Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

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TierArtz
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Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by TierArtz »

I’ve recently filed a bodily injury claim and am wondering if the average Boglehead would seek legal representation or leave the JDs out of it.

One of my children (as a pedestrian) was injured by a recently licensed driver while attempting to cross a street. My child was hospitalized for a few days for plating of a bone and stabilization of multiple fractured, avulsed and/or displaced teeth. The child will need additional hospital visits for the bone injuries and TBD orthodontic / prosthodontic care. Our family has well-regarded health insurance and basic dental insurance. So far, the copays for ambulances and medicine have not been bad, but I’ve not gotten anything from the hospitals yet. I estimate the total bills are going to be just short of $150K. If I understand how the system works, the health insurance company will seek reimbursement from the auto insurance company. Perhaps the hospitals will also seek some additional reimbursement. And, I think, I’ll be asked to name a price to cover copays and estimated future dental bills (one or multiple sets of crowns, bridges, and/or implants). Do I adequately understand the system? I definitely don’t want to “milk” the system, but also don’t want to settle for a foolishly low sum and end up paying earned income dollars instead of insurance dollars for future care.

TIA for any advice offered.
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anon_investor
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by anon_investor »

TierArtz wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:32 pm I’ve recently filed a bodily injury claim and am wondering if the average Boglehead would seek legal representation or leave the JDs out of it.

One of my children (as a pedestrian) was injured by a recently licensed driver while attempting to cross a street. My child was hospitalized for a few days for plating of a bone and stabilization of multiple fractured, avulsed and/or displaced teeth. The child will need additional hospital visits for the bone injuries and TBD orthodontic / prosthodontic care. Our family has well-regarded health insurance and basic dental insurance. So far, the copays for ambulances and medicine have not been bad, but I’ve not gotten anything from the hospitals yet. I estimate the total bills are going to be just short of $150K. If I understand how the system works, the health insurance company will seek reimbursement from the auto insurance company. Perhaps the hospitals will also seek some additional reimbursement. And, I think, I’ll be asked to name a price to cover copays and estimated future dental bills (one or multiple sets of crowns, bridges, and/or implants). Do I adequately understand the system? I definitely don’t want to “milk” the system, but also don’t want to settle for a foolishly low sum and end up paying earned income dollars instead of insurance dollars for future care.

TIA for any advice offered.
Seek legal counsel.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by ResearchMed »

TierArtz wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:32 pm I’ve recently filed a bodily injury claim and am wondering if the average Boglehead would seek legal representation or leave the JDs out of it.

One of my children (as a pedestrian) was injured by a recently licensed driver while attempting to cross a street. My child was hospitalized for a few days for plating of a bone and stabilization of multiple fractured, avulsed and/or displaced teeth. The child will need additional hospital visits for the bone injuries and TBD orthodontic / prosthodontic care. Our family has well-regarded health insurance and basic dental insurance. So far, the copays for ambulances and medicine have not been bad, but I’ve not gotten anything from the hospitals yet. I estimate the total bills are going to be just short of $150K. If I understand how the system works, the health insurance company will seek reimbursement from the auto insurance company. Perhaps the hospitals will also seek some additional reimbursement. And, I think, I’ll be asked to name a price to cover copays and estimated future dental bills (one or multiple sets of crowns, bridges, and/or implants). Do I adequately understand the system? I definitely don’t want to “milk” the system, but also don’t want to settle for a foolishly low sum and end up paying earned income dollars instead of insurance dollars for future care.

TIA for any advice offered.
Consult a personal injury attorney asap.

I had a child struck by a car quite a few years ago.
It sounds like our situation was far more severe, but suffice it to say that i would have been completely unable to realize all of the problems (medical and financial) that were goiing to follow us for some time... for the entire family.
And the attorney ran interference for us dealing with SO many issues.
It was dreadful anyway, but it would have been far, far worse on my own.

Good luck, and I hope you child recovers!

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by Doom&Gloom »

Lawyer!
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by Gill »

You would be very unwise to settle this without an attorney. Some of the injuries could have life long consequences and compensation for this is appropriate. Pain and suffering should be compensated. Don’t attempt to conclude this on your own or you may be leaving serious money on the table.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by Nate79 »

You need a lawyer. Hopefully the driver had good insurance and or deep pockets or otherwise you may get very little to nothing.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Nate79 wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 8:36 pm Hopefully the driver had good insurance and or deep pockets or otherwise you may get very little to nothing.
How much liability (umbrella) insurance to get is a perennial topic on BH. We have as much umbrella as our insurance company will inderwrite so that if one of our family were to have injured a child like OP’s, at least we know that money would be available.

