It Is Six Months After My Rear End Collison: What Should I Do?
The question above is a good one, but a tad late. Let’s discuss whether it is too late.
If you took a small sum and signed a release of your injury claim, that’s it. It’s over, regardless of whether you have continued symptoms or treatment.
If you have limited medical insurance, or did not know you had medical payments, “med pay” coverage, and therefore decided to “gut it out”, and have received little treatment in spite of lots of pain, it will be difficult to get back on track and document your claim, but you may be able to.
If you have not kept a diary of events such as missed work, missed vacations, inability to engage family and friends, and inability to perform usual activities, you have work ahead reconstructing that information. It is much better to record that stuff as it happens. But, I stress that it may not be too late.
If you have not retained competent counsel, you must do so immediately. The title of this article assumes you have not hired counsel and that time is running out.
But, (you ask) “I thought I had up to two years?” Correct, but your tortfeasor may have moved away or died. Eyewitnesses may become unavailable. The accident scene can change. The police officer’s memory can fade.
There are so many reasons to set aside your preconceptions and talk to an honest, experienced, professional, personal injury attorney.
While I expect to be hired once you realize that my goal is not to sue someone, that decision is your after we chat. I am used to keeping costs down, working on my relationship with adjustor, gathering information (the puzzle pieces) and a standard, orderly, manner, and submitting a detailed, well organized, comprehensive demand package.
As I write this article, today I settled a clear fault case, $21,000 in medical damages, relatively minor scarring of a forehead, for $80,000 cash and a waiver of the non-fault insurance carrier’s “subrogation claim”.
What does that mean?
- It means instead of 1/3rd , my fee is just 1/5th of any sums received. That’s $12,500 instead of $20,000, the “standard fee” of many lawyers in our area.
- It can be 1/4th if we first argue over liability.
- It may be 1/3rd if a suit has to be filed.
- But, many cases can be resolved because fault is clear, and the insurance company ready to save legal fees and risk by paying a reasonable settlement.
- It also means that the client gets to keep over $60,000 of “cold cash”, most of which is not taxable!
- When you factor in litigation costs, risk, delay, and higher contingent fees, that $80,000 settlement is as good as a verdict of $150,000 two years from now. The client gets to keep just as much, and gets it sooner.
Why did I ask the question in the title? Because, if you have a valid claim, and still have not settled or hired competent counsel, you probably still have time, but it is rapidly running out. Call me soon, or perhaps regret it for life.
Of course, if you or yours becomes injured, you know I am here and that I believe you should call and become informed.
Either way, do not assume “common sense” is the solution. You simply do not know how to document your claim or negotiate settlement. You have no clue how to gather “lay witness letters” or how to use them.
The insurance adjustor knows that you are adversaries. He or she may be a good person, but they are overworked, and they get no incentive for paying more than the absolute minimum. Only if you demonstrate that you can go to court and get a robust verdict are you likely to settle for “full settlement value”. If the carrier thinks you will eventually take whatever it offers, you will not get its best offer.
Here’s hoping you have not and will not be injured, but that you give us a call if you are.
This post was written by Burton Hunter