What’s my auto accident claim worth?
Sometimes you never know until it’s over, and as baseball legend Yogi Berra said, “it’s not over till it’s over.” With tears in her eyes, a dear tired lady asked that very question, “What’s my auto accident claim worth?”. I sighed before answering because, frankly, it did not look good. Even though her husband had a ton of medical bills, serious personal injuries, and permanent disability with impaired earning capacity, this was countered by surprise number 1. The other driver causing the accident had only a $25,000 insurance policy and was otherwise penny-less and thus judgment proof.
She hired our firm, and we locked into the case like a bulldog off the leash with a full investigation. We came up with lots of nothing. We looked for other potential defendants, but nothing. We looked for additional insurance, but nothing. My client’s husband had no insurance, so he did not have underinsured motorist coverage, again, a big fat nothing. So we sued, which I thought was a mistake. We served the defendant and hit surprise number 2; no answer was filed. So I filed for a default judgment.
Surprise number 3, at the hearing, the Judge declared the pain and suffering limits unconstitutional and entered judgment for over a million dollars! I filed a garnishment on the $25,000 liability insurance company and got surprise number 4; the insurance company didn’t answer! When insurance doesn’t answer a garnishment, they can be liable for the judgment. Finally, I got a surprising number 5, a lawyer from the insurance company called talking settlement. The settlement was subject to a confidential agreement. Nice. Sometimes the bear eats you; sometimes, you eat the bear.
An auto accident claim can be complicated, so here are five tips we give our clients to ensure they’re on the right track.
Get Guidance On Your Case
Tip 1: Buy as much car insurance as you can afford.
When you buy car liability insurance, you are insuring yourself. Sure, there is a liability policy to protect you if you are sued, but more critical for your family is underinsured motorist coverage if the other guy is underinsured. Also, buy as much Personal Injury Protection for your medical bills as you can afford, which will pay your medical bills immediately because it will take some time for the final claim to be resolved. So buy a lot of insurance. Insurance agents just love me.
Tip 2: Take pictures.
Unfortunately, in the insurance world, there’s no such there as, “I’ll just take your word for it.” So pull out that cell phone and put it to work. Please take photos of your car, their car, their license plate, and the other drivers’ driver’s license. If the other vehicle has a business logo, take a picture to prove the other driver was on the job because that involves their employer’s insurance. Then, kick your photo to video mode and ask the other driver why they hit you. But please, no selfies.
Tip 3: If you get a bill in the mail, hang on to it.
You may forget the name or address of the medical provider. Hang on to the bills, and bring them to us so we can make sure the bills get paid. Also, bringing us the bills helps us know where you got your treatment, the dates of treatment, and where to order your records. It’s all on the bill. There are ways to find that information, but the easiest way is to have you bring in the statement.
Tip 4: Don’t post your auto accident photos on Facebook.
I know you are excited and used to posting on social media, but don’t; your comments will be viewed by the insurance company and can be taken out of context and hurt your auto accident claim. So don’t post comments, photos, or other information on your social media about your accident. However, bring us the photos. Although we don’t want selfies, we want pictures of your injuries and videos showing your disability.
Tip 5: Don’t be upset if I can’t take your auto accident claim.
With 40 years of experience, we are in demand and can’t take all the cases. Let not your heart be troubled; don’t despair; call us anyway. If we can’t take the case, we will refer you to a lawyer that can take the case. We will give you the lay of the land and point you in the right direction. We will provide you with a free copy of my book.
You’ve Been Injured In An Accident. What Now?
Our free book gives you the legal guidance you need to make smart and well thought out decisions and make sure you’re not losing thousands of dollars.
Tip 5b: Get a copy of my book.
That’s right; I wrote the book on auto accidents, “Every Persons Guide to Saving Thousands of Dollars: Your Auto Accident Claim.” It’s free, absolutely free, and you get to find out:
- How You Can Save Thousands Of Dollars.
- A Free Self-Assessment That Will Help You Decide If You Need A Personal Injury Lawyer.
- The Least You Need To Know If You Will Handle Your Own Claim.
- Why you should not sign a Release of Liability right away.
- The Most Common Mistakes that Can Cost You Thousands.
- Questions to ask yourself or the lawyer before you sign?
- (And my favorite) What others are saying about Patton and Patton
If you are not injured, I wrote a second book for you on DIY (Do It Yourself) Property Damage Auto Accident Claims.