. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    I used to run cases for an insurance company and I've never had a law degree.

    Lawyers cost money, a lot of money. They make more money by making the situation more complicated than it needs to be.

    There's a very good chance the insurer hasn't engaged lawyers.

    Valuing the claim is simple maths, there's no arcane science to it and liability is usually cut and dried in motor vehicle accidents.
     
  30. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Here's the deal....I've been on both sides of the fence in automotive accidents and I've fought with and without a lawyer. Both times involved totaled cars, both times involved degrees of permanent injury. Here's how they both went down-

    Case #1- Car hit my car, I hired a lawyer....he asked for $95,000. Was sent to all kinds of specialists, rehab I didn't need for my back and knee, missed 3 months work due to doctors orders, received approximately $18,000 after expenses, vehicle payoff, and fees. Total time to collect- 3 years, 7 months

    Case #2- Exact same scenario, drunk driver ran a stoplight and plowed into me. Did not hire a lawyer, visit specialists, etc. Insurance company said I had no claim, I responded taling about permanent injury, frequent headaches, dizzyness, etc and asked for $120,000. They paid off vehicle, provided a rental; but refused any money. I then filed out paperwork for civil court, faxed it to them, and informed them that I was filing the next morning if they refused to cooperate. Twenty minutes later I received a phone call, we negotiated for an hour, and I picked up a check for $27,500 the following day. Total time to collect- 19 days

    The thing you have to realize is that a lawyer does not represent your best interests, they are only out for a third after they hit you with every fee imaginable to keep your money. It takes forever because the last thing your lawyer or the insurance company wants is to go to court, so they both stall and refuse to push the other's buttons.

    If you have the aptitude to fight this yourself, DO NOT HIRE A LAWYER. If you're not up for researching state laws and playing the insurance company's unfair games, HIRE A LAWYER IMMEDIATELY. In either case, a fight needs to start today because it is a long, drawn out process that they will stall every single chance they get. Your mom is entitled to damages and they sure as hell won't offer it on their own, so one way or the other you need to get it started....and the first step is going to see a physician that specializes in joint and arthritis pain.

    On a side note, the first legitimate offer an insurance company usually throws out is 1/3 to 1/4 of what they're willing to settle for, so you need to ask much higher than what you want to end up with. Good luck!
     
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