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scammed804

HELP!! Are We Getting Scammed By Our Attorney and Defendant's Insurance?

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10-13-2016 Thursday  - Story of Car Accident - 18 year old reared end us in 12/2013.  It was the interstate where she was driving down the middle of the highway hit us from behind to flip the car to the right side landed on the roof in the ditch.  She told us she was going home from working at a local small restaurant.  Facts are the police gave her a following too close ticket.  The police report states she was going 80mph in a 70 or 65 mph zone.  The police never took pictures, nor got witnesses that were around us at the scene, nor took alcohol test.  She looked at us while holding her cell phone.  We think this is a distracted driver on the cell phone accident. Our attorney acts like he is working for the other side and not us?  Why?  It all looks like a scam now.  No one in the beginning explained what we were signing.  We always met with the paralegal not the attorney.  Instead of being truthful about our case they should have told us what the claim was worth in dollars, should have advised us to stop seeing doctors if they knew the value of the claim, but let the 2 years drag out so that the medical facilities had time to place liens, allowed my disability payment to run out in 2 years, watched us drain our own 100,000 dollars to zero dollars now as we pursued finding our accident injuries only because medical student university said they could only work on one body part at a time, paralegal told us that the value was 350,000 and husband was worth 1 million, now told the policy value is only 100,000 each.  Husband's medical bills total 61,000 estimate.  Attorney fee is probably 33 and 1/3 percent.  We were told that we can't file bankruptcy because attorney told us he would drop the case and he would get nothing a zero settlement.  It appears he may get a kickback from medical facilities as like those attorney's who collect delinquent bills and even a kickback to low ball us with defendant's insurance adjuster.  And I am sure there might even be a paper we signed that might pertain to a lien to the settlement if we ever  thought of backing out of the deal!  Is there a way to get rid of the attorney now?  And if we do get rid of the attorney do we forfeit losing settlement money and statue of limitations.  The date of the accident was 12/26/2013.  Today is 10/13/2016.  I see where the insurance companies and the attorney's have it all figured out like a scam!  The medical bills and the attorney fees eat all of the settlement money up!  What do we do now?  Can we still file bankruptcy?  Can let go of this bad attorney?  Do we lose the settlement money because of the statue of limitations?  Do we cut our losses and move on?  Can we later file an attorney malpractice?  Can we later file medical malpractice for the Physician Assistant telling us they can only work on one body part at a time?  Even though the accident was in Virginia our home address is in another state.  Should we file bankruptcy in Virginia or our state of residence by our drivers license?  What do we do now?  It also appears the attorney let all the time run out but to let us know it's either settle out now or go to court where they can only get the limit of the policy for 100,000 and no more which he explained would eat up the settlement money in court cost.  And is there any way to find out from the insurance adjuster the true value of the policy?   We relied upon what we thought was a truthful attorney as in you know to put your trust into someone who knows the laws.  Our attorney even told my husband that the orthopaedic doctor we saw that we liked and very honest to us yet told our attorney that there was not much damage from the original damage.  My husband's orthopaedic doctor told us that he could see that the body part tore out more as a result of the accident.  Even though my husband was not working at the time he did plan on going back to work at a later date but because of the accident which limits him to work was never considered an item in the settlement.  My husband continues to have medical problems because of the accident.  And the attorney told us that the 18 year old had 100,000 policy.  What 18 year old can afford a 100,000 policy?  We are betting the 18 year old was on the parents policy!  How can we ever find out the actual value of the policy!  You see many things we have been told so far by this attorney and his paralegal do not add up!  Please advise us the best course of action to take now!  Thank you for any help given to our situation today on 10-13-2016 - Thursday!!  P.S. By the time they pay everything off there will be nothing left of the insurance adjuster's offer of only 80,000 to 82,000.  Final question is if the value is 100,000 why not pay all of it to us???  And the attorney also told it did not matter if she was on the cell phone because the defendant's insurance accepted fault.  We were also told the insurance has not acted out of bad faith either!  PLEASE HELP US!!!  Our age is 61 and 59 years old.  When we signed in the beginning the client attorney documents I can tell you our minds were fuzzy and still fuzzy to this day from the car accident!!  Makes us want to sue our attorney for our being incompetent when signing their documents!
 Also, do I need to get out of my lawsuit with this company?  Or can we leave all this hanging in mid-air and do nothing?  What happens then?  
IF this were to go to court in Virginia can the jury and the judge force the insurance company to pay over the limits of the policy?  Our attorney told us that the courts can only get the limits of the policy for only 100,000?  Is our attorney right or wrong on this point?  

