LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney John Kannin | Mar 13, 2019

How To Get Money From an Insurance Company After a car Accident

There are a lot of attorneys who do this sort of work, but I like to think that we're special here at my office in Burien because we go the extra mile for you and I'm going to share with you some of the recent results we got for our clients, and this shows you why again, you need an attorney when you're dealing with insurance companies.

First thing I'm going to tell you about a man who I've helped, he was an elderly man, was in a very serious rear end car collision, here in Seattle. He was stopped in traffic and somebody who was driving behind him not paying attention, texting on their phone and crashed into him at full speed, which for that street was 35 miles an hour. So it doesn't sound like a lot, but, when you're hit stationary at 35 miles an hour, it is a lot. That's a lot of energy that went into his vehicle and it injured him at injured. His neck had injured his back. it injured his wrist actually cause his hand got caught up in the steering wheel and, one of his knees. So those are his injuries and thank goodness there were no broken bones. He didn't have any broken vertebrae, but it was what we call soft tissue sprain and strain injury. Even with his hand got jammed too. So that was, luckily not broken, but it was jammed really bad. And he, went to the emergency room, he got medical treatment and we negotiated with the Insurance Company for the other driver.

And it turned out that, they had only the statutory policy limits. And here in Washington state you only have to have $25,000 of insurance coverage for an automobile liability policy to comply with our state laws. So that driver had that, but given this man's injuries, we told the insurance company that we would like you to pay the entire amount of the policy over to him because his, damages exceeded what your limits were. And when I'm talking about damages, damages is a legal term we use for money. And there's generally two types of damages. You can claim economic damages, that's amounts of money proven with a bill or statement. And in this case it'd be all of his medical bills and then the second type that the insurance company always forgets to tell you about unless you have an attorney is noneconomic or general damage, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of use of life, hassle factor, permanent scarring, disability disfigurement. So you don't get a bill for that, but that definitely happens to you. And it's sometimes difficult to assign a dollar value on it. So that's where we can help you because we have experienced assigning dollar values to these more abstract claims. But then also we know about them. And if you're not an attorney, it's my experience that the insurance adjusters, the person you're negotiating with, the insurance company just talks about the medical bills. They don't even tell you about these other types of damages that you're lawfully entitled to be paid for. And those are often, many times more than the medical bills. So, but anyways, back to the man's case. So his, his bills well exceeded the $25,000 policy limits. So then we said, okay, you have to pay that over and the insurance company said, yeah, you're right, John was our man's fault. We're going to pay the limits here you go. And they settled up for 25,000. And so, the client was happy, but he still, was wondering why there wasn't enough insurance. And I told him that, well, that's all the other driver had and many attorneys could just end there, but we went the extra mile to then uncover more insurance for him.

And there were two other pieces to his case where we helped him enhance his $25,000 settlement. One was with his own insurance company, because he had an insurance product called pip, personal injury protection insurance. So that pip insurance under the injured man, the driver, my clients, policy paid his medical providers for the medical care that they gave him. That was for the injuries he suffered in the accident. And what a lot of people don't realize in the fine print of your insurance contract, you promised to pay back your insurance company out of any settlement you receive for the money that they paid to your doctors. And so in this case, it was a substantial amount of money. It was over $7,000 that they had to pay. And so of course that they would want to get paid back then out of the 25,000. However we pointed out to them that because his damages were so significant and when you added in what I told you about before, the general damages that insurance companies often forget about and here his own insurance company, the one for the man who was injured, they forgot about those two, cause I said to them, look, he's not made whole. He has not even recovered any general damages so you cannot now claim to be reimbursed for the amounts of money that you paid for his medical bills. And that's the law of our state. They thanked me for pointing that out to them when I wrote them a letter to the insurance company was in Arizona and they said, okay, fine, we're not going to ask that. He pay back the almost 70, over $7,000, that a, they were trying to collect from him. So that was canceled.

So now his settlement, you could say it was 25,000 plus the seven, 7,000 and some money that he didn't have to pay, but we still didn't end there because he also had another insurance product that he had bought. And paid for every month called Uim insurance under insured motorist insurance. And this is where it gets even better. And that I had fun with and why I like being an attorney, cause I know I really helped this man is his insurance company was a different department. It's kind of interesting cause it's a different department at the same insurance company then the one that wants to get paid the medical bills back. But now we went to the Uim department and they said, well yeah he does have Uim insurance and we've got your letters saying that he wasn't made whole and these were his damages. And so we're going to offer you $1,000 a thousand dollars more over and above the 25,000 had collected from the other insurance company in the 7,000 that are other department canceled. And we think that would be fair. And then I said, wait a minute, you gotta be kidding me. No, no, no, no, no. That's not fair. That's fair for you. But not fair for him. Look at it, look at what's happened to him. These are his general damages and these are the amounts of coverage you have to pay to him. The whole 25,000 of Uim Coverage, not a thousand year, 24,000 light and in your offer here. And it was kind of funny cause that was, I don't know what that person's position was, they were an adjuster, but then I wrote, that was on Thursday. And then I wrote him a letter on a Friday and I pointed out to them what they were doing and how it was wrong and it wasn't supported by the facts of the case and was in fact illegal because that was their insured person, that they had a duty to defend and act in their best interest of the injured person, not the insurance company. And I think it got escalated to another level because then, Monday they responded and said, yes, sorry, we're wrong. You're right. Here's the $25,000. So now he's up to, you could do the math at 25 and the 25 and this is about a 72. So now he went from 25 to 57,000. So that was a recent success story and we'd like to do that for you.

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