How is compensation figured from the insurance payout?
My 15 year old daughter was a passenger in the at fault driver's car in an accident. The driver rear-ended another vehicle going at a high rate of speed. My daughter was the only one injured. I have 2 questions...
1) If the insurance pays out only $15,000.00 per injured, does that mean after the lawyer and medical bills get paid off (it comes out of that $15,000.00) she can still get compensation for pain and suffering, or does the $15k include the pain and suffering?
2) When I arrived at the scene of the accident, the first thing that the paramedic said to me was that all had been drinking. The driver was not given any field sobriety tests, nor was it even documented on the accident report.
The driver also had taken Xanex prior to the accident, was late going home (her parents told her if she was late she'd lose her car for a time), got mad, started speeding and rear-ended another car. So with paramedic stating that to me, why would police fail to test her and/or arrest her, or even give a ticket?
The driver went out the same night and is stilling popping pills and drinking, and her parents don't have a clue. She didn't learn anything from this wreck, appears to be getting away with it, and will be the one who causes someone else to lose their life because she didn't get the repercussions she so much deserved.
Can the police department be liable for this error in reporting? Don't the medical people and police officers together have to note all of this? It looks to me like the police dropped the ball on a very serious matter. What can be done about this?
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ANSWER for "How is compensation figured from the insurance payout?":
Cheryl (Goodyear, AZ):
In most cases, when an insurance company offers a settlement to a victim in a personal injury claim, the amount offered is meant to cover the victim's damages.
In car accidents, damages can include medical, dental and therapy bills (including diagnostic tests), out of pocket expenses (for such items as medications, slings, crutches, wheelchairs, etc.), lost wages, and for pain and suffering.
In your daughter's claim, the amount of $15,000 is meant to cover all of the above damages.
It is curious the responding police officers did not administer a Field Sobriety test, especially as the paramedics mentioned "all had been drinking." A police officer has discretion in deciding when to administer a field sobriety test.
Have your daughter contact the police department and request a copy of the police accident report. In the report will be substantive information, including parties' names and contact information, witnesses, tickets issued (if any), a diagram of the location of the cars immediately before and after the accident, weather conditions, and more.
Read the police accident report to get a better idea of the circumstances of the accident and it's aftermath.
Police officers have a form of sovereign immunity. This means their actions and omissions exercised while performing their duties are protected from civil injury claims and lawsuits. The protection however, does not cover acts or omissions of officers which are grossly negligent, malicious, or which constitute willful or wanton negligence.
You've presented no evidence to support that the officer's actions or omissions were grossly negligent, malicious, or constituted willful or wanton negligence.
Sovereign immunity exists because if police officers had to worry about being sued or fired every time they exercised their duties, that might result in the officers being injured or killed, or that third parties might be similarly injured.
Contact the police department and ask to speak with the officer(s) who responded to the accident. Ask the officers to review with you and your daughter their reasons for not administering a field sobriety test, and other actions they took or failed to take at the scene.
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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