Uninsured claim settlement

by mvtim » Sat Aug 04, 2007 01:40 am
Posts: 2
Joined: 04 Aug 2007

Does anyone out there have experience with settling an uninsured (hit and run) claim. The insurance company gave us fair value for the car which was totaled, but they want to settle the injury/missed work/pain&suffering/etc. part and I'm not sure what is a fair amount. I'm not looking to make money, only get what is typically paid out in these settlements. Any help is appreciated.

Total Comments: 12

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 06:53 am Post Subject: fair value of the car

Hi there, ‘fair value' of the car implies the market value of the car minus depreciations. I feel that you need to re-read your policy document to understand what it covers. The policy document must have listed-out the perils 'covered' and 'not-covered' by the insurance. If it has excluded the personal injuries and pain and suffering, then you are not likely to receive any compensation for these. However, you can also consult an attorney to get a fairer view on this matter.


Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 07:38 am Post Subject:

Hello mvtim,

Personal injuries and loss of income are likely to be covered under the Uninsured Motorist's Coverage. Therefore, it is strange on the part of your insurer to deny the claim. You need to seek legal help on this matter.

Apart from this, try to collect the contact details of the hit-and-run driver. Take photograph of the accident and save all the necessary documents (medical bills, repairing estimates). It will help you to establish the extent of the damages in case you succeed in filing a claim on the at-fault party's insurance.

Hope this information will be of some help.

Take care,

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 08:51 am Post Subject: Uninsured Motorist Claim

Hi mvtim,

It is little difficult to quantify the ‘fair amount' for the pain and suffering. This is probably the toughest decision the insurer has to make during a claim settlement procedure. Actually, there is no fixed formula or table to determine the ‘fair amount'. Many factors contribute towards its computation. If you can establish it through sympathetic witness and documents that your degree of suffering was more, you may likely get bigger amount form the insurer. Rufus

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 04:56 pm Post Subject:

Juanita, the OP states that his carrier _is/has_ paid for the damage to the vehicle. They are also not in the process of addressing the OP's injuries under UMBI. So I don't see any issue of coverage. Collision addresses the damage to the vehicle and UMBI addresses the OP's injuries.

Fatman, as mentioned above, there was no mention of a denial... the OP is simply stating that the damage to the vehicle was addressed and now the insurance company wants to settle the injury.

OP, as Rufus mentioned, there is no "chart" or schedule on what an injury is worth. There are many factors but some of the major ones are; nature of the injury itself, time and extent of recovery, loss wages (present and future) and geographies of where the accident happen.

If it's a very minor injury, you may want to settle it yourself. If there was a major injury and loss wages... and I almost hate to say this... you may want to consider seeking the service of an attorney. This of course will reduce the amount of money you get by 1/3. Which is why I recommend just settling yourself if it's a relatively minor injury, say... under $10k. To qualify this, if the claim is worth around $10k, there is not much room for movement. So it's less likely that an attorney could boost the settlement more then $3k above what the carrier would have paid to you anyway.

There is a big difference between a broken legal and a sprained wrist. You don't mention any details of the injury or what state you live in so no one can really comment on a settlement range. What should be considered are all your medical bills, wages loss (present and future), possible future medical treatment and "pain and suffering".

As you are unrepresented, the adjuster should really make you the initial offer. This is like selling or buying a car... no one should accept the first offer 8) . It's a starting point for negotiations. If the adjuster has all the correct medical information, that offer should at least be in the ball park but you should certainly counter with an amount higher then what you think the claim is worth but I'd not recommend you counter with $20 million or something crazy. This tends to shut down serious negotiations.

You also don't need to settle at this time if you don't want. If your still treating, you can wait. If you want a month or two, feel free to let the adjuster know this. The adjuster has an obligation to move the claim forward and settle it but it's also in the adjusters best interest to settle before anything more happens regarding your injury.

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 11:37 pm Post Subject: Thanks all for the advice

Thank you all for the good advice. To provide a little more information, the accident occured on the 5 freeway in Anaheim, Ca. The injuries to may wife and daughter were whiplash related (stiff backs/sore necks, etc.), no serious injuries, but she was was too freaked out to drive the 50 mile freeway commute to work for a couple of weeks. If any of you have ever been in a serious high speed accident like ours (rearended hard enough to total your car when you're already going 70 MPH and being spun around in the middle of a fairly busy freeway) you understand how shocking it is. If we caught the idiot that did this, I would get a Larry H. Parker type lawyer and go after the guy. But since it is my insurance company, I just want what is fair. My wife has spent alot of time away from work and at the chiropractor. After posting the original, we got a settlement letter from the company. They have paid ~3K in Chiro bills and are offering $6500 for settlement. We are going to try and calculate lost wages, but since my wife works part time, the amount will most likely less than the $6500. Any other thoughts? Thanks again for the inputs. Tim

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 05:31 am Post Subject:

Hi mvtim,

I would like to know, what is the total amount you are receiving from the insurance company?

Is it, $6,500 (for loss of wages) + $3,000 (towards chiropractic) + An amount X for the totaled car

Please correct me if I have got it wrong. It will help me to reply you in a better way.


Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 06:19 am Post Subject: Don't go with their adjuster!

My friend, you have to remember that it is natural for any adjuster to force you towards accepting a check reflecting any amount that safeguards their business interests. They may also try to prevent you from visiting n attorney!