Alot of husband's medical bills were paid by medicare which now has lien on them we were told by our attorney!  We're pretty sure all medical bills have lien on them now only because our attorney was working behind the scenes rather against not for us.

Attorney gave us a copy of what we signed about if we go bankrupt we get nothing from the insurance company!

How do we get rid of this attorney now?  Or should we get rid of this attorney?
 

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I only read the top third of your post.  I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one on TV but your story seems to indicate that you were hit by a young woman in another vehicle, as opposed to being hit by a semi.  The reason I point that out is that commercial truck drivers generally carry more liability insurance than the rest of us so it's possible you might have had a bigger settlement from a commercial carrier than you would an ordinary automobile insurance policy if your damages justified it.  No attorney would be able to tell at the outset what the value of your case would be, because it would depend on a lot of things, like the extent of your injuries, the length of your treatment, the length of time you were not able to work, any preexisting medical conditions you had, etc.  A paralegal should not be telling clients what she believes the value of their case to be.  It takes a lot of time to develop a personal injury case because the attorney has to obtain the medical records from the emergency room, all of the doctors you treated with, your physical therapy records, investigative reports, etc.  Do you carry underinsured motorist coverage?  What does your retainer agreement say about firing the attorney?  Are you still responsible for his costs (to obtain your medical records, etc.)?  How do you "pursue accident injuries"?  If you carry health insurance, presumably that insurance is paying for most of your medical treatment--is it not?  Why are you treating at teaching hospitals?  The way settlement offers work in my state, any settlement offer you get is subject to first paying back the attorney for his costs, then deducting his attorney fee and any medical liens.  The net amount would go to you.  As far as predicting what a judge will do, no one can say with certainty what will happen but even if you obtain a huge judgment against the other driver, she would have to be collectible.  Did you have an independent medical examination?  If so, what did the doctor say about the extent of your injuries and your recovery?  I would ask the attorney for a complete copy of my file.  Did he obtain interrogatories from the other driver?  If so, did he share those with you?  There are just too many unanswered questions here to be able to respond to all of this.

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No, he did not share any interrogatories with us.  He has been working to settle this out of court!  You did a job to cover most of all the questions asked!  I have no idea who you are yet you don't practice law!  You are better at this than I.  I thought interrogatories were about a case that is going to  court!  Do they still get interrogatories if the case does not go to court?  Thanx!
 

Edited by scammed804
Strike out letter was on!

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16 minutes ago, scammed804 said:

 I thought interrogatories were about a case that is going to  court!  Do they still get interrogatories if the case does not go to court?

 

There's a difference between being "in suit" and "going to court." A lawsuit can be filed, discover can ensue (depositions and interrogatories) and a case might end up being settled without the need to "go to court" (trial), yet the lawsuit process continues even during settlement negotiations.

 

Rockme has done a nice job commenting on your post and I can probably add a few points but, before I do, clarify something for me.

 

Has a lawsuit actually been filed?

 

The Virginia statute of limitation for a personal injury lawsuit is 2 years so the lawsuit would have to have been filed prior to Dec 2015.

 

Don't rely on guesswork, your court websites should have a search feature where you can look up your own names.

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They got one of those delay to go to court.  There is a legal term for it but don't remember it!  I am sure you that legal term.  Where do I go to see if it got filed.  But if they delayed it then I won't be able to see if it was filed or not, right?

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Again, "go to court" and "lawsuit" two different things.

 

Once a lawsuit is filed with the court, many parts of the process can be postponed (continued) either by agreement of the parties or by court order. But until the lawsuit is filed, the statute of limitations keeps running.

 

If it was filed you should be able to see the docket (record of filings) on the court's website.

