Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
3funder
Posts: 677
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:35 pm

Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by 3funder » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:58 am

Bogleheads,

My father and I were in involved in a car accident last Saturday. The driver of the other vehicle ran a stop sign and is clearly at fault. Her insurance carrier (Nationwide) has not disputed this, as it is clear cut. Police were called, incident documented, etc. I had what wound up being a superficial abrasion on my head, so out of an abundance of caution and per the recommendation of those on the scene, I took a brief ambulance ride to the local ER, was checked out, and needed nothing more than a few prescriptions for pain killers (I never wound up filling them, as the pain was moderate).

Yesterday, an adjuster who works with bodily injury called me and offered a settlement to the tune of approximately $1,800. I don't suspect any untoward business, as the basic ambulance, hospital, ER, and ER doctor fees are what they are -- not much to fudge. I wound up paying my ER co-pay of $150 via my FSA and took a day off work (doctor provided a note for this). I informed the adjuster, and she said they'd be happy to add the co-pay and the value of the sick leave I took from work to the settlement, provided I email the proper documentation, which is an easy thing to take care of.

A good family friend is an experienced Nationwide agent, so I called him and asked if accepting the settlement offer would mean that I forfeit my right to bring litigation if, some time in the future, I find that there is a related injury that crops up. He said yes, I probably would be. He recommended that I tell the adjuster that I would feel more comfortable waiting a few weeks and calling her back to close things out if I still feel fine at that point in time. To be clear, I still have residual lower back pain; however, the pain was minor to begin with, and the ER doctor told me it was likely a general reaction to the acute force my body experienced. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd rate it a 1.

Your thoughts?
Last edited by 3funder on Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

goblue100
Posts: 639
Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:31 am

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by goblue100 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:04 am

I have no special knowledge or insight in this area, but I would wait. The worst that happens is you get the amount in a couple weeks. The best would be they may negotiate against themselves, and sweeten the offer.
Some people are immune to good advice. - Saul Goodman

Ready3Retire
Posts: 94
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2014 11:15 am
Location: Midwest

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by Ready3Retire » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:05 am

Wow, an offer in 1 week is fast! My suggestion is wait a few weeks to ensure no additional physical issues crop up. Did they pay for 100% of the medical care you received to date?

User avatar
midareff
Posts: 5712
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:43 am
Location: Biscayne Bay, South Florida

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by midareff » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:08 am

That is fast.... What about damage to the car? Loss of use? Loss of your Saturday? What's the rush? I'd wait a few weeks to see if anything pops up.

3funder
Posts: 677
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:35 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by 3funder » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:12 am

Ready3Retire wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:05 am
Wow, an offer in 1 week is fast! My suggestion is wait a few weeks to ensure no additional physical issues crop up. Did they pay for 100% of the medical care you received to date?
I'm not sure what you mean by your question. The care I described was the only care I received. Beyond the items I listed, no care was necessary.
Last edited by 3funder on Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

3funder
Posts: 677
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:35 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by 3funder » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:13 am

midareff wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:08 am
That is fast.... What about damage to the car? Loss of use? Loss of your Saturday? What's the rush? I'd wait a few weeks to see if anything pops up.
They offered $400 for pain and suffering. The loss of a couple hours on a Saturday evening is quite subjective. I don't peg that at more than $400. Yes, I'm looking for them to make me whole, but I'm not looking to capitalize off the unfortunate incident any more than is necessary. I'll net a few thousand dollars anyway.

cherijoh
Posts: 4932
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:49 pm
Location: Charlotte NC

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by cherijoh » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:14 am

Have you contacted your insurance company?

When I was rear-ended and my car was totaled, my insurance company paid my claim and then went after the at-fault driver's insurance for reimbursement. (I forget what this is called, but it is a common practice). I was told that I could still make claims for medical expenses related to any injuries that cropped up within a specified time period.I only had to sign off with my insurance for the reimbursement for the car's value.

I never dealt with the other insurance company at all.

