Author Topic: confused and overwhelmed- first car accident  (Read 3459 times)

rymmm

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confused and overwhelmed- first car accident
« on: August 31, 2017, 04:38:36 PM »
I just went through a dramatic car accident. Been in the hospital for a week with broken ribs, clavicle, sternum, etc. Have had one surgery so far. Was tboned in an intersection, the other driver had a stop sign. I remember seeing the truck enter the intersection in front of me and hitting breaks and honking. The vehicle hit the side of my car centered on the post on the drivers side between the doors.  I am in pretty rough shape. The officer on scene did a breathalyzer and asked me to tell him what I remembered, which I did. There were two witnesses who also provided information.

So far I have called my insurance to let them know what happened, and they have gotten my car out of the impound lot to some lot with a company they contract with and they were given witness contact information.  I also need to fill out and return some accident form to the state patrol very soon. I am not sure what to expect or what else I need to do at this point. Hoping to leave hospital soon, work situation is challenging, I have not really talked to HR but they have sent me some paper work for FMLA and they need specific dates for returning to work with exact restrictions from a providing doctor.

I also need to figure out a new car-- with this injury and living in a rural area neither bicycle nor public transit are options. I will need to find something pretty quick once I am able to drive in hopefully a few weeks again, and it will need to have adjustable lumbar support at a minimum. The days of using my car sparingly and being okay with out a "couch on wheels" are over for some time now. Any suggested for a mustachian vehicle that would fit the bill? I have money in savings.. but I would hate to make a bad decision and buy a clown mobile.

I am just really overwhelmed, on pain meds, and have never been through an accident before. What I am missing that I need to do? What can I expect from insurance, state patrol, work, etc in the future?
« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 06:59:01 PM by rymmm »

Dee18

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Re: confused and overwhelmed- first car accident
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2017, 05:01:29 PM »
So very sorry to hear of your accident.  One piece of advice is to keep a copy of any form you fill out, any statement you make, and any medical bills.  Also keep notes on what treatment you receive to make sure you are not billed for services you did not receive.  With an accident as serious as yours, that was not your fault, I would speak with an attorney.  You may we'll be entitled to damages for pain and suffering as well as for lost wages.  Check your auto policy to see if it covers a rental car for a period of time.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: confused and overwhelmed- first car accident
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2017, 05:58:18 PM »
I was in an accident about a year ago that finally totaled my trusty 16-year old car. Stopped at a yield sign waiting to merge into traffic and a woman in a pickup truck just plowed into my rear end. Blue Book for my vehicle was probably about $1,200 - $1,500 as it had a big patch of bondo on the rear quarter panel from the last time I got rear-ended by a truck (sideswiped mostly). Her insurance company paid out something like $2,300 which was pretty good considering the previous accident had already totaled out my car (and I got about $2,000 from that one). Plus I got $100 from the junk yard when I finally put it out of it's misery. I did end up going to urgent care later that day as my neck and shoulder were hurting and eventually went to the ER (that was a fun eight hours) as I was getting some tingling and numbness in my left arm (looking back over my left shoulder when I was hit). When all was said and done 3-4 months months later I finally got a settlement check from her insurance company for about $4,500. After paying my medical bills of about $150 the rest went straight to paying off debt. I would have been happy with about $1,000 considering I only missed a day of work and was in mild-moderate pain for a couple of weeks. I was driving from home to another location for work so my company had me fill out a workman's comp claim. Frankly it just added another layer of hassle between me and the other driver's insurance company.

In your case I would expect you could be looking at a settlement well in excess of $10,000, on top of your actual medical bills. I would advise contacting some personal injury attorneys. Most work on contingency and will take a cut of your settlement. This could be 40-50% so call around. You shouldn't have any trouble getting someone to take the case and in fact you'll probably start receiving letters in the mail from attorneys any day now. They pull the accident reports from the police as a source of leads. I received letters from at least six or seven attorneys a few days after my accident. I called one to kick the tire but I figured it wouldn't really be worth my time or there's since my injuries were pretty minor.

katscratch

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Re: confused and overwhelmed- first car accident
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2017, 06:17:39 PM »
I'm glad you are recovering.