OP, obviously get an attorney.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by jbmitt »

Get the attorney. Get them to agree to reduce their fee fee if it’s a policy limits issue. If there is sufficient liability and UM/UIM coverage send them to work on your kids behalf.

For a less severe injury, I think you can get similar results without an attorney.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by ResearchMed »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 8:43 pm
Nate79 wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 8:36 pm Hopefully the driver had good insurance and or deep pockets or otherwise you may get very little to nothing.
How much liability (umbrella) insurance to get is a perennial topic on BH. We have as much umbrella as our insurance company will inderwrite so that if one of our family were to have injured a child like OP’s, at least we know that money would be available.

OP, obviously get an attorney.
This is one reason why we have very high umbrella coverage.
Having been on the "receiving" end, so to speak, of this, it is all too clear what *could* have happened if, for example, the injured had been a breadwinner of a young family AND that person needed lifetime care as well.

The driver who hit my child lived around the corner from the elementary school, and obviously knew where the main crosswalk was, etc.
She was a student. But she was driving her father's car. He was a successful attorney, and had adequate insurance.
(And no, health insurance does *not* cover everything that is truly needed, and nothing can every make things normal again. But at least the best that could be done was done...)

To OP: You do not know what you do not yet know about what will be needed...

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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by Trader Joe »

TierArtz wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:32 pm I’ve recently filed a bodily injury claim and am wondering if the average Boglehead would seek legal representation or leave the JDs out of it.

One of my children (as a pedestrian) was injured by a recently licensed driver while attempting to cross a street. My child was hospitalized for a few days for plating of a bone and stabilization of multiple fractured, avulsed and/or displaced teeth. The child will need additional hospital visits for the bone injuries and TBD orthodontic / prosthodontic care. Our family has well-regarded health insurance and basic dental insurance. So far, the copays for ambulances and medicine have not been bad, but I’ve not gotten anything from the hospitals yet. I estimate the total bills are going to be just short of $150K. If I understand how the system works, the health insurance company will seek reimbursement from the auto insurance company. Perhaps the hospitals will also seek some additional reimbursement. And, I think, I’ll be asked to name a price to cover copays and estimated future dental bills (one or multiple sets of crowns, bridges, and/or implants). Do I adequately understand the system? I definitely don’t want to “milk” the system, but also don’t want to settle for a foolishly low sum and end up paying earned income dollars instead of insurance dollars for future care.

TIA for any advice offered.
"Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?"

Lawyer.
Big Dog
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by Big Dog »

you need to add in money for pain and suffering. Lawyer.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by Carousel »

TierArtz wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:32 pm I’ve recently filed a bodily injury claim and am wondering if the average Boglehead would seek legal representation or leave the JDs out of it.
I'm so sorry you're dealing with this!
DEFINITELY seek legal counsel. Put all thoughts of "milking" out of your mind. Hire an attorney and let them do their thing. Medical bills yes, but also pain and suffering, future problems etc.
The system is not set up for a smart person of good faith to handle this problem on their own. Lawyer, lawyer, lawyer. Now.
Get references and talk to several attorneys before you make your choice. Be blunt, be direct. "Here is the problem. What can you do for us?"
Again, so sorry you are dealing with this.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by 7eight9 »

A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.
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TierArtz
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by TierArtz »

Survey says: Lawyer!

Thanks to all who replied. I'll likely research the local possibilities (billboard types excluded), and possibly let go of modeling self-sufficiency and grace. Circumstances were such that my kids could have possibly prevented it,which makes me lean away from aggressive pursuit. That, and I'll soon have two young drivers of my own.

FWIW, the episode was the last grain on the scale that tipped me toward getting a personal umbrella policy.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by anon_investor »

7eight9 wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 9:59 pm A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.
+1.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by ljb »

I am a pretty extreme do-it-yourselfer and I would definitely use a lawyer for this. The driver's insurance co will have a lawyer who specializes in defending against claims like this. Unless you have some kind of special experience in the area of personal injury claims that that you haven't mentioned, I would think you would be at a serious disadvantage to go it alone.

Good luck, Lisa
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

7eight9 wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 9:59 pm A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.
OP, your user name indicates that you’re a veterinarian. There’s a reason that doctors generally don’t perform procedures on their own family.

Leave this to professionals.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by bgf »

TierArtz wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:52 pm Survey says: Lawyer!