3funder
Posts: 677
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:35 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by 3funder » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:15 am

3funder wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:13 am
midareff wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:08 am
That is fast.... What about damage to the car? Loss of use? Loss of your Saturday? What's the rush? I'd wait a few weeks to see if anything pops up.
Regarding damage to the car, it was my father's car and my father's policy, so they are dealing his with carrier (USAA) and him separately. I'm sure they're covering all of that stuff. They offered $400 for pain and suffering. The loss of a couple hours on a Saturday evening is quite subjective. I don't peg that at more than $400. Yes, I'm looking for them to make me whole, but I'm not looking to capitalize off the unfortunate incident any more than is necessary. I'll net a few thousand dollars anyway.
Last edited by 3funder on Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

health teacher
Posts: 299
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:27 am

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by health teacher » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:15 am

You should wait a week or 2 just in case, let them know you are considering consulting a lawyer (leave it at that) and also consider countering with a higher amount, say $2200-$2500.

The insurance company is NOT on your side. Even if your injuries are minor, the insurance company wants to rid itself of liability the cheapest way possible. This means settling with you on their first offer.

Edited to add: Your medical bills will be paid separately by Nationwide. The pain and suffering settlement is in addition to your medical bills.

dknightd
Posts: 719
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:57 am

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by dknightd » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:19 am

I'd take it slowly. I don't think the offer is considered accepted until the check is cashed. But I'm not a lawyer. I'd take my time providing the documentation they want, then I'd take my time cashing the check. Although unlikely, it is possible that you will not heal as quickly as you hope, there could be hidden problems. I would not cash the check until I had felt no after effects for a least a few weeks. Glad you are all OK.
Last edited by dknightd on Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

3funder
Posts: 677
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:35 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by 3funder » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:21 am

cherijoh wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:14 am
Have you contacted your insurance company?

When I was rear-ended and my car was totaled, my insurance company paid my claim and then went after the at-fault driver's insurance for reimbursement. (I forget what this is called, but it is a common practice). I was told that I could still make claims for medical expenses related to any injuries that cropped up within a specified time period.I only had to sign off with my insurance for the reimbursement for the car's value.

I never dealt with the other insurance company at all.
Yes, USAA called me Monday and we spoke.
Last edited by 3funder on Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:23 am, edited 4 times in total.

Ready3Retire
Posts: 94
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2014 11:15 am
Location: Midwest

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by Ready3Retire » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:21 am

I'm not sure what you mean by your question. The care I described was the only care I received. Beyond the items I listed, no care was necessary.
I didn't see in your original post that you used your medical insurance for the hospital visit but they offered to reimburse you for the co pay.

Good luck.

3funder
Posts: 677
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:35 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by 3funder » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:21 am

Ready3Retire wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:21 am
I'm not sure what you mean by your question. The care I described was the only care I received. Beyond the items I listed, no care was necessary.
I didn't see in your original post that you used your medical insurance for the hospital visit but they offered to reimburse you for the co pay.

Good luck.
Thank you.

jminv
Posts: 523
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:58 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by jminv » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:24 am

You should contact a personal injury lawyer. $1800 is unreasonably low, actually miserly, given that you went to the hospital. You're leaving a lot of money on the table.

3funder
Posts: 677
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:35 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by 3funder » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:27 am

health teacher wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:15 am
You should wait a week or 2 just in case, let them know you are considering consulting a lawyer (leave it at that) and also consider countering with a higher amount, say $2200-$2500.

The insurance company is NOT on your side. Even if your injuries are minor, the insurance company wants to rid itself of liability the cheapest way possible. This means settling with you on their first offer.

Edited to add: Your medical bills will be paid separately by Nationwide. The pain and suffering settlement is in addition to your medical bills.
Understood. Thanks.

Bacchus01
Posts: 1819
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by Bacchus01 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:28 am

I think your medical insurance company is going to want to be reimbursed. If you sign that agreement, you may be liable for the reimbursement of medical costs. That ambulance ride and ER Visit was likely a LOT more than $1800. You car insurance company will also want to be reimbursed. Without details, I see easily $5K+ I’m damages here.