I agree with advice to consult an attorney.

As far as lumbar support adjustments in a new vehicle - I use a firm pillow ;)

starguru

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confused and overwhelmed- first car accident
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2017, 06:36:17 PM »
Talk to a lawyer.  Talk to a lawyer.  Talk to a lawyer.  Things need to be set in motion according to the laws of your state. 

You should have been given an incident report from the police.  That report should have the policy carrier of the other driver.  You need to contact your insurance and tell them what happened.  Other than that you need a good attorney to guide your actions.

Sucks that this happened to you.  I hope your recovery is swift and things work out to your satisfaction.



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« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 06:37:52 PM by starguru »

nwhiker

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Re: confused and overwhelmed- first car accident
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2017, 09:53:52 PM »
So I work as a claims adjuster and handled person injury claims for the better part of a decade. First I would hold off on talking with an attorney until you have spoken with the insurance company. If they aren't helpful or you feel they are not treating you fair then talk to an attorney.

Based on the fact that the other person ran a stop sign and the point of impact to your vehicle it is clear they are 100% at fault. Insurance companies complete their own investigations and in a case like this should make their decision regarding liability before the police report is ready. If your area is typical it will take 2 to 4 weeks to get a copy.

Regarding the vehicle they will look to find a couple of the same vehicles in your area to get market value. You can use NADA to get your own value and also use autotrader.com to make sure the values are in line. The settlement should include taxes, registration and title fees. Note if there is prior damage they will deduct that from the vehicle value. It is pro-rated based on the age of the vehicle.

Regarding your injury MN has a injury threshold that you will easily meet. You have 6 years to settle your case or file a lawsuit. Keep a good record of your medical bills and time off work. Also keep receipts if you have to hire services you usually do yourself. The pain and suffering is harder because everyone experiences pain different. Things to consider are length of injury, type of injury, pain severity, and life impact. If you feel that their offer isn't fair then you might want to talk to an attorney.

One of the first questions I would ask is whether their driver has minimum limits for the state. They might not divulge initially but the minimum in MN is $30k. If that is the case here then you should just ask them to tender their limits. If there is minimum limits you should check to see if you have UIM coverage on your policy. If so make sure they approve of the settlement and then your company can address any idea ages that exceed the at fault parties limit.

Retire-Canada

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Re: confused and overwhelmed- first car accident
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2017, 10:07:44 PM »
No advice. Just posting to say sorry you have to go through this. *hugs*

NoStacheOhio

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Re: confused and overwhelmed- first car accident
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2017, 06:26:44 AM »
The at-fault driver's insurance pays for a rental car. They'll probably try to pressure you into returning the rental quickly, but don't feel like you need to rush into buying the first car you find.

SimpleCycle

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Re: confused and overwhelmed- first car accident
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2017, 07:09:44 AM »
I'm so sorry about your accident.  I hope you are on the mend soon.

Here's what I would do:

1. Fill out the accident form and return it, and keep a copy.

2. Ask if you can see the hospital social worker, who can help you figure out the FMLA paperwork and talk about anything else stressing you out.  If there's not a social worker available, ask the nurses who can help you.

3. Don't worry about getting a new car until you're a bit more recovered and can make a clear headed decision.  Add on lumbar support is available for most cars, so that doesn't need to be a deciding factor.

4. I would ask around for a lawyer recommendation.  Unlike others, I think you have time for this step, but in the meantime do keep copies of everything you fill out and any communications about the accident.

Hang in there, it will be okay.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: confused and overwhelmed- first car accident
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2017, 09:58:08 AM »
Do the lawyer step.  I messaged you with some tips on that and help.  Do that first.  Don't do any paperwork until then. 

