Thank you, Ken.
Please understand how this works. Once someone hits you and they have insurance, the insurance is liable for the judgment that you'd get against the driver if you sue them (in limited amount, but usually pretty high). Ergo, to avoid paying out huge sums from a judgment where their driver 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. So their request to "deduct" anything is simply a way for them to minimize how much they pay out. And remember, statute of limitations
usually only gives you a limited time to file suit, which is three years for personal propery damage per N.Y. Civ. Prac. L. & R. §214
. They know this; they hope you do not. If you miss the three year 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.They
should cover all tow and storage, because they are liable for the payout if you sue their driver.
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.
May I recommend the NY 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.
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