The purpose of a lawsuit of this nature is to restore you, not increase your wealth.
If you feel this is not just and fair, you can ask your present attorney to try to negotiate with the lienholders to reduce the amount of their liens.
You can confer with another attorney.
You can prepare to go to trial.
Keep in mind that you should " crunch the numbers" if you elect to go to trial. Doctors cost money to testify, as do depositions, so you should feel confident that a jury will award you enough to cover the money you must provide, plus what is offered.
Juries provide a collective intelligence, and one side will go away feeling dissatisfied. Settlement provides an opportunity for both sides to feel dissatisfied.
Perhaps a larger settlement could be negotiated. Perhaps your lawyer has taken factors into account that you are not aware of.
It seems that at the least you need to communicate with your attorney before you make any decisions.
As you are represented by counsel, it would not be appropriate for attorneys here on Avvo.com to attempt to second guess your attorney. There may be a reason for the proposed $8000 settlement.
I suggest that you arrange a face-to-face in office appointment with your attorney to review the entire status of your claim and ask your attorney to detail why he either recommends or does not recommend settlement for $8000. You do not have to accept the offered amount. Generally car insurance and Blue Cross Blue Shield have subrogation interests in your recovery. You should ask your attorney to explain those to you.
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. Q
The duty of a person who has caused you injury is to put you back to the place where you were before the accident occurred. If you did not sustain any major injury, then you may not be entitled to more than this.
There are too many missing details to be able to evaluate your claim. You may have medical bills which the insurance company believes are not related to the claim, or the insurance company may believe that you "overtreated" for the extent of the injury claimed. It is even possible that the insurance company believes that the charges for the medical treatment are too high and are therefore "not reasonable". They may even believe that the force of the accident was not sufficient to cause the injuries for which you complained and were treated.
In a car accident claim. you may either reach a settlement with the insurance company or take them to court and have a jury determine what is reasonable compensation for your injuries.
Many insurance companies will make "low-ball" offers if they believe that you will not take them to court, especially if you have not filed a lawsuit or your attorney is known as one who will not go to court.
Ultimately, you must agree to settle or not to settle. If you fundamentally disagree with your attorney, you may releive him and seek other counsel or he may actually drop your case himself (especially if he thinks that your expectations are unrealistic).
Remember that the attorney is experieinced in dealing with insurance companies. You most likely have a contingency fee arrangement with him where he gets paid a percentage of what he recovers on your behalf. If so, then it is in his interest to get the best recovery for you.
Remember, if you go to trial, then you incur the additional expenses of litigation which may be significant. If the jury agrees with the present evaluation of damages, then you would come out significantly worse.
My comments are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship, are not confidential, and are not intended to constitute legal advice. Proper legal advice can only be given by an attorney who agrees to represent you, who reviews the facts of your specific case, who does not have a conflict of interest preventing the representation, and who is licensed to practice in the appropriate jurisdiction where the legal issue may be filed or in the state where the law applies.
Sometimes, factors such as the amount of insurance, the amount of bills, reimbursement agreements, and the like can reduce what you take out of a settlement.
You just never know. There are so many factors that determine the value and the bottom line of a case and your note lists plenty of them--Blue Cross reimbursement, medical payments reimbursement, among them.
I am sure your lawyer did his or her best, knowing that the more he or she gets for you the more he or she keeps as a fee.
Sometimes, it just isn't as "fair" as you think it should be but we as a public are fairly uninformed of how the process works. Now that you've experienced it firsthand, you probably know a lot more of how complex it can be.
All of the answers given by other lawyers here are good ones. The settlement you got was probably a fair one, but if you don't feel it was, I strongly recommend you go to a trial. Only through a trial are you ever going to find out what your claim is really worth.
But you may be sadly disappointed if you try your case to the Jury.
Your doctor will insist on getting paid for his time away from his practice. Your doctor will still insist on his medical bill being paid if you haven't paid it in full yet. You'll still have to pay your health insurance company back money from whatever you win. And before any of these bills are paid, you'll have to pay your lawyer his fee and all of the costs of litigation..
You might want to buy half an hour of the time of an experienced lawyer to go over the facts and circumstances of your case to help you decide if you are getting a decent deal or if you are getting taken to the showers. It's hard to say with certainty what the situation is here without more details,
Good luck if you don't.
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