Settlement Offer Too Low for Son's Injuries...

by NR

My son was hit by a car this summer. The medical bills from his injuries total about $12,500. The insurance company wants to settle for $22,000 total, and we'd have to pay the medical bills and attorney fees from there. I think the settlement offer is too low.

Can I make my lawyer not settle?

My son luckily has no definite scars. He did get a bad concussion which made it so he couldn't wake board or play football his senior year of high school. He has 'emotional' scars but barely noticeable 'physical' ones.

How would we get more money from the insurance company? Thanks for any recommendations you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Settlement Offer Too Low for Son's Injuries...":

NR (California):

You have posed two questions. The first is whether you can "make" your lawyer not settle your son's case. The second question you pose is how you would get more money from the insurance company.

There are two ways in which you can make your lawyer not settle and attempt to negotiate a higher settlement with the insurance company. The first would be to sit down with her and have a thorough discussion about the case, its merits, and the applicability and feasibility of filing a lawsuit.

The second manner in which you might have the lawyer not settle would be to fire your son's attorney. You have an absolute right to fire your attorney. If you do though you will have to either file a lawsuit yourself to protect your son's interest before the Statute of Limitations runs out, or find another personal injury attorney willing to accept the case.

For the relatively small amount of money in the settlement offer, it is unlikely another lawyer will accept the case. The main reason is your first lawyer's lien for fees which will follow the case. Inasmuch as your first lawyer is legally permitted to maintain her fees even if you change attorneys, your will find it virtually impossible to locate an attorney who would accept your son's case under those circumstances.

The answer to your second question about negotiating a higher settlement with the insurance company is this...

If you decide to fire your lawyer and attempt to negotiate a higher settlement on behalf of your son, you can be sure there is the possibility the insurance company may pull the settlement offer off the table. If that happens you and your son will be in serious trouble.

Our best suggestion at this point is to sit with your son's attorney and have a face to face discussion about the case.

You know the higher the settlement, the higher the attorney fees will be. Knowing that you can better believe your attorney is doing all she can to negotiate the highest settlement possible.

Best of Luck,

Law Guy

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