You need legal help, and an excellent attorney can answer all of these questions for you in ways that be sure you're protected.  We here cannot do that fully.

Definitely don't sign any agreements or agree to anything, especially re: money, until you speak to one.  It'll save yourself a lot of time, worry, and possibly money. 

An excellent attorney can also represent you only where it helps you - and leave you in the best possible situation on the things you can handle yourself, which maximizes the outcome for you. 

Seriously: PM me if there's anything I can further help with.

rymmm

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Re: confused and overwhelmed- first car accident
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2017, 09:16:43 PM »
Thank you to everyone for your wishes and advice. I have been home for a little over two weeks and am starting to resume a more independent life. Trauma doctors believe everything is healing as ideal as possible. I do have another 3 weeks until I am cleared to go back to work, and two weeks until I cleared to try driving again.

Posting here mostly in case someone in a similar situation in the future-- I cannot guarantee the accuracy, but it is my current understanding.

I talked to a lawyer today at a practice in which a trusted friend works. Because in my situation, the medical costs well exceed what my auto insurance will cover and are rolling over to my health insurance- if a settlement is reached, it sounds like my health insurance company is eligible to it before I am.

In my state minimum liability is $30K/ person, and my insurance policies underinsured motorist is 100K/person.  If the medical expenses that the health insurance company pays out exceed the amount of these numbers, it may not be worth getting a settlement.

I also learned that the other drivers insurance has agreed to accept 90% liability, and said they would not do 100% unless I make a statement to them on the record. The lawyer advised me against this, and said that it is a trick they use to try to incriminate me to reduce liability-- and that the police report indicates fault well enough that I should not speak with them.

The overall recommendation right now is to keep track of all medical bills and expenses, rest and recover, and then consult with an attorney in the future to see if it is worth asking for a settlement once the numbers are known.

Luckily I have good health insurance, and I was already at my out of pocket max.  The only big thing I will be losing is lost wages, as State Law dictates that under Personal Injury Protection, the maximum that an insurance company can pay is $500/week in lost wages. I could ask for a settlement from the liable driver to cover the difference- but limits will likely exceed what the other drivers insurance will cover.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 09:22:53 PM by rymmm »

405programmer

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Re: confused and overwhelmed- first car accident
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2017, 07:26:23 AM »
Hope you continue to get better!!

I think you're doing everything right but you mentioned breathalyzer in your initial post. If the at fault party was under the influence then that means you MIGHT be able to garnish their future wages and they can't escape it via bankruptcy. Either way I would do a little more (legal) stalking of the person who hit you to determine if they do have assets worth going after. It's not uncommon for lawyers to hire a private investigator to look into these things.

For anyone who drives a car, carry good insurance and put your phones down!

marielle

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Re: confused and overwhelmed- first car accident
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2017, 08:38:16 AM »
Hope you continue to get better!!

I think you're doing everything right but you mentioned breathalyzer in your initial post. If the at fault party was under the influence then that means you MIGHT be able to garnish their future wages and they can't escape it via bankruptcy. Either way I would do a little more (legal) stalking of the person who hit you to determine if they do have assets worth going after. It's not uncommon for lawyers to hire a private investigator to look into these things.

For anyone who drives a car, carry good insurance and put your phones down!

How would that even work? I'm guessing looking at other cars they drive, house, boat, etc? I'd imagine anyone on this forum getting investigated would seem like they were broke. But I guess most of us have high liability limits to protect our assets so it's a moot point.

BobTheBuilder

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Re: confused and overwhelmed- first car accident
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2017, 09:26:41 AM »
Hope you're getting better rymmm!

I maybe a bit late, but your thread title and post sounds a bit alarming regarding traumatic brain injury. It is just a thing I get to see often at work, where colleagues do MRI research on people who got hit on the head hard by car accident/sporting/horses... you name it. Turns out long after the initial symptoms are gone you can still suffer from chronic tiredness, confusion, or even depression. Not trying to sound pessimistic or such, but was that an issue and did it get checked? Wishing all the best!