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 13846
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by Watty » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:39 am

3funder wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:58 am
To be clear, I still have residual lower back pain; however, the pain was minor to begin with, and the ER doctor told me it was likely a general reaction to the acute force my body experienced.
I am not a lawyer but there is no way that you should sign anything until long after all the issues are resolved and your doctor says that you are in the clear.

Even then for $400 I would probably not sign anything just in case something develops in the future. Part of the problem is that something happens like you are in another car accident six months from now and have a more serious problem, then they will try to say that it was because of this accident to try to avoid paying. They could even be right.

bob60014
Posts: 617
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:59 pm
Location: The Land Beyond ORD

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by bob60014 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:52 am

With all the ambulance chasers, TV lawyers pitching high payouts and greedy "victims" what a breath of fresh air reading the OP''s thoughts!

Do wait however to ensure all is well. Your body in a accident, no matter how minor, may have delayed issues, the back and neck in particular. The insurance company wants to get this off their books asap but the settlement monies will still be there in 2-3 weeks. Good luck!

User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 3429
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by lthenderson » Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:13 am

3funder wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:58 am
Your thoughts?
I was in the same type of accident, suffered a concussion and received a settlement check within weeks. I waited until the last of my medical bills came in to ensure the check would cover it. As it turned out, the medical bills came in higher but the overall out of pocket amount I was billed still was under the check balance when counting the pain and suffering portion. Rather than fight for a little more, I just cashed the check and called it good.

uberdoc
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2018 4:37 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by uberdoc » Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:15 am

Dont accept the settlement now. Insurance company is not doing it because of some kindness. At the same time, please don't use it as windfall or pile of money. Frivolous litigation in a hope for making free money is the bane on society.

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 47489
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:00 am

I removed several posts questioning the amount of compensation (excessive - don't treat it as a "windfall"). The discussion was getting derailed.

Please stay focused on the financial aspects.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

ResearchMed
Posts: 7080
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:26 am

Ready3Retire wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:21 am
I'm not sure what you mean by your question. The care I described was the only care I received. Beyond the items I listed, no care was necessary.
I didn't see in your original post that you used your medical insurance for the hospital visit but they offered to reimburse you for the co pay.

Good luck.
WAIT.

Make sure there are no residual injuries.
"Whiplash" can be real, and can be delayed.

Also, your own health insurance might be looking to be reimbursed for their costs, so make SURE you don't sign away the insurance company's reimbursement to your health insurer, should that come to pass.
That could include the ambulance, which can alone be $$$ in some locales.

Hope you and your father continue to be well!

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

Hillview
Posts: 309
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:27 am

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by Hillview » Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:34 am

My father was in a car accident and thought he was fine but over a couple of weeks his back started to bug him. He ended up doing 6 weeks of PT (2x a week) and this helped him a lot. The other driver's insurance covered his PT appts. It was not a ton of money but nice to get back to 100%.

stlutz
Posts: 4665
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:08 am

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by stlutz » Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:46 am

If you haven't get gotten a litigious-sounding letter from your health insurer stating that any monies you collect belong to them--you will. Accept the $1800 only if you are willing to turn that full amount over.

The other guy's insurance company owes you the full cost of the medical treatment, not just what your co-pay was. Until you know the full amount that your health insurer is going to want reimbursement for, you should not settle as you don't actually know what the cost of the accident was.

NotWhoYouThink
Posts: 2029
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:52 am

Bacchus01 wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:28 am
I think your medical insurance company is going to want to be reimbursed. If you sign that agreement, you may be liable for the reimbursement of medical costs. That ambulance ride and ER Visit was likely a LOT more than $1800. You car insurance company will also want to be reimbursed. Without details, I see easily $5K+ I’m damages here.
Read this over and over until you understand. If you sign this agreement, you will be 100% responsible for any and all medical bills your insurance would otherwise have covered. Look up the word "subrogation." Do not sign anything yet.

harrychan
Posts: 1410
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:37 pm
Location: Pasadena

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by harrychan » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:04 am

Are repairs to your car being handled separately?
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

3funder
Posts: 677
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:35 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by 3funder » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:16 am

harrychan wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:04 am
Are repairs to your car being handled separately?
It isn't my car; it's my father's. It's being handled appropriately; of that, I can assure you.