 

I'm not sure if it would be in the circuit court or district court but both should have case search features.

 

What county are you in?

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The case would go to Goochland!  I looked and it is not there!  But here is the website as you suggested but our names are not there!  Case Status and Information
http://www.courts.state.va.us/caseinfo/home.html

It is not in the Circuit or General District at all...

If it is not in court now then what?

Edited by scammed804
Forgot to add another comment on information!

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24 minutes ago, scammed804 said:

The case would go to Goochland!  I looked and it is not there!  But here is the website as you suggested but our names are not there!  Case Status and Information
http://www.courts.state.va.us/caseinfo/home.html

It is not in the Circuit or General District at all...

If it is not in court now then what?

 

Call up each court and ask the clerk to help find it using your names, the defendant name, and the lawyer's name.

 

If it's not in Goochland, does the defendant live in another county? It might have been filed there.

 

I find it hard to believe that any lawyer with half a brain would let it slide past the expiration of the SOL. If the lawsuit wasn't filed by the deadline in Dec 2015 it would be time barred and, without the ability to sue, there would be nothing to compel the girl or her insurance company to pay anything.

 

Keep checking.

 

 

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Are you saying it should already to have been filed in court by now?  If not, then what do we do?  Do have to pursue attorney malpractice then?  We were told the lawsuit was 350,000 for me and 1 mil for my husband by the paralegal.  We just found the value of the policy of an 18 year old which she probably was on her parents policy.  Even if he went to court he said the courts can not force the insurance company to pay more than what the policy limits are.  Is our attorney correct to say that?  Thank you for your help rockmehardplace and adjusterjack.......

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3 hours ago, scammed804 said:

Our attorney acts like he is working for the other side and not us?

 

Despite your use of a question mark, this sentence is not a question.  If you intended a question, it's not clear what you intended to ask.  Taken as a declarative statement, it's largely meaningless without relevant facts.

 

 

3 hours ago, scammed804 said:

Instead of being truthful about our case they should have told us what the claim was worth in dollars

 

Why is telling you "what the claim is worth in dollars" contrary to "being truthful"?

 

 

3 hours ago, scammed804 said:

should have advised us to stop seeing doctors if they knew the value of the claim

 

A lawyer has no business whatsoever advising clients about their medical treatment.  Moreover, the extent of medical treatment is one of the primary factors in determining the value of a case, so this statement doesn't even make sense.

 

 

3 hours ago, scammed804 said:

paralegal told us that the value was 350,000 and husband was worth 1 million, now told the policy value is only 100,000 each.

 

There's a difference between how much a case is worth and how much insurance coverage the defendant has.  The extent of the defendant's insurance coverage is of no relevance to how much a case is worth.  For most folks, however, the extent of insurance coverage effectively limits how much can be recovered, and that's not something your lawyer has any control over.

 

I basically stopped reading at this point (in any future posts, please make an effort to edit out unnecessary detail and use paragraph breaks).  Yes, you can file bankruptcy, but why would you?  Also, your attorney cannot legally dismiss your lawsuit without your authorization (although it's not clear whether one's been filed, and the SOL in Virginia is two years).  If you want to change your lawyer, you're free to do so, but there may be financial consequences.

 

 

1 hour ago, scammed804 said:

They got one of those delay to go to court.

 

I have no idea what this might mean.

 

 

20 minutes ago, scammed804 said:

Our accident settlement is getting eaten up with medical liens and attorney costs.

 

Well...what else would you use it for?  The primary purpose of a personal injury case is to obtain compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.

 

 

21 minutes ago, scammed804 said:

We will be left with nothing almost!

 

Reality check:  An overwhelming majority of persons lack the ability to compensate an injured party for significant injuries beyond the limits of their insurance coverage.  It's not clear if the dollar amounts you mentioned are beyond your own personal medical coverage.  However, if your medical bills and lost wages exceed the limits of the defendant's insurance coverage, and if the defendant has little or no ability to compensate you beyond her insurance coverage, then settling the case should be a no brainer.  While having something extra for "pain and suffering" might be nice, if you can get all of your medical bills paid, that's probably the best result you can expect.

