This really depends on a number of things. There are neck injuries (minor whiplash) and neck injuries (herniated discs). What were your medical bills? Those would have to be paid out of the settlement in most cases, but your attorney should try to get those reduced for you.
I'm also unclear as to the settlement amount. Was it $15,000 total, with $5,000 to you after fees and medical bills paid?
Most attorneys aren't willing to go past the policy amount due to the uncertainty/difficulty of...
Sorry that your wife was injured and that you haven't been able to find an attorney that is willing to help. Each case is different and requires independent investigation and review. It could be that the attorneys you have spoken with simply don't have experience to deal with the specifics of your case. An attorney would have to have a relationship with some engineering experts that can determine whether the road condition represented an overly hazardous situation for motorists. I know there...
There are some more details needed to determine fault. Controlled intersection? Who entered the intersection first? Speed? Turn indicators? I agree that your case does sound sympathetic. I'd call an attorney for a consult. Most will provide one for free. Good luck.
The Department of Insurance is more concerned when your own insurance company treats you wrong. The other driver's insurance is acting very aggressively on its insured's behalf. They can be a real pain for sure. If no injuries, and the damage is around $3,000, I would sue their insured in small claims court.
Unless you received bodily injuries, it is not likely to be cost efficient to hire an attorney here. Fortunately, the small claims courts cater to plaintiffs in these situations. That is probably your best bet, if no injuries.
I get really concerned when I see people try to litigate cases by themselves. When you are out of small claims, it is a totally different ball game. I have seen (and maybe done so myself) attorneys take advantage of the discovery rules on pro pers, hitting them with sanctions and motions to compel. If requests for admissions are part of the discovery packet, you may have lost the case already. You may be trying to avoid contingent fees, but I would lawyer up fast.
It sounds like you did the right things by submitting it to insurance first. I would contact the district attorney's victim/witness office and see if they can get restitution for damages for you. If not, I would go ahead and sue in small claims at this point. You don't get to have a lawyer with you at small claims, but it appears from the facts you have submitted that liability is cut and dry. Good luck.
This landlord sounds like a slumlord. If there are dangerous conditions that the landlord is aware of, and this conditions are causing injuries, talk to a lawyer. Every case is fact specific and premises liability has some specific case law and jury instructions that apply, but an experienced attorney will be familiar with them and advise you accordingly.
There are lots of good lawyers in the Fresno area. Find the best that you can afford. You are looking at serious time. A good lawyer can make a difference in getting some charges reduced/dropped. Your confession can get suppressed under some circumstances, but that depends on the facts. Also, avoid discussing the facts of case - especially your involvement - on a public forum like this. Avoid any more admissions.