But on that occasion you would need to think twice before you sign any release that may disrupt your right of obtaining a fair recovery. In case you decide to consult an attorney, he would rather explain you why your accepting a settlement check may stand against your chances of obtaining any extra payments from the at-fault party or his insurer. Thats why, I feel your case needs the careful attention of an experienced attorney.

In case you don't wish to go for an attorney, you'd just need to visit any of the proactive Law firms, who might help you pursue your claim for just a nominal fee which would be adjusted with the amount that this firm would realize from the at-fault party or his insurer (on your behalf). The best thing about this process is that the firm can't charge you a single penny unless they recover your dues from the other party (You'd just need to support them with the court-filing fees & witness fees). Hope this one works well for you!

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 08:45 pm Post Subject:

You won't find an attorney to take a nominal, non-commission fee with no payment up front... period. You will find two types of billing... 1) an attorney who will handle the settlement for 1/3 of the recovery and won't charge anything up front, or 2) an attorney who will handle the settlement for an hourly charge (probably at least $100/hour) and would require a down payment and a signed contract that he/she would get paid regardless of settlement. So really, about the only option is to pay an attorney 1/3 of the settlement.

How you want to handle it is up to you but consider this... let's just say the offer _above_ the medicals is $6500. That means even if an attorney can increase the settlement to $10,000, he/she will take $3,300 off the top, leaving you with $6,600... pretty much what you had anyway. Trust me... on a $6000 settlement, it would be _extremely_ unlikely that the insurance company would increase their offer by 50% of they knew of all the medical bills and loss wages.

If you don't use an attorney I'd recommend you consider the following:

Make sure the adjuster has _all_ the medical bills. This is very important and many times they don't. You need to go over this info with the adjuster and see if any bills are missing. I understand your wife's reluctance to drive to work for awhile but this would only hold a little weight unless she sought treatment for emotional distress. Several weeks is a little long. But again, it _should_ be brought up... but I think you'd be lucky if the adjuster considered just the loss wages during that time. Time away from work to "recover" and seek medical treatment would certainly be considered and I'm betting she was too sore for a week or so after the accident to go to work. I think $6500 to include the medical bills and loss wages is too low. Medical bills were $3000, loss wages might be $1000, future possible medical treatment might be $700, bringing the actual loss to $4,700. I'd _guess_ and say this claim should be settled around $8000. So you might want to ask for $10,000 or so. Carrier gives a little, you give a little, they tell you they can't move any more, you mention that you think it's worth what you asking and you feel a attorney would settle for more but you understand the attorney would keep 1/3 of the settlement. Here is the kicker... time is on your side! Adjusters want to settle and close claims. They don't want to monitor these claims, have their supervisors push them to close the claim, and have to keep looking at the claim every month. The more time that goes by, the more willing they might be to throw another $500 on the claim.

What you need to do is to be calm, rational, and very polite. Many people don't realize this but 99.9% of attorneys are _extremely_ nice to adjusters. The attorney knows it's the insurance company paying his/her bill and there is no reason to piss the adjuster off.

You then also have your daughters claim but that sounds relativly minor.

Posted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 11:02 am Post Subject:

I agree 100% with the prior post (tcope), and disagree with, .ArindamSenIndies statement that '' it is natural for any adjuster to force you towards accepting a check " that is just not true, and I'm not sure what he means by "against your chances of obtaining any extra payments ". There is a good point here though, if you do not have medpay or PIP coverage, once you settle this claim the medical payments stop, unless (and this is another point to ponder), you settle it with an 'open-ended release' (not sure if all states can use these you will need to check). What that type of release is; say you settle for 7k, the open-ended release will 'set aside' an amount of money (lets say 2k) for medical bills for your treatment of this injury for the next six months, (or some agreed short time). Now, you don't get this money if you don't have any additional med bills, and this does not mean loss of wage etc, (usually) med bills/payments only. I find these releases a very good idea, and would recommend that if you think there is the slightest chance you might require additional treatment, but really doubt it, just would feel better if you knew there was some money there for a short time.

Also I know of no attorney that will take this for a nonimal fee, and more than likely will INSIST on a contingent,/commission or percent fee, which in all honestly in a claim this size will likely not increase YOUR settlement at all.

If the 6500.00 were in addition to the 3k in meds then they are in the ball park. All injuries (that I've ever seen), will be evaluated and a 'range' established. Based on the info you have provide, I would evaluate the injury (excluding med bills) in the 5500-7500.00 range. Also I would settle it this way, meds paid, loss of wage paid, and then the settlement range. Because med bills and loss of wage are tangible (actual damages) and can be proven, pain and suffering etc, are subjective. Never ever settle an injury claim until you are done treating and are either fine, or well on the mend, think about the 'open-end' release.

Good luck, and so glad no serious injuries resulted from this high impact crash.

Posted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 03:50 pm Post Subject:

I think I know what ArindamSenIndies is mentioning and I'd tend to agree. Adjuster have the responsiblity to move the claim forward toward settlement. We are also pressured by our carriers to settle claims quickly (but fairly). I've has numourous situations where the injured person does not mind waiting to see how they will heal and they don't want to discuss settlement. But we, as adjusters, are reuired by the insurance company to seeked every opportunity to settle and close the claim. Indeed, most states require that we do this. Many people see this as "pressure" ("I told you, I'm not ready to settle yet"). From the other point of view, people complain when adjusters don't call and people complain when we call too much. :)

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