Thanks to all who replied. I'll likely research the local possibilities (billboard types excluded), and possibly let go of modeling self-sufficiency and grace. Circumstances were such that my kids could have possibly prevented it,which makes me lean away from aggressive pursuit. That, and I'll soon have two young drivers of my own.

FWIW, the episode was the last grain on the scale that tipped me toward getting a personal umbrella policy.
Make your expectations and concerns known to your attorney, who works for you. You don't have to do scorched earth. If you don't like how the attorney responds, then look for another one.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by RickBoglehead »

Remember two things. First, that insurance policies have limits for a reason. You're not scorching the earth going up to those limits plus attorney fees. Second, never repeat "Circumstances were such that my kids could have possibly prevented it,which makes me lean away from aggressive pursuit."
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by Shallowpockets »

You should see a lawyer. You should HAVE seen a lawyer. Even before posting here, which is only opinions.
Most personal injury lawyers will see you without a fee upfront and let you know if you have a case. What’s to lose there?
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by Sandtrap »

Seek excellent legal counsel ASAP.
Keep excellent records.
Document everything including conversation and event recaps.

Seek excellent legal counsel ASAP.

Focus on family, health, and recovery.
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Goldwater85
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by Goldwater85 »

Agree that you need an attorney. Probably goes without saying, but try to network your way to a reputable plaintiffs’ attorney who will spend personal time with the case.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by novillero »

And I would add, immediately cease all communications with anyone and everyone regarding this. You may have already inadvertently jeopardized your case with any communications with the insurance company, police reports, and even here - you made an admission of responsibility. Let your lawyer assist you, please - as i lawyer I beg you.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by Mako »

novillero wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 7:23 am And I would add, immediately cease all communications with anyone and everyone regarding this. You may have already inadvertently jeopardized your case with any communications with the insurance company, police reports, and even here - you made an admission of responsibility. Let your lawyer assist you, please - as i lawyer I beg you.
+1. It’s not for you to decide who is legally responsible anyway.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by Outer Marker »

TierArtz wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:32 pm Do I adequately understand the system? I . . . don’t want to settle for a foolishly low sum and end up paying earned income dollars instead of insurance dollars for future care.
You definitely do not understand the system. The out of pocket meds are only part of the damages. The child has suffered very painful and serious permanent injuries. A very rough rule of thumb is that pain and suffering might be worth 3x medical expenses, so with $150K in medical, this case could easily be worth well over a half million dollars. This could well exceed the policy limits. Get a good and reputable personal injury lawyer. Seek referrals and interview them. Do not call off a TV ad!
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by WillRetire »

OP: +1 Get a lawyer.

Also, FYI, treatment for dental injuries due to an accident may be covered by medical insurance. Check with your medical insurer.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by DesertDiva »

Here’s another +1 for lawyer. This is not a DIY project!!
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by Candor »

I see no problem with the average BH handling a typical soft tissue BI claim resulting from a minor/moderate accident themselves but this is far from that. You really do need the services of an attorney in this case imo.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by Mako »

Candor wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 9:16 am I see no problem with the average BH handling a typical soft tissue BI claim resulting from a minor/moderate accident themselves but this is far from that. You really do need the services of an attorney in this case imo.
Maybe. Also insurance companies may not take you seriously if you DIY. My dad had a pretty straightforward relatively minor <$10k injury + totaled his small oldish car, another <$10k. Other driver totally and clearly at fault. It was even his own insurance company as the other driver had the same company. They kept offering less than half his easily documented costs, no pain and suffering even requested, until my uncle a lawyer sent a letter and they sent exactly what he asked for.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by GmanJeff »

Mako wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 7:34 am
novillero wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 7:23 am And I would add, immediately cease all communications with anyone and everyone regarding this. You may have already inadvertently jeopardized your case with any communications with the insurance company, police reports, and even here - you made an admission of responsibility. Let your lawyer assist you, please - as i lawyer I beg you.
+1. It’s not for you to decide who is legally responsible anyway.
This cannot be overemphasized.

Additionally, as a layman you may be unaware of potential avenues for recovery should the tortfeasor have inadequate insurance limits, such as going against your own policy if it has coverage against underinsured defendants.
Last edited by GmanJeff on Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Nowizard
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by Nowizard »

As injury firms state, there are many who do not view themselves as people who sue, but the one sued is typically the insurance company rather than an individual. These are both serious injuries and injuries that potentially have unknown future aspects, speaking from personal experience where no attorney was consulted. Consultation with an attorney is appropriate as you complete due diligence as with other significant topics. What you do after the consultation is your decision.

