You should consult with a personal injury attorney in Irvine. You will need an attorney anyway if you want to take it to court. It's a complicated situation because the insurance company is so close to offering you the full policy limits, and the value of your case depends on your injuries.
Merry Fountain is licensed to practice law in Indiana. She can be contacted at 1-888-242-HURT. This is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney/client relationship. It is legal education intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. If the question does not include important timeframes and facts the answer could change. Merry Fountain strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state.
If California law is similar to New Hampshire law you are in a sophisticated situation and need local legal counsel to navigate your way to the best result.
No information provided in response to these questions can be relied upon in any way without further personally consulting with Attorney Kerrigan and Attorney Kerrigan consulting personally with you regarding your specific legal situation.
you could get a verdict for a million dollars, but the ins co will only have to pay the policy limit. You would have to try to collect the rest from the deft personally. Sometimes the deft may have a claim against its own ins co for bad faith failure to settle or not trying to settle within the policy limits. Your atty needs to give the carrier the chance to settle for policy limits, in order for this to be a possibility later. If the deft has a bad faith case due to an excess verdict, you may be able to take an assignment or otherwise benefit from that second lawsuit. You need to have competent atty handling all this.
If you can substantiate your damages in court, you can obtain the full limits of the at fault parties insurance policy of $25,000. However, you may also be able to recover much more than that under your own insurance policy. All auto insurance policies in California provide for under insured and uninsured motorist coverage. Pursuant to the underinsured motorist coverages of your policy, if you cannot recover the full amount of your damages from the Insurance policy for the party at fault, your insurance steps in to make up the difference up to the limits of UIM coverage that you purchased. Your chances of actually being able to prove the full amount of your damages increase exponentially if you retain legal counsel to assist you.
If I change your question, just a bit, I can provide you answer. There are two sepearate issues. One is settlement before going to trial. In that case, the insurance carrier's top dollar is the $25k policy limit. If you are talking about a settlement after going through a trial, if a settlment demand for $25k is rejected, and the verdict exceeds $25,000, then the insurance carrier may pay more than the policy limits. Either scenario will require the help of a skilled lawyer. Good luck.
Why would you take it to court if the insurance limit is $25k. Better settle for the $25k , which is the policy limits and then depending on whether your damages exceed the $25k, and if you have a large IUM policy provision, ask your attorney to demand the maximum from your uninsured/underinsured policy. Best of luck.
This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de Accidentes de Autos de California: 510-206-4492. Abogado de Lesiones de Accidentes de Autos, provides answers of a general context. These answers are not intended to form an attorney client relationship. Oakland Abogado Accidentes Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Accidentes de carros, Abogado de accidentes de Peatones, practices in Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Oakland, Hayward, Martinez, Newark, Richmond, San Francisco and San Rafael. El abogado de lesiones y heridos en accidentes de autos, is licensed only in California. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on car accidents, personal injury, divorce, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado de Accidentes de Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Heridos en Accidentes de carros, Manuel A. Juárez, 510-206-4492. Abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Abogado de Divorcios, Abogado Latino de Accidentes, Abogado de Accidentes de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Manuel Juarez, Esq., esta licenciado solo en el Estado de California.
You should give primary consideration to your attorney's advice in this situation, but should be cognizant of 1) Going to trial over $5,000 can be expensive and risky, depending on the strength of your case and the extent of your injuries, so if you case seems to have a value of only slightly more than the $25K you should consider settling once you attorney advises you that he/she has gotten you what they believe to be the best offer without going to trial. 2) It is unlikely that the insurance company will want to take a case to trial if it is worth more than the $25K and will ultimately offer the policy limits. 3) Some insurance companies, especially the larger ones, will not ultimately expose their insureds to excess judgments, so that if they did not settle within the policy limits and there is a larger judgment, they will pay the excess, which in affect give the plaintiff an unlimited policy to shoot for.
Our office handles both personal injury and insurance bad faith claims in southern California.
There is a lot of information that we are missing.
What is your the "questimate" of the actual value of your case and what are your injuries? Is your case worth $25,000 or more?
Have you given the insurance company what the law considers a "reasonable opportunity" to tender policy limits?
Have you given them adequate documentation to justify the tender of policy limits?
The rules in this area are very complicated, but I will try to give you an over simplified idea: (1) if your case is worth more than the maximum they are offering, and (2) you have given them adequate documentation, and (3) you have given them a reasonable amount of time to investigate and to offer to settle; then there is an argument that the "policy is open."
Only an experienced insurance bad faith atttorney (not just a personal injury attorney) can advise you on this and only after actually reviewing the case and file.
Keep in mind that reasonable minds can disagree about the value of a case and just because you feel your case is worth more than their offer doesn't make it so. Also keep in mind that litigation and trial can cost over $5,000 in costs and expert fees alone and this does not include the 50 to 100 hours the attorney will have to spend. Depending on your arrangement with your attorney, a higher settlement or verdict in litigation does not necessarily mean that you will get more money in your pocket when everything is done.
There are a few ways you can get more than the policy limits. First, you should do an asset check to determine if the Defendants can pay more than the policy limits. If you go to trial and get a verdict for more than the policy limits and the defendants has enough assets to satisfy the amount over the policy limits , you could do that. Additionally, if the Defendant does not have assets over the policy limits, you could make a policy limits demand based upon your special damages and general damages being such that you believe they will exceed the policy limits. If the Defendant does not tender the policy limits within the prescribed time and you obtain a verdict for more, then the policy would be considered open and you could proceed that way. Also, if you do a CCP § 998 for the amount of the policy and you obtain a higher verdict, you would be entitled to costs and likely your expert fees and other costs.
Good luck on your case.
Answering this question is not an agreement to represent the recipient or others. This answer is an opinion based upon the limited facts supplied and further research and analysis is required to render a full legal opinion. This opinion is that of the Law Offices of Dennis P. Wilson and is only premised upon California law and is not meant to be utilized in any other jurisdiction.
Have you finished treating?? Your offer might not get better if you have completed treating and had no serious injuries. The information you provided is very incomplete. Time to call an attorney!
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You are confusing an insurance limit with a judgment order. A judgment order can far exceed the insurance limit. Collecting beyond the insurance limit will be the problem. The carrier is only obligated to pay up to their limit contracted for. (There are some exceptions when bad faith on the insurance company's part is involved.)
You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any 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. The Guides can be accessed through my profile page on Avvo.com.
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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.
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when it comes to a jury trial or a bench trial there is always the possibility that you may get more than their policy limits. Usually people with a 25/50 policy don't have much assets other than their insurance premium and you are also looking at throwing the dice with a jury. But in the end your settlement should depend on the facts of the accident, and liability.