How much should my father ask for?
My father was involved in a motor vehicle accident approximately six months ago. The other driver was 100% at fault. My father was taken to the ER by ambulance and spent two nights in the hospital, diagnosed with L2-L3 fracture. He was sent home on a walker and pain pills.
I took him back to the ER approximately five days later as he was unable to stand. He spent a week in the hospital and then was transferred to rehab for two weeks. At discharge from rehab he was ordered physical therapy and occupational therapy through home health. He was recently released from his neurosurgeon.
To date, his hospital bills are over $250,000. He has Medicare, which has paid part of the bills. He was informed yesterday that the hospital has filed a lien against him for the unpaid medical bills.
It is our understanding that the other driver's insurance will pay the medical bills, but do they only pay what Medicare doesn't pay? Is my father able to get anything beyond that amount? Also, as far as personal injury, and pain and suffering, how much should he ask for? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "How much should my father ask for?":
Rae (Tyler, Texas):
The amount of money you father is rightfully due from the negligent driver is at least $250,000. With that said, in Texas, the law requires drivers to carry the following minimum amounts of car insurance:
- $30,000 for injuries to one person
- $60,000 for injuries to two or more persons
- $25,000 for property damage
Unless the negligent driver carried higher limits, the maximum amount your father will be able to recover from the driver's insurance company is $30,000. With that said, if your father carried uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, he should be able to recover the maximum amounts of his coverage.
Your father also has a legal right to sue the driver personally for the remaining amount. If the driver has substantial assets, your father may be able to file suit and recover whatever legally unprotected assets the driver may have.
Because your father's medical bills now exceed $250,000, it would be entirely reasonable for your father to demand a settlement in an amount exceeding 1 million dollars.
When it comes to serious injuries like your father’s, handling the case without an attorney is totally inappropriate. Without an attorney, you can be sure the insurance company will offer the lowest amount possible to settle the claim.
That's because without an attorney your father has no leverage. What can he do? If he doesn't agree with the settlement offered by the insurance company the company will say take it or leave it.
Instead of waiting for that to occur, seek the advice and counsel of several personal injury attorneys in your area. Most will not charge for an initial office consultation. Be sure to bring along to the consultations copies of all your father's medical records, test results and bills, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, and lost wage verification (if applicable).
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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