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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 12806
Experience:  Attorney with significant personal injury experience
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Hi my name isXXXXX was in a car accident but I was a passenger

Customer Question

Hi my name isXXXXX was in a car accident but I was a passenger and I broke my left
Femur bone I had really bad injuries on my face my shoulder and my knees
I have no insurance what so ever. I am being offered 30, 000 but my bills are
66, 000. Is 30, 000 the only amount that I should get or is there more to fight.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. I am very sorry to hear about your rather serious car accident.

Can you please tell me whether the $30,000 offer is a "policy limits" offer, meaning that this is the maximum amount of coverage afforded through the at-fault party's insurance?

Do you have any sort of permanent scarring on your face? Are you still suffering from symptoms? How long ago was this?

I very much look forward to helping you on this matter.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The accident happen on march 19,2013. on that same day i had

surgery. I have scars on my knees, on my left side on my stomach

,on my left arm, one in my left upper eye and the big scar is the one caused by the surgeon. The attorney says that 30,000 is the limit.

I still suffer from pain on my leg.

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you very much for your reply.

The serious injuries that you describe are likely worth much more than the $30,000 you have been offered to settle. However, your attorney is correct that it is unlikely you will ever receive more than this amount.

If the at-fault party's insurance policy limit is $30,000, that is the maximum amount of money they are obligated to pay out on your claim. You are free to reject that offer and sue in civil court for the amount of your actual damages (likely in excess of $100,000, based on the facts you describe), but even if you obain a judgment in that amount, the insurance company will only have to pay you $30,000 and the rest you have have to recover from the at-fault driver in his personal capacity.

Most people don't have the money necessary to pay that sort of judgment sitting in a bank account, and if they did, they wouldn't be carrying such a minimal insurance policy (they'd want to protect their assets). So, generally when you try to go after an at-fault driver in his/her personal capacity, you will wind up with a judgment in your favor but no possible means of ever collecting on it.

Sure, it would be possible to garnish his wages and renew the judgment every ten years, hoping to collect it piece by piece, but civil judgments arising from claims for negligence (which is what this would be) are dischargeable in bankruptcy, so the driver could easily evade your collection efforts by simply filing a Chapter 7.

If your own driver was partially at fault, you may wish to see whether you can partially recover on your claim through his insurance company. They won't pay, though, unless you can demonstrate that your driver was partially negligent in causing the accident.

If you have your own car insurance, you may wish to check and see whether you have an uninsured motorist policy that covers you as a passenger. Then, you may be able to obtain partial compensation through your own insurance.

However, if there are no other sources of insurance from which you can recover, the chances of you ever seeing more than $30,000 are very slim. The at-fault driver's insurance company will make you sign a release of all claims against their insured before they will pay you anything, so you can't accept the $30,000 and then "try your luck" in court later. It's an all or nothing proposition, so if you decide to go to court, not only will you likely wind up collecting no more than the $30,000 which you are presently being offered, you will delay your receipt of that money until the case resolves, which may be months or even years.

All of this is to say that you are in an very unforutnate situation but that taking the policy limits offer may be within your best interest (remember, I am not your attorney and so cannot advise you what to do) because the other options will likely not result in you obtaining additional compensation and will only delay your receipt of the policy limits offer.

Your medical bills can be negotiated down and perhaps some not even paid at all because you have not been "made whole" for your loss and the law prioritizes your compensation for injuries ahead of reimbursement for most medical insurance providers.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.