Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight
delay between your follow ups and my replies.
I am very sorry for your mother's situation. First of all, please allow me to explain how this works and then we will discuss the claim itself.
If a transporter injures someone you they have insurance
for this, the insurance is liable for the judgment that you'd get against the driver if you sue the transporting company (in limited amount, but usually pretty high). Ergo, to avoid paying out huge sums from a judgment where their insured is likely responsible, the insurance company likes to settle the claim to avoid litigation
. Once an agreement is reached, you sign a release and waive your rights to sue in exchange for the payout.
But, how does one reach that settlement? The insurance adjuster. The adjuster's job is to make you miserable. They will ignore you, confuse you, and ask for redundant and seemingly needless paperwork in an effort to talk you into a small settlement or have you give up all-together. And remember, statute of limitations
usually only gives you a limited time to file suit, which is two years years per Civ. Proc. §335.1
. They know this; they hope you do not. If you miss the two years mark, you can no longer file against their driver, which means they do not even have to work with you.
What they are offering should at least cover:
1) all medical bills;
2) all bills for vehicle repair;
3) missed work; and
4) pain and suffering.
Not that they have to
, but because they know that you'll at least get that in Court. The last one (pain and suffering) is the wild card, and there is where they will try to avoid paying much.
An attorney usually cuts through this malarkey since the adjuster knows counsel does not put up with this and WILL file suit if needed (whereas here, they do not see you as much of a threat without an attorney since you filing or winning a suit without counsel is unlikely). Then a settlement is usually reached. The attorney should take this on a contingency basis, meaning they do not get paid unless you do. Usual set up is their take is 33% settlement, 40% win at trial, 45% at appeal; plus some office costs. Everything is negotiable.
Now, if you wish to attempt to try negotiation with the company yourself, you can, but the company (or the insurance company) may not take you seriously as explained above.
Regardless, to begin a claim, one sends a letter to the company that threatens civil action
unless they engage in negotiation and finishes up with a request to pass it on to their insurance company. Then, expect the insurance company to contact you.
(I have just noticed that it was your mother injured and I have been writing "you" all this time - my apologies, but of course, the answer stands as is with her as well).
Sample letter:To Whom It May Concern:
This correspondence is in regards XXXXX XXXXX injury suffered by _______ due to your driver’s reckless driving on ________.. At that time, (explain what happened).
As direct negligence of your employee, _____ suffered and continuous to suffer from a number of injuries, specifically:
It was necessary for _______ to receive treatment from ____ due to her injuries. Enclosed, please find:
1. Medical records from _____ including overall diagnosis and treatment history for her injuries resulting from the accident; and
2. Itemized bill from _______.
Notice is hereby legal action unless our demand for full compensation for ___ is met. At this time, the claim may be settled for $____________, including her physical pain (past and future), mental anguish (past and future), physical impairment (past and future), medical expenses (past and future), and lost wages, provided disposition of this matter can be made by (date).
If disposition of this matter is not reached as by said date, we may seek relief in court of law as needed. If your company has an insurance policy, it may be wise to pass it on to them at this point.
But again, using an attorney is best. May I recommend the CA Bar referral program - here
. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.
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