Can I get more than the policy limit?

by O
(Omaha, Nebraska)

I was sitting at a red light in Omaha, Nebraska in December 2012 when I was rear ended by a young man not paying attention. I went to the hospital after the accident because my back pain was severe. They did the basic x-rays, gave me some pain meds and sent me on my way. After that I went to a spine specialist and was found to have a bulging disc at the L5-S1.

After getting 3 different opinions from 3 different surgeons, they all concluded that spinal fusion surgery was necessary. They did the ALIF procedure (Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion) on me in June 2013. I do have a lawyer but I feel he is not fighting for me since the minimum coverage in the state of Nebraska is $25,000.

Of course the other driver's auto insurance released the full amount of his coverage because that is all he had. I still question how you can have minimum coverage on a 2012 Honda Accord, but that's for another time. My lawyer is not pushing for any pain and suffering claim, and also my health insurance is an ERISA plan so they get to take the liberty to my under-insured motorist coverage as well.

I guess my main question is, should we look into another attorney who is willing to push a pain and suffering claim, or just take what is leftover after my health insurance has deducted their costs from my under-insured insurance? Also, if this case is qualified for pain and suffering what could it be worth? Thanks for your time.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Can I get more than the policy limit?":

O (Omaha, Nebraska):

It is our policy at not to interfere with the attorney-client relationship. To do so would be improper. I don't have access to your file or the to the legal documents your attorney has filed, as well as any responses which may have been made.

Because of the limited amount of insurance available, your attorney may just be fighting to get "policy limits." If so, it really doesn't matter whether he or she is calling part of the limits "pain and suffering." The only option after getting the policy limits is to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver personally.

You always have the right to dismiss your attorney and retain a new one. The problem you may have is if you do retain a new attorney your present attorney will likely have a lien on the case for his or her legal fees. That could severely limit the amount of money you eventually get.

Your best bet would be to sit with your attorney face to face and ask her the same questions you are asking us. There's really no reason for you to be seeking answers from anywhere else.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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TYPE OF ACCIDENT
AUTO ACCIDENT
PERSONAL INJURY
WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDICAL ERROR
YES! I WANT FAIR COMPENSATION