It's hard to figure out the value of a case without actually reading the medical records. But if your car rolled and landed upside-down, and if your medical records look the way I think they'll look based on your description, I'd say policy limits is a reasonable demand, and $15,000 is pretty low.
If you decide to talk with a lawyer, be careful about the fee agreement. Here's what I mean. They typical fee agreement is, "you don't pay us anything unless we get you a settlement, in which case you pay us 1/3."
So far, so good. But since you've already gotten an offer of $15,000, if you go to a lawyer, and the lawyer gets the offer up to $21,000, and you pay 1/3 of that, you're left with $14,000, less than you started with. So you'll want to ask the lawyer to set up a special fee agreement.
There are a couple of ways to do this. We're in Portland, not Eugene, but I'd be happy to talk with you about how to set up a fee agreement that is fair to you. And I also can recommend some good lawyers in Eugene. (There's no charge for this, of course).
You can make a counteroffer or you can hire an attorney to get a better offer.
The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.
Your situation is too involved for an online answer. Hire a personal injury lawyer.
Using the written documentation you have is a good place to begin. Contact a local lawyer - many may give you a free consultation for an hour - to discuss your specifics. Far too many variables exist in the short post you wrote for any further observation by me. Many attorneys have information posted here on Avvo.
You might find my Legal Guide helpful "How to Choose A Lawyer For You"
You might find my Legal Guide helpful " What Do I Tell My Lawyer"
No one can know what the record is in the case because online we cannot see your documents. You need a lawyer. Check with a lawyer in your locale to discuss more of the details.
Good luck to you.
NOTE: This observation is made available by the out-of-state lawyer for educational purposes only. This observation is not like a communication with a lawyer with whom you have an attorney-client relationship along with all the privileges that relationship provides.
It sounds like you have reached the end of this round of negotiations with your carrier. You have a couple of options. You may demand binding arbitration or file a lawsuit on your own or you may hire an attorney to do so. Typically speaking a person does not receive the best offer until the insurance company has to face a person or jury who can hold them accountable. If you had additional wage losses which should have been covered by PIP, this may also be a separate area to increase total coverage.
Without knowing the specific facts of your case, it would not be possible to assess a reasonable resolution, though, this does not appear close.
Keep in mind that you have a limited period of time to file a case to preserve your rights.
Insurance companies often initially offer much less than a case is worth. This is true regardless of whether they are your insurance company or they insure the other driver. At this point you should definitely speak with an attorney to discuss your options. Most attorneys, including myself, offer a consultation free of charge. An attorney can help you to understand your best course of action. It may be that you will need to file a lawsuit against either your insurance company or the at-fault driver. Some additional information will be needed to determine the best way for you or your attorney to respond to the adjuster. Please feel free to telephone me if you would like to discuss this further. Krystin Rose (503) 222-3030.
Unless you left out some important facts, this appears to be what is often referred to in the trade as a low ball offer. Sometimes insurance companies make these and hope you just go away. They gamble on the fact most people are afraid to get a lawyer and will eventually just roll over and accept the offer. Frankly, I don't see any advice that would help you make them come to their senses. I think you probably have no choice but to get a lawyer at this point.
You can continue negotiating with the insurance company. $15,000 is not their bottom line. Make a counteroffer. If you can't resolve it yourself, you probably will need to hire a lawyer.
You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow your doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to your medical records. Photograph your injuries and the damage done to any vehicle or other 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. Remember, your own insurance company is neither your friend nor your good neighbor. The sole goal of any insurance carrier is to pay you nothing or as little as possible on your injury claim.
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 insure proper advice is received.
It's a trap.
Check your insurance contract. You probably need to pay back the $14,000 in medical bills. So, $15,000 leaves you with about nothing.
Hire a lawyer, maybe pay by the hour for advice. In a situation like yours, many lawyers would negotiate their fee agreement and not stick to the 1/3 or 40%.
Jeff Merrick, Oregon Trial Attorney
Injury & Employment Law
The above is not legal advice. I cannot give you sound advice without knowing more information. It is intended to raise some issues for you to discuss with your own lawyer.
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