Assuming your post is accurate, just pursue your own sum endorsement. You did purchase proper coverage; didn't you? If you did, you wouldn't need to post this question.
Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney client relationship has been formed or should be inferred. Please speak with a local and qualified attorney. I truly wish you and those close to you all the best. Jeff
If you think you are entitled to more than just $5,000 you can ALWAYS get a second opinion. Remember, an attorney works for YOU so if you feel you are entitled to more than you're told they can get, get a second opinion! There's no harm in asking another attorney his or her opinion.
I'm sorry that you were hurt in a crash with a drunken driver and I hope that you have fully recovered from your injuries. Under California law, established in the 1960s, drivers are only required to have the minimum $15,000/$30,000 policy limits.
Many people chose to buy uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on their own policy to ensure they are covered in a circumstance such as this one. If you had a $100,000/$300,000 underinsured policy you could have obtained a settlement as high was $100,000.
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 collecting on a judgment. So, a check into the drunk driver's assets would be a good idea as well.
Need to see if anyone else could be brought into the case, like an employer, or owner of the car the drunk was driving. If driver has assets, you can refuse the 15k and sue for more. Sounds like you have bills etc that will come out of the 15k so that after fees/costs and bills, there is 5k left. Talk to your lawyer and get answers to your questions.
If you are unhappy with your lawyer, you are free to get a new one. Avvo has a terrific "find a lawyer" tool.
Based on the information you provided, the driver has a 15/30 minimal policy. What this means is that the defendant's insurance company can pay a maximum of $15,000.00 per person, $30,000.00 per accident. Did your attorney send a conditional time limit demand? Did the Insurance company timely meet the terms and conditions of their settlement demand? These are questions you should ask your attorney.Your attorney should have looked or should look for other means of recovery, such as additional defendants, excess coverage, UIM coverage (through your own policy, if you have one). Also, attorneys fees and cost will come out of the $15,000.00 settlement. Your attorney is required to only pay medical bills that have a valid statutory lien from the settlement proceeds. If there are no statutory liens, and if you don't want your medical bills paid from the settlement, those bills will ultimately be your responsibility. Your attorney should negotiate and reduce any bills with statutory liens and any other bills you want to pay from the settlement. You can always get a second opinion from another attorneys office. Good luck!
If the person who caused this only has a 15/30 policy then for a single person all that can be recovered from the policy is the $15K. From this you will have to take care of your medical bills along with other fees for your lawyer, etc. If after all that is taken into consideration you are left with only $5K, then this is the amount you will get if you want to settle. If you want more you will have to sue and prove that your injuries will cost more than what is currently being offered, but if there's no other parties or assets to collect from, you will essentially have an unenforceable judgment which means you will probably not collect. If your attorney is an "ambulance chaser" then he probably does a lot of personal injury like most of us and will have the answers to your questions about enforceability. Trust them, otherwise you can consult a second opinion through Avvo. Good Luck
I haven't looked at the other answers, but it is quite obvious that on a 15-30 policy, the most the carrier will pay out is 15k. If you "go to court" as you suggest, you may get a recovery far above 15k (and the policy limits), which may potentially allow you to recover substantial monies. However, that is a long road. And yes, your medical bills are paid out of your recovery.
It is ALWAYS possible to get more. However, it is also possible that you could get less. The concept of a settlement takes both possibilities into consideration and punches out a number. I think you would have to give more facts for a more accurate advice. You should first talk to your lawyer and get an itemization of what the costs and bills are, and why you are ending up with 5k. If you don't like what you hear, call another lawyer for advice.
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