A friend was driving my car, left the asphalt going around a left curve, went down an embankment. I had to be extracted from car, (Totalled) Broken rt femar, broken left foot, etc. Hospitalized 10 days, still recovering.
My answer is based on Washington state law. Your attorney (don't try this at home) should explore all possible sources of compensation. First, determine whether the driver had insurance. Second, since he was driving your car with your permission, he is covered by your liability insurance. A 100/300 policy usually means that any one person may recover up to $100,000, and all the people injured in the accident can recover a total of $300,000. So you can recover up to $100,000 from your liability policy. You state your coverage is 100/300/100. If so, the last 100 may refer to PIP coverage, which helps pay for your medical expenses and lost wages without fault, but not pain and suffering. Third, you may have underinsured motorist coverage in the same amount. Insurance companies in Washington are required to offer underinsured motorist coverage in the same amount as they offer liability coverage, unless the insured declines the coverage in writing. Did you sign a written statement that you did not want underinsured motorist coverage? And can they produce that statement? if you did not sign or if they cannot find the written statement, you are entitled as the policy holder to recover underinsured motorist coverage as well, again in the sum of $100,000. I started by saying that you should not try this at home without a lawyer because of several traps for the unwary here. First, you must seek formal permission from the UIM carrier before settling the liability coverage or you will waive (i.e. lose) the underinsured motorist coverage. Second, if you can settle the claims for the respective policy limits, you may be able to keep the funds as yours instead of losing them to the medical insurance carrier who will want to be paid back for the medical bills they paid for you. In short, these are complex questions that can be appropriately resolved only by an experiences personal injury lawyer.
All I am doing is pointing out SOME of the difficulties you face in this situation.
This depends on several factors. The first would be whether this crash happened in Oregon or Washington. It would also depend on whether you are a Washington resident or Oregon resident and whether your friend was independently insured under his own insurance policy. Finally, we must know whether or not your policy includes underinsured/uninsured (UIM) insurance.
Essentially, there are a lot of issues here that will all come in to play and you would be best served contacting a personal injury attorney directly about your case. It sounds as if you have fairly significant injuries and you would very much benefit from counsel.
If you have qualified counsel, then listen to your attorney. If not, then get one. Every case is different. To have a shot at being fairly compensated requires an expert. No different than the expert surgeon who treated your leg, expert first responders who extracted you, expert police who secured the scene, expert tow truck driver who removed the vehicle. I could go on; hopefully, you understand now. Good uck.
Did your friend have liability insurance? If so, you will be making a claim against his insurance first. If he does not have insurance, you need to determine if you have uninsured motorist coverage in the limits that you describe and, if so, whether the policy will provide uninsured motorist coverage in this situation. You should consult a good Portland personal injury attorney to advise you on the situation.
There may be multiple policies to collect from. Don't try to resolve this yourself, as you could sabotage your good claim. Retain a personal injury lawyer to investigate. Find one with a low contingency fee, less than 30% with no costs deducted, so you are left with the lion's share of the settlement, not your lawyer.
You have very significant injuries.You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com dealing with many of the issues you are now facing. The Guides can be accessed through my profile page on Avvo.com.
The amount you potentially could receive for pain and suffering is unlimited, however, as a practical matter, you often are limited by the extent of the available insurance coverage or attachable assets of the defendant. I suggest you speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.
Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
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