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Claim value/do I need an attorney?

by Chris

Hello, my situation is kind of difficult. In August of 06, i was a passenger in a 1 vehicle rollover accident. The driver was a friend of mine. He swerved to miss a deer while going around a curve and ended up losing control causing us to hit a ditch and roll over 2-3 times into a field.

Luckily for seatbelts, we were very lucky and weren't hurt severely or killed. My injuries were the worst, i ended up with a broken tibia. I also had an open wound that was the size of a pinky finger that went into my leg, to the bone. the bone did NOT stick out through the skin. i have multiple scars i had a rod inserted into the tibia.

I had knee pain in the patellar tendon after i would run at the gym. In July of last year, an infection developed and i had an ultrasound to figure out the cause, it didn't help other than showing a mass under the skin. I had surgery in July to do a biopsy of this.

It did prove to be the cause. Now, this past November, my doctor and i decided to have the rod takin out and checkout my patellar pain. the surgery went very well and the doctor had to remove some scar tissue from the patellar as well. I see him at the end of this month and i should be "released." My friend's insurance company has started the process to settle, by getting the medical records from the last 2 surgeries, he has them from the first incident.

I'm pretty sure my total medical bills are going to be around $35-45K. In talking to my friend, i know his bodily injury limit is 100K. I know my insurance underinsured is 250K. Basically my question is, what is a general amount to expect? I have not contacted an attorney yet.

I know my statute is august of this year. Should i just assume i'm going to get low balled and just get an attorney? i was hoping i wouldn't have to. Also, should i expect more than the 100K limit? i do not want to sue my friend obviously. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks


Hello Chris,

I am sorry to hear about your injuries. The insurance company will try to settle for way less than the limits (the bodily injury). They know that this is the worse case scenario, so they would not want to pay that unless they absolutely have to. How do they know they must pay? Because a judge tells them to! In other words, it is very very hard to get an insurance company to pay limits even when you have a permanent injury.

Your injury is severe, you have high medical bills. I would not proceed if you do not have legal representation. With adequate help, you claim can be worth 350K, so this is not one of those you can really gamble on. Remember that the first claim affects the second claim. So if the negotiation of the first one goes badly (you do not settle at least for the limits), then you would not even have a second claim.

Should you expect that the insurance company will low ball you? Yes, they are very hard negotiators. I would not be surprise if their first offer is less than $15K. Many times I tell people to settle themselves (mainly for minor injuries), that is the reason why I and my husband wrote an entire website on how to do this (see home page)

However your case has a permanent injury, so you should protect yourself. What you can do is try to see how much you can get on your own (80k for example), that is the best offer they will make to you. So you know that as a fact, you can get that much from the insurance carrier. You can then go to an attorney and tell them that you pay 30% of what every they can get you above that amount. That way you know you are getting bank for your buck. If an attorney does not agree, move on to the next.

I hope this helps,

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