Tim
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by Jablean »

I read claims for an insurer. They don't respect individuals - you'll get a bare bones offer to sign and you'll have no later recourse. Put a lawyer on the claim and they sit up and listen. I agree that it's terrible that everyone is sue happy and you don't want to be that person but it was shocking the difference one letter from a lawyer could make. In this case you need to protect your daughter and whatever you do really doesn't effect the driver. This is between you and the insurance company, they will slough off if you let them.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by bsteiner »

TierArtz wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:32 pm ... I think, I’ll be asked to name a price to cover copays and estimated future dental bills (one or multiple sets of crowns, bridges, and/or implants). ...
I'm a lawyer but I don't do personal injury law. I do tax and trusts and estates. I would no more handle a personal injury claim than I would do the crowns and implants myself. When friends or family members have personal injury matters, I send them to personal injury lawyers, just as I go to dentists in the appropriate dental specialties for dental work.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by Outer Marker »

bsteiner wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:43 pm
TierArtz wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:32 pm ... I think, I’ll be asked to name a price to cover copays and estimated future dental bills (one or multiple sets of crowns, bridges, and/or implants). ...
I'm a lawyer but I don't do personal injury law. I do tax and trusts and estates. I would no more handle a personal injury claim than I would do the crowns and implants myself. When friends or family members have personal injury matters, I send them to personal injury lawyers, just as I go to dentists in the appropriate dental specialties for dental work.
+1. I have a law degree, but don't do this kind of work. When my mom was the victim of a head-on collision by a texting driver, I got her a good attorney barred in her state. It was necessary and she got a fair settlement.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by ResearchMed »

Jablean wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 2:46 pm I read claims for an insurer. They don't respect individuals - you'll get a bare bones offer to sign and you'll have no later recourse. Put a lawyer on the claim and they sit up and listen. I agree that it's terrible that everyone is sue happy and you don't want to be that person but it was shocking the difference one letter from a lawyer could make. In this case you need to protect your daughter and whatever you do really doesn't effect the driver. This is between you and the insurance company, they will slough off if you let them.
[emphasis added]

bsteiner wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:43 pm
TierArtz wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:32 pm ... I think, I’ll be asked to name a price to cover copays and estimated future dental bills (one or multiple sets of crowns, bridges, and/or implants). ...
I'm a lawyer but I don't do personal injury law. I do tax and trusts and estates. I would no more handle a personal injury claim than I would do the crowns and implants myself. When friends or family members have personal injury matters, I send them to personal injury lawyers, just as I go to dentists in the appropriate dental specialties for dental work.

OP: Please do not forget this part:

You are acting on behalf of your daughter, for her best interests.
What would you tell/ask any third party to do for her?
"Not be too harsh on the driver or the driver's insurance company."
or
"Get the best idea about how this will affect her in the near AND distant future, even if that latter cannot truly be known now, and *please* make SURE that we do the very best for her, keeping all of that in mind!"

That may mean waiting a while to settle.

Some of the major assistance our attorney provided (see post above) was to arrange for almost all of the service providers to delay payment. He took care of that; it's not uncommon, especially for large agencies. (For a single person providing care, not through an agency, this might not be possible, of course.)
Or perhaps some payments might be made along the way, without waiving any rights. I did not want to be involved in that, and my attorney probably wasn't too eager to discuss all of the background details where there were not any choices to be made. That is, the hospital was going to need to be paid; ditto the care-givers, etc.

When things finally calmed down a bit, I discussed things with him and we ended up with a settlement that included everyone: hospital ER and inpatient, all physicians, daily ambulance-type service [to take child and attendant to and from locations once we had hospital equipment set up at home; she needed to be flat on a gurney], equipment rentals, home aides, and on and on...

There was no way we could have known how this would progress up during the first few months.

But that was much of what the attorney did. I could *not* have done it, even if I had thought about all of the tweaks... and I wouldn't have.

Let an attorney help you look out for your child's best interests - and NOT the interests of any insurer or the driver; you owe them absolutely NOTHING.

Don't forget... this sounds like it may affect her appearance - and perhaps some functioning (?). Let your attorney guide you about ALL of this.
You can (and perhaps should) meet with at least 2 attorneys to see a) what they suggest and b) how comfortable you feel with them. There is often a genuine reason for the phrase "counselor".