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Is there a sneaky way to find out the policy limits on the defendant?  Does having the police report help to find out more info?  And our attorney never pursued getting any cell phone records either.  He told us it didn't matter.  We have been trying to find out if she was on her cell phone at the time from our attorney but so far he has never gotten cell phone records for us at all to prove she was on the cell phone.  We'd really like to know why this accident did happen to us.  And to find out about any traces of liquor is neel now.  Should have been done right away but the trooper never got that done either a blood alcohol test!  Wonder if we can sue the VA State Troopers for such a lame job!

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Oh, so we getting screwed now!  We come out of this deal having no money at all.  The paralegal and attorney could had told us how this outcome would be in the first place.  They settle such cases all the time.  I have had an accident attorney before and he did not pay my bills.  He collected the insurance settlement money and that was it!  Husband is not getting policy limits either with all the verified body parts injured by accident.  And of that amount the money pays the attorney first then the medical bills which they have had time for liens to be put into place while we wait thinking our attorney is looking out for our best interest.  I am thinking he gets a kickback for paying our bills like a lawyer bill collector and then he gets a nice chunk of it himself and we get left holding the bag with pitiful amount of what's left over of the money.  But thanx for your help adjusterjack!!

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8 minutes ago, scammed804 said:

Is there a sneaky way to find out the policy limits on the defendant?

 

No. Although I suspect your lawyer already knows what it is.

 

8 minutes ago, scammed804 said:

Does having the police report help to find out more info?

 

No.

 

8 minutes ago, scammed804 said:

 And our attorney never pursued getting any cell phone records either.  He told us it didn't matter.  We have been trying to find out if she was on her cell phone at the time from our attorney but so far he has never gotten cell phone records for us at all to prove she was on the cell phone.

 

It doesn't matter what she was doing when she hit you.

 

9 minutes ago, scammed804 said:

 We'd really like to know why this accident did happen to us

 

It happened because the other driver was negligent. That's the long and short of it.

 

10 minutes ago, scammed804 said:

And to find out about any traces of liquor is neel now.  Should have been done right away but the trooper never got that done either a blood alcohol test!  Wonder if we can sue the VA State Troopers for such a lame job!

 

No, because liquor wouldn't matter either.

 

She rear ended you, she's at fault, that's all you need to know. If you think that what she was doing the moment before she hit you will make any difference in the amount of dollars you're entitled to, it doesn't.

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Why is it any attorney's business to pay off our medical bills?  IT should not be!  Attorney does not know of our current financial business either but we did make him aware of our situation several weeks ago.  But  we spent money to get the facts of our injuries.  We should not come out of this mess as losers when we spent our own 100,000 to get answers!!  

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I found the answer I was looking for continually searching for it!  I am also a web writer.  And you can't sue someone if it is the truth with facts to back it up!  

 

Our attorney said because they made an offer it is not bad faith.  

 

Whoah!  But this law group I found said this of bad faith for this is the position we have been put into!

Yep, the below is us right now!  

 

  1. Forcing a claimant to sue and then settling the suit for far less than the claim is worth because of the dire financial need of the insured and the high cost of litigation; the carrier usually spends less in legal fees and expenses than the cost of interest on the money that it improperly refuses to pay out, and settles for less than what it should have paid to the claimant, so that the company is a net winner, and the insured and public are net losers.

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1 minute ago, scammed804 said:

Are you saying it should already to have been filed in court by now?  If not, then what do we do?  Do have to pursue attorney malpractice then?

 

If your attorney failed to file suit before the statute of limitations expired, then yes, that would be malpractice.  However, your statement that "[t]hey got one of those delay to go to court" suggests that maybe there was an agreement to toll the statute of limitations (i.e., to temporarily stop the clock) or extend it.

 

 

27 minutes ago, scammed804 said:

Even if he went to court he said the courts can not force the insurance company to pay more than what the policy limits are.  Is our attorney correct to say that?

 

Yes.  You sue the driver.  The insurance company is not a party, so the court has no jurisdiction to order the insurance company to do anything.  The insurance company owes duties to the insured/driver, not you.

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