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Tug_Kitten

Auto Accident - Low Settlement Offer

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In March 2013 my husband was in an auto accident.  He was exiting the driveway from my place of employment and making a left turn.  The street he was turning onto is usually pretty busy in the morning and there is another "main" street to the right with a stop light so traffic sometimes gets backed up.  There are three lanes, a center "turn" median (for turning into the driveways for the Home Depot across the street) and then three more lanes.  The cars waiting for the light had left an open space for my husband to exit and make his left turn.  There were no cars coming on the opposite side of the street.  A woman proceeded to exit the long line of traffic and enter the center turn median to proceed up to the turn pocket for the light ahead (more than 200 feet away) and struck him.  The police were called but said if there were no injuries to exchange information and call insurance companies.So, they did. About 2 to 3 days later he began feeling pain in his neck, shoulder and back. He procrastinated, but I finally got him to go to the doctor.  They did x-rays, gave him some medications and sent him to physical therapy. The doctor also had him do a couple of MRI's.  Our insurance company paid us for the medical bills and we sent the same bills to the other person's insurance as well. There was a question about fault so there was some sort of arbitration/mediation meeting and according to our insurance the decision was set at 60/40 in our favor.  Now the other insurance finally came to us with an offer last week.  They decided that the accident was 50/50 fault and gave us a very low settlement offer (lees that what our insurance company even paid us for the medical bills).  They said that they believe that after looking at the medical diagnosis and billing that the injuries were mostly degenerative issues caused from aging, etc. and not related to the accident.  I do not believe that is the case and we are wondering if there's anything we can do about a better settlement.

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there was some sort of arbitration/mediation meeting

 

Arbitration and mediation are two very different things.  I'm not sure if you know exactly what you're talking about here, but I certainly don't, and that makes a big difference.

 

 

 

according to our insurance the decision was set at 60/40 in our favor.  Now the other insurance finally came to us with an offer last week.  They decided that the accident was 50/50 fault and gave us a very low settlement offer (lees that what our insurance company even paid us for the medical bills).  They said that they believe that after looking at the medical diagnosis and billing that the injuries were mostly degenerative issues caused from aging, etc. and not related to the accident.  I do not believe that is the case and we are wondering if there's anything we can do about a better settlement.

 

A settlement is an agreement between the parties to a dispute to resolve that dispute.  If the other insurer is offering a settlement that you don't like, you're obviously free to reject it and ask for something more.  Without knowing the specifics about the "arbitration/mediation meeting," it's tough to tell you much beyond that.  It's also worth pointing out that you said your own insurance had paid the medical bills, so it's not clear exactly what the concern is.  If, in fact, your insurer paid all of the bills, then any recovery for those bills will go to the insurer, not you.

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pg1067,

 

I checked my paperwork and our insurance carrier sent us a letter saying that they would be doing an arbitration with the other insurance company to come to an agreement on fault. Our adjuster told us that the finding was 60/40 but he was curious to see if the other company would hold to that.  Our insurance did pay us for the medical bills, but we have it as part of our policy that the medical payments are to be reimbursed to them upon settlement of the claim.  So, right now we are looking at paying back our insurance company with the settlement offer plus another $200.00 and coming away with nothing for pain & suffering, etc. It just didn't make sense to me because I had also been in an accident before and had the same basic medical issues (neck, shoulder pain, went to physical therapy) and there is about a $12,000.00 difference in the settlement offers.  I understand that the arbitration found fault of 60/40 and my accident was 100% the other parties fault so that would make a difference, but just doesn't seem like it would be that much.  I don't know injury law though, so I may be totally wrong.  I do, however, know that I don't want to try to get a lawyer that would cost a lot of additional money if it's not worth trying for.

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I checked my paperwork and our insurance carrier sent us a letter saying that they would be doing an arbitration with the other insurance company to come to an agreement on fault.

 

Sounds like you're talking about an interinsurance arbitration, and that ultimately has nothing to do with you.

 

 

 

Our insurance did pay us for the medical bills, but we have it as part of our policy that the medical payments are to be reimbursed to them upon settlement of the claim.  So, right now we are looking at paying back our insurance company with the settlement offer plus another $200.00 and coming away with nothing for pain & suffering, etc.

 

You only have to reimburse your insurer to the extent you receive payment from the other party or his/her insurer for things that your insurer paid on your behalf.  Your insurer didn't pay you anything for pain and suffering, so that isn't part of the equation.  If you want that, you'll need to pursue it directly with the other driver's insurer or file a lawsuit.  However, if you're looking at a situation where fault is in the 60/40-50/50-40/60 neighborhood, suing isn't going to do you a lot of good -- especially if the other driver has comparable injuries, in which case the case would likely come out as a wash.

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I have a question.  I was involved in a car accident in which the other driver was at-fault.  I was stopped at an exit, and the other driver hit me in the back.  The insurance company offered a low settlement, and I took the case to small claims court.  I was not well-prepared.  The judgment was even lower than what the insurance company offered.  I wanted reimbursement for lost wages/lost overtime/travel/pain and suffering/mental anguish, but my documentation was rejected.  The other driver admitted guilt, but my inexperience and ill-preparedness was my undoing.  Considering I did not have all of the documentation at the Small Claims Court level, is it even feasible to try to get an attorney for an appeal?  The accident occurred in North Carolina, but I have since relocated to South Carolina.

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