Dad was hit by a car crossing the street, insurance won't cover full settlement...
The driver's insurance company says the driver has a $250,000 policy, and after all medical bills are paid my Dad will get the balance. We believe the medical bills will be more that $250,000. He spent a week in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), a week in the Progressive Care Unit (PCU), and another 8 weeks in a rehab center.
Should we sue or just take what's left from the insurance policy after the medical bills are paid, if anything? What are our options to get a fair settlement for my father? Thank you for any information you can provide.
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ANSWER for "Dad was hit by a car crossing the street, insurance won't cover full settlement...":
Kimberly (Bremerton, WA):
There are some injury claims which can be adequately handled by an injured claimant. These claims are normally "soft tissue" injuries such as whiplash, back injuries, strains and sprains, minor burns, and similarly mild injuries.
Then they are the more serious "hard injuries." These can include bone fractures, head trauma, disfigurement, loss of body parts, 3rd degree burns, and similarly serious injuries. Hard injury cases almost always require expert legal representation.
From the extent of your Dad's injuries and the substantially long recovery time, there is no doubt but that your Dad has suffered greatly. If there was ever a case which deserved compensation for pain and suffering, your Dad's would be at the top of the list. Your Dad needs to immediately seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney.
At this point you have been told the policy limits are $250,000. While that may be true, you really don't know what other assets they driver may have which are attachable. Without a sharp attorney you won't know anything except what the driver's insurance company wants you to hear.
An experienced personal injury attorney can subpoena tax returns and other asset inventories, such as stocks, bonds, and other assets the driver may have and which you just don't know about.
Most reputable injury attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations. Moreover, once you decide to retain an attorney, he or she will likely accept the case on a contingency fee basis.
This means the attorney will not charge any legal fees until, and unless the attorney settles your Dad's case, or wins it at trial. At that time your Dad would be required to pay roughly about a third of the gross settlement or court award.
However, it appears you and your Dad have already put in a substantial amount of work dealing with the issues and the insurance company. If that's the case, you may able to convince a personal injury attorney to accept the case on a lower contingency fee rate. There is nothing wrong in negotiating legal fees. Attorneys are highly trained professionals, but they are also business people.
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,
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