Dave1442397

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Re: confused and overwhelmed- first car accident
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2017, 01:08:36 PM »
If you buy a car that doesn't have adequate lumbar support, there are aftermarket options that can be easily installed. I used this one in my S2000, which had no factory lumbar adjustment - http://www.sportsimportsltd.com/inseluinairc.html

There are plenty of other options, such as anatomically shaped cushions, etc.

Kroaler

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Re: confused and overwhelmed- first car accident
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2017, 03:51:34 PM »
The one adjuster said hold off on legal counsel.   I dont agree.

A good lawyer will get this squared away.


I think 3x medical bills is where settlements can end up for pain and suffering. 

A good ambulance chaser could make short work of it....

405programmer

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Re: confused and overwhelmed- first car accident
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2017, 01:57:28 PM »
 
How would that even work? I'm guessing looking at other cars they drive, house, boat, etc? I'd imagine anyone on this forum getting investigated would seem like they were broke. But I guess most of us have high liability limits to protect our assets so it's a moot point.

Exactly that. Also some states / counties enable citizens to do public record searches. So you could find out if that person bought a lot of property. It's pretty tough to know if someone has truly significant assets but you can usually get a pretty good litmus test if they've lived in an area very long.

Dicey

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Re: confused and overwhelmed- first car accident
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2017, 02:16:08 PM »
I also learned that the other drivers insurance has agreed to accept 90% liability, and said they would not do 100% unless I make a statement to them on the record. The lawyer advised me against this, and said that it is a trick they use to try to incriminate me to reduce liability-- and that the police report indicates fault well enough that I should not speak with them.

The overall recommendation right now is to keep track of all medical bills and expenses, rest and recover, and then consult with an attorney in the future to see if it is worth asking for a settlement once the numbers are known.
Looks like consulting an attorney has already paid off.

Posting to add that sometimes it's hard to get copies,  so Take Photos of everything and anything. Check to make sure they're clear, so you can read them later or forward them to your attorney.

nwhiker

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Re: confused and overwhelmed- first car accident
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2017, 02:49:44 PM »
Back again and still recommend that you try and resolve this yourself versus hiring an attorney. If you don't feel comfortable fine but otherwise realize that the attorney's contingency fee is typically 33.33% plus cost if the case is settled with court and only goes up from there. Some attorneys will comprise there fees if there are issues with funds available to settle a case.

Regarding your case and the 90% liability split you have two options. One is to talk to them. While they won't try to trick you per se they will ask about your speed, whether you were on the phone, changing the radio station, or otherwise not watching where you doing and thus missed an opportunity to avoid the accident. Barring that you're fine. Plus there are witness statements that tend to more valuable than the occupants of the vehicle. The second option is not to talk to them and have everything go through your insurance on the vehicle side and let them chase the payment.

Either way this is my thoughts on your best way forward. Regardless of whether the other insurer accepts 90% or 100% fault the driver clearly doesn't have enough insurance to cover this loss. You could right now make a demand to the other carrier asking them to pay you their $30,000 in exchange for a release of their client. Since you have PIP under your auto policy and UIM Coverage you would need to alert your insurer and ask that they (1) waive their subrogation rights under the PIP (2) and consent to the underlying settlement. They will typically run an asset check and determine if it is worth pursuing the at fault party (usually not) and typically agree to the settlement.

The one think I am unsure of is whether the UIM is measures against the limits versus damages. I believe it is measured against limits but I could be wrong. If damages are measured against limits then the at fault party has $30,000 in liability coverage and you have $100,000 in UIM coverage, so the underinsured amount is $70,000 and would be the most you could collect. If it is measured by damages then any amount above the $30,000 limit is underinsured and you can also recover the $100,000 under your policy as well.

Whatever way you chose hope you get to feeling better soon.