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My son was injured in a one car accident. The insurance wants to settle for little money. Can we still go to trial to get more?

Atlanta, GA |

The driver was a minor with parental permission to drive (the driver was supposed to have an adult in the car but there was no adult present). My son broke his arm and required surgery. The attorney hired says that the insurance company will max out at $50k. Is there a limit on insurance payouts and can we seek more money for current medical bills, additional surgery, lawyer fees (33%) and pain and suffering?

Attorney Answers 12


  1. It all depends on what the insurance limits are, and if the drivers parents have any assets, etc. you can always move forward with an underinsured motorists claim with your own coverage, and see I'd that policy sticks. A long shot would be to see if they had any personal umbrella coverage...


  2. The only person who can answer you is your attorney, who has facts no one here has. Your post makes it sound like there is a max of $50K of coverage, so an insurer won't pay more than the limits. Only your attorney knows the severity of the injuries, the adjuster, whether you have a bad insurer like State Farm/Allstate or a really good one (folks like USAA, etc), liability, if you have med pay or UM, etc. Ask him.

    If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you (and am not your lawyer). Do feel free to call me at 404-768-3509 if you wish to discuss actual representation (the phone call also does not retain counsel; that requires an office visit and appropriate paperwork). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. (You can also email my office at geaatl@msn.com . An email also does not retain my office, but can help you get an appointment set if you prefer not to call). I am happy to discuss possible representation with you. Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated Ashman Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.


  3. I agree that the recovery depends on whether there is enough insurance and, if not, whether the at-fault driver has assets worth pursuing. The at-fault driver's liability coverage would be first in line, then if the defendant had an umbrella policy, that would be next in lime, then if that policy amount is not enough, your underinsured motorist coverage is next. Then, if the at-fault driver has any assets, you could pursue those. I would be happy to speak to you about your case. Call me at 478-254-3606 for a free consultation. Good luck.


  4. There are multiple options for recovery including other vehicles owned by the parents of the driver, umbrella coverages, private out of pocket pay and your own underinsured motorist coverage. Additionally, in Georgia if the settlement for your son exceeds $15,000 it will have to be approved by the probate court of the county you reside. This can include an appointed conservator or guardian ad litem. All settlements on behalf of a minor require court approval even if the matter was settled without filing a lawsuit. I suggest speaking with your current lawyer about all of your options.


  5. Get a lawyer with a lower fee, and have him take it to court to get your son maximum compensation. As the old saying goes, don't settle for a lawyer who only knows how to settle.


  6. Only If the at-fault party's ins. co. pays its max liability coverage amount can you then seek under-insured benefits from your own carrier to supplement what the at-fault party's max was. However, first you must have underinsured motorist coverage (call your agent if you don't know) AND your UM coverage must exceed the max of the other party's liability coverage, which you say has been exhausted at 50k AND your son's injuries are bad enough to warrant more than the $50k already paid AND if your attorney knows the specific legal details involved in properly notifying and filing the under-insured claim, AND there has been a thorough investigation as to whether there are other parties that could be at fault (bad road design, defective tires, uncrashwothy automobile, etc.,) then you would be able to get more money that way. But don't forget the old-fashioned way of checking to see if the at-fault party has any good assets, in which case you could sue that party for more than his/ her 50k ins. limit, especially if you don't have large enough UM ins. to kick in over the 50k. You must have MORE than 50k in UM coverage before your policy will pay anything. This is very confusing stuff and you should sit down with your lawyer and discuss it with him.

    Law Office of Robert G. Rothstein (Atlanta)
    Free Consultation contact us at:
    www.rgrothsteinlaw.com

    Disclaimer: This response is provided to you for educational and informational purposes only and no attorney-client relationship has been created hereby. Other attorneys may have different opinions or responses. If you found this response helpful, please indicate Best Answer to Avvo. Thank you.


  7. If $50k is the max insurance available through all policies then you may be stuck with seeking the personal assets of the tortfeasor. Your attorney is best equipped to answer this question for you in greater detail.

    An attorney-client relationship is NOT created through the use of this website or by answering this particular post. Each claim is different and must be judged on its own merits. The response herein does not constitute legal advice. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Questions may not include significant and important facts that could significantly change the reply. Mr. Price is licensed in MO only and strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in his or her particular state in order to ensure proper advice is received.


  8. You need to talk openly & candidly with your current attorney. Give your attorney a chance to answer & address your thoughts, concerns & fears. This is one of the main reasons that it is critical to have really good underinsured motorist coverage, which you may have. I am not sure, but go ahead & talk with your current lawyer. Best wishes.

    Sam Levine, Esq.
    (404) 303-8875


  9. Since you have an attorney, it would not be prudent for attorneys here on Avvo.com to comment directly on your case, since your attorney is in the best position to provide you with information. I suggest you have a face-to-face meeting with your attorney and also understand the maximum insurance coverage which may be available here, including any underinsured motorist coverage. Speak with your attorney.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    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.

    This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.


  10. I agree with the posts above that your attorney should be able to explore other options before filing a lawsuit, such as the at-fault's possible umbrella coverage, and your own underinsured motorist policy. There is no guarantee that your son's claim would benefit from going to trial, especially if the at-fault has no assets. Filing a lawsuit typically increases your claim expenses (doctor dispositions, office expenses, attorney's fee) as well.

    If this information has been helpful, please mark it as "Best Answer" or "Helpful". For more information, contact my office at www.lariscylawfirm.com or (706) 353-7722. My office offers a free 60-minute consultation to discuss your case.


  11. Discuss your problem with your attorney. The only possible additional claims I can think of are: 1) Underinsured Motorist Coverage (Your own UIM policy), and 2) Negligent entrustment of the vehicle by the owners (Homeowners Insurance of car owner). See if your attorney thinks either of those is an option in your state.


  12. Yes. You have every right to tell your attorney you don't want to settle and to take your case to trial, or fire your attorney and find someone who will.

    As for available coverage, depending on your sons injuries and your attorney's prelitigation acumen, pursuing an excess judgment and a post judgment cause of action for bad faith against the insurance company could get you more than the policy limits. Here's a legal guide about bad faith. http://bit.ly/YZL4SD

    Either way, it's important that you know that 1) you have the right to decide whether or not to settle or go to trial and 2) it's your attorney's responsibility to do all in his or her power to preserve your potential right to recover more than the policy limits.

    Answering questions does not create an attorney/client relationship. I only am your attorney if I have entered into a written contract, signed by me, wherein I expressly assent to be your attorney. Nothing I post should be construed as legal advice to be acted upon, it is merely a legal opinion.

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