3funder
Posts: 677
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:35 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by 3funder » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:19 am

I want to thank all of you for your input. My wife and I do not "need" the money, so I am more than happy to wait several months, if need be, to see how things play out. I am speaking with a personal injury attorney (recommended by a colleague of mine who practices immigration and torts law) by phone later this afternoon, and, depending on his initial reaction, we might end up meeting face-to-face in the next week or so.

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 47489
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:40 am

A few years ago, my Mom had an at-fault accident which resulted in injuries to passengers in other cars. She spent the night in the hospital and was fine the next day.

It is the job of your insurance company to defend you - regardless of fault. Her insurance carrier was Nationwide. A quick google searched showed that Nationwide has an army of lawyers who do nothing but take care of legal issues - and they are very, very good at it.

A few weeks later, the injured parties sued my Mom for a ton of things. She didn't know what to do. I called Nationwide on her behalf. In no time flat, I was in contact with a local lawyer who took her case.

Long story short, Nationwide negotiated settlements with those injured parties. The damages paid to those parties came out of my Mom's liability coverage. She paid nothing out of pocket. There are no legal fees, you paid for it as part of your premium.

There are two important points:
- Always carry liability insurance
- If someone recommends a lawyer, get one.

3funder - If your family friend works for Nationwide, he knows both sides of what I've just explained. His recommendation to see a lawyer is well advised. Not for seeking "excessive" compensation, but to ensure that you don't end up paying for expenses that could have been footed by the insurance company.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 47489
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:46 am

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (insurance).
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

Laren
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 12:06 am

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by Laren » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:57 am

I'm glad you're waiting - I'd wait at least a couple months just to make sure you really have all of the medical bills, especially with an ambulance ride and an ER visit involved. I could easily see some trailing bills from the ER visit. Maybe the hospital can tell you its total bill within a week, but there could be multiple providers at the ER who bill separately from the hospital whose bills you haven't seen yet - radiologists reading scans, ER doctors who work at the hospital but aren't employees of the hospital, etc. And particularly with the medical insurance subrogation issues involved, I think the advice to talk to an attorney is good to make sure you don't end up accidentally on the hook for something that the other driver's insurance should be covering.

jbmitt
Posts: 314
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:00 am

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by jbmitt » Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:05 pm

LadyGeek wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:40 am

There are two important points:
- Always carry liability insurance
- If someone recommends a lawyer, get one.
I agree with the first point. I disagree with the second because there are a lot of people who know nothing about law claiming to be experts.

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 47489
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:20 pm

I'm basing my opinion on my Mom's experience. The lawyer she dealt with was well qualified to work this case (and was funded by Nationwide). I'm sure there are other "experts" who are not as well qualified, but that's probably for a different discussion.

BTW - I fixed your quote - it was missing a ']'
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 7636
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:21 pm

Several years ago, in a winter where New England got clobbered, I had a poor snow plow vehicle for my driveway (07 Ford Explorer) and thus ended up shoveling myself out to get unstuck too many times. During all of this, unknown to me, I injured my back. This didn't show up immediately but people at work noticed I wasn't walking right and suggested I get to a doctor. The pain crept in and quickly got to the point where I had my wife drive me into the ER in the middle of the night thinking I had pain in my leg. They diagnosed it as a back injury. I was on Oxy for a while. Enough that I had to throttle it between pain and awareness of what was going on. I was out of work for 6 weeks and on long term disability at 75% base pay and no bonuses (normally another 25%). After numerous visits with the best spine guy in Boston, he explained the things that surgery could fix. He then explained that I had none of them and that I should get steroid injections. I did 3 rounds of injections and physical therapy and finally it worked and I could do things like walk.

The point of all of this is that although you don't think you're injured now, what if in a month, you experience something like I did? I'm sure my treatment start to finish was easily $100k. As mentioned, your insurance company is going to be coming back for money once they realize that this was due to a car accident. If you've signed away your rights for $1800, you'll be responsible to pay them back for everything they've paid and everything going forward.

