Case Study: Increasing Your Settlement
Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer may substantially increase your recovery, even if there is limited money available from insurance policies and you have high medical bills. In this section, we would like to show you an example of how a lawyer’s negotiations made a difference for one client who was injured in a motorcycle accident. Of course, the facts of each case are unique, so the results may not look much like the results in your case. But we hope we can show you how valuable it can be to get help from an experienced John Bales Tampa personal injury lawyer when dealing with insurance claims.
The client in this case, a woman in her twenties, was riding on the back of her boyfriend’s motorcycle when a tire fell off the back of a tow truck and struck the motorcycle. She was seriously injured in the resulting accident, with medical bills reaching a total of $140,000. The tow truck’s insurance company offered her $100,000, which it claimed was the total amount available under the insurance policy covering the tow truck. That is, that was what they claimed before she retained a lawyer. Before calling a lawyer, she had worked out an agreement with her medical providers, in which they would receive the entire $100,000 available under the insurance policy, and she would make payments for the remaining amounts due over time.
This victim learned of a lawyer who had many years of experience with accident cases, and called to ask if he had any advice about dealing with outstanding medical bills. The lawyer asked her if she had confirmed that the $100,000 was the only amount available under the tow truck company’s insurance policy, or if she had confirmed that this was the only insurance policy that could cover the accident. The lawyer also asked whether any of her medical bills had been paid through a group health insurance policy, if she had reviewed that policy to determine whether one insurer might have to compensate another, and if any agreement was made by the tow truck’s insurer with medical providers for paying off the medical bills.
After speaking with the lawyer, the woman realized that there was more to the case, and that she needed help to get the best compensation she could. With help from the lawyer, she was able to reach a settlement with the tow truck company’s insurer. Ultimately, the settlement she received in the case paid all of her medical bills and her lawyer’s fees, and even provided compensation for her pain, suffering and inconvenience.
Take Care With Medicare
Cases involving Medicare can be much more complicated than cases involving private insurers. One family using Medicare found that out after the mother was seriously hurt in a car accident. They were unable to resolve their claim with the wrongdoer’s insurance company, so they hired an experienced personal injury lawyer. After the lawyer was able to settle the case for $100,000, the family thought that their life would turn around. However, they soon discovered that Medicare was demanding all of the settlement proceeds for reimbursement of the medical bills it had paid on the mother’s behalf. In fact, Medicare claimed it should be reimbursed for all medical care provided to the mother for the last five years, even though the accident had only happened a year earlier.
Their experienced personal injury lawyer was able to distinguish the charges for treatment of the auto accident injuries from the other types of treatment. Medicare, because it is a government entity without any true controls, took months to consider the case. After extensive negotiations with Medicare, the lawyer was able to substantially reduce Medicare’s claim, to an amount allowing this needy family to retain enough money to help pay the mother’s future medical expenses and replace their car.
Sometimes, You Just Have to Go to Trial
Sometimes, a trial is necessary in order to reach a fair settlement. That was the case for one 79-year-old man who was badly hurt during an otherwise nice walk at the mall. A kiddie ride had been set up in an open area of the mall, with a ramp leading up to the ride. That ramp was in the walkway and was nearly the same color as the floor. Before the man walked through that area, the owners of a nearby store had reported to the mall security that they had seen numerous shoppers’ trip and fall over the ramp. Despite this warning, the ride operators took no safety precautions. When the man walked through that area, he tripped and fell. His medical bills exceeded $80,000.
To the man’s lawyers, it appeared to be a clear case of negligence — but the defendant denied liability and offered no settlement at all. His law firm filed suit and prepared the case for trial. Still, the defendant offered no money. The law firm took the case to court. After a two-day trial, the jury returned with a verdict of nearly twice the cost of his medical bills.