And as already mentioned, NEVER again mention anything at all to anyone (other than your OWN attorney, in private) about any "responsibility". That should remain a legal issue, period. Don't risk tainting it.
(I had my own personal thoughts about what might actually have happened, but I was not there to see it happen. There were other witnesses, and unfortunately that included my other child. I would still give anything to have been the one to see that rather than have her carry that in her mind's eye for the rest of her life... But I never said a word about my thoughts then, and still have not, decades later.)

And good luck to all of you.

RM
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mr_brightside
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by mr_brightside »

I'm not a huge 'Get a lawyer!!' guy but this is one of those cases where it's an imperative.

Get a good lawyer.

-----------------------------------
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by mcraepat9 »

RickBoglehead wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 6:31 am Remember two things. First, that insurance policies have limits for a reason. You're not scorching the earth going up to those limits plus attorney fees. Second, never repeat "Circumstances were such that my kids could have possibly prevented it,which makes me lean away from aggressive pursuit."
This is the most important post on this thread. OP please read this one twice.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by mcraepat9 »

TierArtz wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:52 pm Survey says: Lawyer!

Thanks to all who replied. I'll likely research the local possibilities (billboard types excluded), and possibly let go of modeling self-sufficiency and grace. Circumstances were such that my kids could have possibly prevented it,which makes me lean away from aggressive pursuit. That, and I'll soon have two young drivers of my own.

FWIW, the episode was the last grain on the scale that tipped me toward getting a personal umbrella policy.
I would choose the best lawyer for what you want, don’t exclude “billboard types”. Those attorneys with billboards are often the best at these sort of cases. Bad attorneys that don’t win cases can’t afford billboards…
Amateur investors are not cool-headed logicians.
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BolderBoy
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by BolderBoy »

Get your daughter a good lawyer. It is one thing if you want to represent yourself but quite another if you are trying to represent your daughter. You are too close to the case; too emotionally involved.

And don't post anything more online about this.

IANAL.
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Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by hsmith »

mcraepat9 wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 5:36 pm I would choose the best lawyer for what you want, don’t exclude “billboard types”. Those attorneys with billboards are often the best at these sort of cases. Bad attorneys that don’t win cases can’t afford billboards…
I agree with the advice to find a good personal injury attorney. I am an attorney, but do not do personal injury work and do not advertise on television or billboards. My impression is that some lawyers who spend a lot on advertising are more interested in attracting a high volume of cases and settling them quickly, rather than in litigating skillfully and maximizing the client's recovery.

In one well-known case from about 25 years ago, an attorney ran frequent TV ads in which he called himself "Jim the Hammer Shapiro," and claimed to be a tough, smart lawyer who would wring out every dollar from a defendant, no matter how long it took. Unfortunately for his clients, he grossly exaggerated his expertise. In truth, he had never tried a case to completion. In 2004, he was suspended from practicing law in the State of New York for false advertising. See: https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case ... s_sdt=4,33

FYI, one of his old ads is on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=751Pb4vI0ME

So while I wouldn't rule out the "billboard types" entirely, I would recommend carefully vetting any attorney before retaining one.
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TierArtz
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:33 pm

Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by TierArtz »

Thanks to all the additional posters. I appreciate the thought and time given the issue.

I now have a lawyer in mind to make an appointment with.

I probably should have mentioned that the insurance company has agreed to accept liability. That likely smooths the road ahead quite a bit (not a case to win). But, I'm now convinced an experienced personal injury lawyer will have a better idea about what a fair settlement is than I do.

Thanks again!
Jablean
Posts: 748
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:38 pm

Re: Bodily injury claim - Lawyer or DIY?

Post by Jablean »

TierArtz wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 11:48 pm Thanks to all the additional posters. I appreciate the thought and time given the issue.

I now have a lawyer in mind to make an appointment with.

I probably should have mentioned that the insurance company has agreed to accept liability. That likely smooths the road ahead quite a bit (not a case to win). But, I'm now convinced an experienced personal injury lawyer will have a better idea about what a fair settlement is than I do.

Thanks again!
Of course they accepted liability - that means nothing about how they will treat you. You don't talk to your lawyer about a settlement, you send your lawyer to talk (ie send a letter) to the insurance company and get yourself out of the mix. You'll think that the claims adjusters are good guys (in most cases they are but they don't work for themselves and they'll lose their job if they are "nice") You talk to your lawyer only, you do not talk to the insurance company. As others have said you may get partial payments as you submit bills - these types of things are not one and done, they will keep them on the books for months if not years. Even after a claim is "closed" a new medical issue might open it up again for more payments.
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