If I were in your situation, I would absolutely seek legal council.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

inbox788
Posts: 5408
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:24 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by inbox788 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:09 pm

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:52 am
Bacchus01 wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:28 am
I think your medical insurance company is going to want to be reimbursed. If you sign that agreement, you may be liable for the reimbursement of medical costs. That ambulance ride and ER Visit was likely a LOT more than $1800. You car insurance company will also want to be reimbursed. Without details, I see easily $5K+ I’m damages here.
Read this over and over until you understand. If you sign this agreement, you will be 100% responsible for any and all medical bills your insurance would otherwise have covered. Look up the word "subrogation." Do not sign anything yet.
When or how does this issue go away? Health insurance and hospitals are now following up months after the event asking if anyone else is responsible for the injury (workers comp, accidents, negligence, etc.) trying to recover or get additional funds. If you've reached some sort of settlement with the auto insurance, does that mean they'll come after you, even though you have an agreement with them? Or does the standard health insurance include language that you practically means you can't settle with auto insurance companies in general? It's all very confusing, and hiring a lawyer, even if it's no upfront cost means you share 1/3 of the settlement with them, no? Or are they able to add legal fees and get you same or more?

ResearchMed
Posts: 7080
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:15 pm

inbox788 wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:09 pm
NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:52 am
Bacchus01 wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:28 am
I think your medical insurance company is going to want to be reimbursed. If you sign that agreement, you may be liable for the reimbursement of medical costs. That ambulance ride and ER Visit was likely a LOT more than $1800. You car insurance company will also want to be reimbursed. Without details, I see easily $5K+ I’m damages here.
Read this over and over until you understand. If you sign this agreement, you will be 100% responsible for any and all medical bills your insurance would otherwise have covered. Look up the word "subrogation." Do not sign anything yet.
When or how does this issue go away? Health insurance and hospitals are now following up months after the event asking if anyone else is responsible for the injury (workers comp, accidents, negligence, etc.) trying to recover or get additional funds. If you've reached some sort of settlement with the auto insurance, does that mean they'll come after you, even though you have an agreement with them? Or does the standard health insurance include language that you practically means you can't settle with auto insurance companies in general? It's all very confusing, and hiring a lawyer, even if it's no upfront cost means you share 1/3 of the settlement with them, no? Or are they able to add legal fees and get you same or more?
A proper "settlement agreement" should have terminology to deal with this.

A quick "I accept $XX and release <driver/insurer> from all additional claims" would NOT be a "proper settlement agreement".

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

User avatar
Pajamas
Posts: 6015
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:32 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by Pajamas » Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:25 pm

The adjustor wants you to settle as soon as possible for as little as possible so they can close the books on your case rather than having it open as an unknown liability.

In a very similar situation, I insisted on having imaging studies done of my spinal column when I was taken to the emergency center. Then when I was feeling back to normal, I asked if they would offer more money to settle, they increased the offer a bit, and I took the check. I didn't involve a lawyer because there was no real reason to do so.

Since you had an abrasion and still have back pain, you might want to take your friend's advice to wait a while until you are reasonably certain that you weren't injured before signing away your rights to additional compensation. There is always a slight chance of a major complication, such as a terrible infection from the abrasion or serious injury with back pain. You might also need further medical assessment if your back pain lingers and if you settle now, it wouldn't be covered.

The other issue, as others have mentioned, is that when a motor vehicle accident is involved, the insurance issues can become complicated, to say the least.

stlutz
Posts: 4665
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:08 am

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by stlutz » Sat Apr 21, 2018 6:04 pm

f you've signed away your rights for $1800, you'll be responsible to pay them back for everything they've paid and everything going forward.
No. The health insurance company can subrogate what you collect from the other guy; they can't come after you for more.

User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 5247
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii😀 Northern AZ.😳 Retired.

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Apr 21, 2018 6:11 pm

Everything to gain by waiting, being patient, exploring all options, etc.
Nothing to gain by acting early.

j

quantAndHold
Posts: 1701
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by quantAndHold » Sat Apr 21, 2018 6:24 pm

Wait. And talk to the attorney. I had a friend who described himself as “one of those slimy personal injury lawyers.” Stuff like this was his bread and butter. What I learned from him is two things. 1) never settle until your physical condition has stabilized. And 2) $1800 is at least an order of magnitude too little for something like this, especially if you are still having pain. The insurance company lawyer is trying to get you to sign your rights away before you figure this out.

