Q: My daughter was in an accident, 3 weeks ago, her lawyer is stating that medical costs being left open is not a thing.
My Daughter was in an accident in GA. She is currently dealing with 2 fractured discs in her back, a fractured elbow and blurry vision. Her lawyer is stating that there is a $130k pool for the 3 occupants and that medical being left open for future issues related to this " Is not a thing" is that correct? The other driver was cited and is at fault for running a red light. Also, the money being left for her will not cover medical bills and future therapy. Does this sound correct? Thank you
A: Your lawyer is correct. Following an accident, the insurance company will make one payment to settle your daughter's case. Out of that one payment by the insurance company, all expenses will need to be paid including attorney's fees, cases expenses, outstanding liens, medical bills, etc. There is no such thing under Georgia law for "keeping the medical open."
In terms of the underlying settlement, it sounds as though the insurance limits are insufficient to compensate everyone who was hurt. Sadly, that is not uncommon.
I am very sorry about your daughter. Under GA Law each insurance holder has specific insurance limit amounts that can be paid out by the at fault driver depending on their coverage. Typical GA limits are 25/50, 100/300 and so forth which means 25k for an individual per accident up to 50k for total accident coverage. The pool of money will be distributed amongst all plaintiffs based upon their pro rata share of bodily injuries. These fund are separate from the property damage portion.
if you daughter has uninsured motorist insurance UM) or anyone within her household carries it, she could use that as additional funds. There may also be some medpay to look into.
The insurance policy is only obligated to pay out its limits unless you can show further negligence or bad faith within the accident at which case you can proceed to trial and attempt to get a verdict for more.
If your daughter has health insurance she can treat under her insurance. Please make sure she gets the care that she needs.
A: Unfortunately, this appears to be a case where there is not enough insurance to cover all losses. This happens more often than not. Your attorney should be able to get the medical bills negotiated down to leave her with some funds.
Once you settle a case, you cannot go back and ask for more should something arise in the future. Does your daughter have uninsured motorist coverage on her vehicle? This may provide her with some additional coverage for her claims.
A: I generally agree with the other attorneys who have answered this question. However, some attorneys and law firms are better at sniffing out insurance policies than others. It may not shock you to learn that some TV attorneys, who shall go unnamed here, do less work than others when investigating the available insurance. It bears stating that you need an experienced personal injury attorney who has been practicing for over a decade in this area of law, can explore bad-faith insurance claims, and who is willing to go to trial.
A: Great question and I am sorry to hear about your daughter. However, her attorney is likely talking about the available insurance equals $130K to be shared by all those injured in the accident by the at fault driver. Should you all choose to settle then each person would receive proceeds from the insurance which is capped at $130K. So her attorney would be correct in what he told her. Regarding medical being left open, there is no possibility of this once settlement proceeds are distributed.
Given the severity of her injuries and the prospect of future medical expenses, a lawsuit would be a better course of action because she would be able to sue well over in excess of the $130K insurance cap. Especially it there are some aggravating circumstances (ex: at fault driver left the scene of accident, was under the influence, or driving on suspended licenses) then punitive damages could come into play which would ultimately increase the amount money the jury awards you.
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