Visitor Question

Will the insurance company fight me if the driver has a felony DUI hit and run?

Submitted By: Patrick (Oceanside, CA)

I am currently involved in a felony hit and run, DUI car accident recovery phase. He flipped my truck 3 times at 70mph, and my airbags didn’t deploy. I’m lucky to be alive, and my entire world is still upside down. It’s been 30 days since the accident, and they say I have 2 more months of physical therapy. I’m at zero fault.

The other driver blew a 0.3 blood alcohol, had drug paraphernalia, was on meth, fled the scene on foot (captured 200 yards away), left a female bleeding passenger in the car, had no drivers license, and according to his public Facebook, he’s a “white supremacist”.

To say my injuries are ‘soft’ seems insulting, given the pain I’m in, but by the chart they are technically soft injuries, so how would I know to demand 2x, 3x, or 4x the amount of medical bills? I want to be confident in the x# I demand so I don’t waste time.

My medical bills are reaching 20K, I have 2 more months of physical therapy to go, plus the psychologist. I can’t go back to work for a while.

Will the other vehicle’s insurance adjuster fight me, even though the driver will have a felony conviction? I worry that the settlement will take too long and I’ll lose even more. Any perspective you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Patrick,

Twenty thousand dollars in medical bills is rather high for a soft tissue injury. You are likely to run into a serious problem with the insurance company. If you had previously contacted an experienced personal injury attorney, she might have warned you about exceptionally high medical or therapy bills.

In most soft tissue injury claims, insurance companies will only pay a minimal amount. That amount is normally anywhere from 1 to 3 times the amount of medical or therapy bills. These payments are set out according to the insurance company’s internal guidelines. These guidelines are usually a reflection of previous settlement amounts, and compensation paid out by juries in soft tissue injury claims.

The driver’s reprehensible action is irrelevant at this point in your claim, it’s the injuries that count. The insurance company won’t be empathetic because the driver is a “bad guy,” even if he eventually becomes a convicted felon.

You may be in for a shock. Unfortunately, that shock may include your having to pay for the difference between the twenty thousand dollars in treatment, and the amount set out in the insurance company’s internal guidelines.

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

Best of luck,

Published: August 6, 2014

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