User avatar
Rick Ferri
Posts: 8509
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 11:40 am
Location: Georgetown, TX. Twitter: @Rick_Ferri
Contact:

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by Rick Ferri » Sat Apr 21, 2018 6:48 pm

I am not an attorney and do not provide legal advice, but I've been in situations like this before. Here are my suggestions:

1) You're out of your league. Get legal help from an attorney who specializes in auto accidents, then let your attorney tell you what you should be asking for. Follow his or her advice.
2) Wait until the absolute last second to settle any legal matter when you have the facts and the law on your side. Be prepared to walk away if you don't get what you want. If there's no deal, you'll win in court, so nothing is lost.

Rick Ferri
The Education of an Index Investor: born in darkness, finds indexing enlightenment, overcomplicates everything, embraces simplicity.

Traveler
Posts: 631
Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:07 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by Traveler » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:07 pm

Bacchus01 wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:28 am
I think your medical insurance company is going to want to be reimbursed. If you sign that agreement, you may be liable for the reimbursement of medical costs. That ambulance ride and ER Visit was likely a LOT more than $1800. You car insurance company will also want to be reimbursed. Without details, I see easily $5K+ I’m damages here.
I would wait. I agree with this regarding your medical insurance wanting reimbursement. But I don't understand what your car insurance company would have paid. Frankly, I'm not sure I understand why your car insurance even needs to know about it. Maybe I'm missing something.

J295
Posts: 1560
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:40 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by J295 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:30 pm

It is probably prudent to wait until you are certain there are no residual physical injuries.

If you seek legal counsel, be prepared to engage them on a contingency basis, where you will likely give them 1/3 of any settlement and pay out-of-pocket expenses. Also note that the “better” personal injury lawyers will not be willing to get involved. If you have injuries, the associated damages are not nearly significant enough for such lawyers to consider getting involved.

Certainly, if you choose, you can negotiate with the insurance company. I have been involved in a rear end accident, and seeking payment for anything other than auto damage (and in your case some medical) wasn’t something I wanted to pursue.

downshiftme
Posts: 1039
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2007 6:11 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by downshiftme » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:40 pm

I took a brief ambulance ride to the local ER
Ambulance costs vary a lot by locality, but here a routine short trip to the ER can cost $3500-$4000. It's higher if they administer anything on the way or if they have to travel far. Ambulances can be very slow to bill and you may not see a statement for months. But they will eventually get around to it.

Also, keep in mind that any money you receive from insurance (car or medical) will want to be offset by any settlement or payment you receive. When I was in an accident, insurance wouldn't pay anything (even though I am completely covered) until they resolve whether the other insurance was liable or not. Several bills went to collection before insurance would act they delayed so long. Also, even after that was resolved, they insisted on several rounds of paperwork declaring exactly how much and by whom I had been reimbursed, whether there was any pending legal action, and reminded me several times that they (insurance) was to be consulted before any settlement could be accepted.

User avatar
sergeant
Posts: 895
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:13 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by sergeant » Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:54 pm

I was in charge of our traffic division for almost five years and investigated loads of serious injury and fatal traffic collisions. It wasn't uncommon for serious injuries to manifest many weeks after the event. I even had several where a driver seemed fine for a few hours, collision seemed minor or moderate, and ended up dying as a result of the collision.

I would wait.
Lincoln 3 EOW!

