I was in an accident recently, not my fault, and I've incurred quite a few back injuries. One may require surgery. I've very worried as it involves my spinal cord. I have PIP that cover $10,000. These bills will probably amount to well over $150,000 if I'm looking at surgery. Who will cover the rest of the bills? Will I be stuck with tab? Does his insurance cover it? I'm very concerned. I've hired an attorney, but I'm worried about pain and suffering, missing work or losing my job because of a long recovery time. Are these things I will be compensated for? Thanks in advance for any help. What kind of amounts would I see?
If you have a good personal-injury attorney, he/she (i) would have already put the other driver's insurance carrier on notice (and found out how much coverage is available) and put your insurance carrier on notice - also to see if you have Uninsured Motorist coverage + any stacking benefits.
The amount you eventually recover is based on the severity of your injury - if you have $150K in medical bills, that is indeed very serious. But - unless the other driver has significant assets to go after - you will be limited to the coverage amount of the other driver's, and your own, insurance coverage (if you have Uninsured Motorist).
A few hypothetical examples of how this works:
If the other driver only has $10,000 in bodily injury coverage and you do not have any uninsured motorist coverage, you would only be able to obtain $10,000 on top of your PIP benefits. If the other driver has $100,000 in bodily injury coverage and you have $10,000 in UM benefits, the most you will likely recover is $110,000.
Ask your attorney how much total coverage is available and you will have a better understanding of your possible recovery....but without knowing more about your injury, it would be impossible to guess as to what amount you will eventually see in the end.
If there is enough coverage - you are entitled to be compensated for your past and future medical bills, lost and future lost wages, pain & suffering, etc... Your lawyer should have explained all this to you.
I am surprised your attorney has not already answered these questions for you by providing a detailed analysis of the process at your initial consultation. The amount of coverage the at-fault party has in bodily injury insurance and whether or not you have uninsured/underinsured motorist protection on your own policy will determine how much can be recovered notwithstanding an extra-contractual bad faith action.
Mr. Neufeld provided a detailed answer and practically covered the issues very well
This advice should not be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship.
I like both of the previous answers and concur, as well, that your lawyer should explain this to you.
Additionally, to be exact, or to quibble just a hair, the amounts of coverage do not determine how much you can recover. A jury does.
What was explained was how much your insurance vs. the other driver's might have to contribute. But that is not necessarily determinative.
The at-fault driver's personal assets may be at stake, as well.
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