OldLearner
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue May 06, 2014 11:59 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by OldLearner » Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:07 am

Ahhh. Why hasn't this been locked a long time ago? There's a lot of stuff on here that sounds an awful lot like legal advice.... A settlement offer for an auto accident is not a simple financial transaction; it also has a lot of complex legal implications.
-Not a lawyer--but I used to be.
Last edited by OldLearner on Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 47489
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Apr 22, 2018 4:55 am

It has not been locked because this question has a financial component. See: Personal Finance
This subforum is for personal financial issues that don't involve investments. Examples of acceptable topics are:

...
- legal issues that have a financial component like wills and pre-nuptial agreements
Also note the disclaimer at the bottom of every forum page.
No guarantees are made as to the accuracy of the information on this site or the appropriateness of any advice to your particular situation.
If anyone has further questions, please PM me.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

Bacchus01
Posts: 1819
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by Bacchus01 » Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:36 am

downshiftme wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:40 pm
I took a brief ambulance ride to the local ER
Ambulance costs vary a lot by locality, but here a routine short trip to the ER can cost $3500-$4000. It's higher if they administer anything on the way or if they have to travel far. Ambulances can be very slow to bill and you may not see a statement for months. But they will eventually get around to it.

Also, keep in mind that any money you receive from insurance (car or medical) will want to be offset by any settlement or payment you receive. When I was in an accident, insurance wouldn't pay anything (even though I am completely covered) until they resolve whether the other insurance was liable or not. Several bills went to collection before insurance would act they delayed so long. Also, even after that was resolved, they insisted on several rounds of paperwork declaring exactly how much and by whom I had been reimbursed, whether there was any pending legal action, and reminded me several times that they (insurance) was to be consulted before any settlement could be accepted.
In addition to the ambulance, I don’t think you can get in and out of an ER for less than a few thousand either.

User avatar
TinkerPDX
Posts: 274
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2014 4:38 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by TinkerPDX » Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:45 am

3funder wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:58 am
Bogleheads,

My father and I were in involved in a car accident last Saturday. The driver of the other vehicle ran a stop sign and is clearly at fault. Her insurance carrier (Nationwide) has not disputed this, as it is clear cut. Police were called, incident documented, etc. I had what wound up being a superficial abrasion on my head, so out of an abundance of caution and per the recommendation of those on the scene, I took a brief ambulance ride to the local ER, was checked out, and needed nothing more than a few prescriptions for pain killers (I never wound up filling them, as the pain was moderate).

Yesterday, an adjuster who works with bodily injury called me and offered a settlement to the tune of approximately $1,800. I don't suspect any untoward business, as the basic ambulance, hospital, ER, and ER doctor fees are what they are -- not much to fudge. I wound up paying my ER co-pay of $150 via my FSA and took a day off work (doctor provided a note for this). I informed the adjuster, and she said they'd be happy to add the co-pay and the value of the sick leave I took from work to the settlement, provided I email the proper documentation, which is an easy thing to take care of.

A good family friend is an experienced Nationwide agent, so I called him and asked if accepting the settlement offer would mean that I forfeit my right to bring litigation if, some time in the future, I find that there is a related injury that crops up. He said yes, I probably would be. He recommended that I tell the adjuster that I would feel more comfortable waiting a few weeks and calling her back to close things out if I still feel fine at that point in time. To be clear, I still have residual lower back pain; however, the pain was minor to begin with, and the ER doctor told me it was likely a general reaction to the acute force my body experienced. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd rate it a 1.

Your thoughts?
You'll almost certainly be able to get more if they're already offering money out of the gate, and I promise you your back is going to feel worse over the next few weeks. Give it at least a little bit of time. You can probably get a decent personal injury lawyer to sit down with you at no cost to advise you on this, and it would be well worth your time (assuming another few thousand dollars would be meaningful to you).

(FWIW, I do business litigation for a living. It's very different than PI claims, but negotiating is negotiating. Also, I'm in the middle of a lawsuit vs. the drivers who hit me on my bike a couple years back, so have some relevant recent firsthand experience.)

michaeljc70
Posts: 3334
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:11 am

Bacchus01 wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:28 am
I think your medical insurance company is going to want to be reimbursed. If you sign that agreement, you may be liable for the reimbursement of medical costs. That ambulance ride and ER Visit was likely a LOT more than $1800. You car insurance company will also want to be reimbursed. Without details, I see easily $5K+ I’m damages here.
This. $1800 certainly won't cover the ER visit. That should be going against their insurance, not yours. You need to be careful.

Post Reply