In fact, it rarely happens.
I did not expect it to happen this quickly.
However, within two weeks of taking on this claim, I was able to settle it.
Let me share with you how...
She was going straight doing approximately 40 mph.
It was a commercial area.
It was daytime.
In perfect weather.
Two lanes of moving traffic for each side of the road.
There were stores on each side of the road.
There were driveways for cars to go into the stores.
He was coming from the opposite direction.
He wanted to make a left-hand turn.
There was no traffic light or traffic signal for where he wanted to turn left.
Except he didn't.
He thought he could outrun the oncoming car.
He thought he could turn before the oncoming car was close.
He was wrong.
As he made his left-hand turn, within a fraction of a second, the front of my client's car hit the passenger door of his car.
He was careless.
He was negligent.
He failed to yield.
He failed to give the right of way someone traveling straight.
She couldn't get out of the car.
An ambulance had to be called.
The fire department had to be called.
The fire department had to extricate her using hydraulic power tools.
She had fractures.
Broken bones in her leg.
Broken bones in her arm.
She had lacerations.
She barely remembered the impact.
She did remember waking up in the emergency room.
She didn't remember the firemen peeling her out of her car.
She didn't remember being in the ambulance going to the hospital.
She did remember the pain.
Pain in every part of her body.
The nurse asked her whether she was wearing a seat belt.
She was told she was in a car accident.
She began to remember details as she was in the emergency room.
She kept asking nurses and doctors why the other driver made a left turn directly in front of her.
They couldn't answer.
The driver of the other car was nowhere to be seen.
He wasn't in the hospital.
He was home.
But she wasn't.
She was in the hospital getting emergency medical treatment.
Then with contrast.
One trauma doctor came in.
One surgeon came in.
An orthopedic surgeon came in.
All to evaluate her injuries.
A driver who was in a rush to make a left hand turn.
A few days later, she called me. I had represented her family in a wrongful death lawsuit years earlier.
She asked for my help.
She asked if I could meet her in the hospital.
She was going to be transferred to a physical rehabilitation center where she would be there for at least one month.
I listened to her story.
I listened to what happened to her from her vantage point.
I walked away from that meeting truly believing that the other driver was careless.
From what she remembered, there is no doubt that this other driver violated her right of way and was careless.
His timing was off.
But I still needed to do a detailed investigation to evaluate whether all of these facts were true.
Within a few days I had obtained the police report.
The police report confirmed everything my client had said.
There was no doubt that the other driver was careless.
There was no doubt the other driver was 100% at fault for causing my client's injuries.
I told them I represented this woman who was driving straight, minding her own business.
I told them I would be submitting copies of all of her medical records.
I told them she was going into physical rehabilitation for the next month and there would definitely be ongoing medical care and likely surgery in the future.
I also sent them permission slips, commonly known as HIPPA authorizations, that would allow the insurance company to get copies of my client's medical records.
According to their computer records, they indicated that the driver of the other car had only $100,000 worth of automobile insurance.
I then asked the insurance company to speak to their client and find out if he had any additional excess insurance or umbrella policy.
I knew immediately that my client's injuries had a value far in excess of $100,000.
That's why it was critical for me to determine whether there was any additional insurance coverage available in the form of some type of excess insurance policy or umbrella policy.
In the event there was no additional insurance, I needed the insurance company to get a sworn affidavit from their client confirming that fact.
I immediately sent those over to the insurance company who represented the other driver.
At the same time, I also sent a demand letter along with those medical records.
My demand letter was a demand to settle this case, NOW.
In the letter, I described the full extent of my client's injuries.
I also described briefly that the driver of the other car, the one they insured, was 100% at fault for causing this accident.
I established quickly that the value of my client's injuries were clearly in excess of $500,000.
Within just a few days of sending this letter, I received a reply from the insurance company.
They had reviewed the police report.
They had spoken to their driver.
They had reviewed the medical records I had sent to them.
They agreed with everything I said in my demand letter.
In other words, there was no way they could defend any part of this case.
They also knew from a review of the medical records that my client's injuries were clearly worth much more than the $100,000 of insurance that their client had.
Because of the severity of my client's injuries, they knew they could not fight us and try and minimize the amount of money they would have to pay out on this particular claim.
You should know that in most cases where there is available insurance, the insurance company and their defense attorneys will do everything possible to try and minimize the amount of money they are legally required to pay in order to settle or resolve your case prior to trial.
The defense will often argue these three common defenses:
Those defenses can be very effective when used correctly in an accident case or a medical malpractice case or even a wrongful death case.
In our case however, the insurance company quickly realized that they could not use Defense #1.
The police report surrounding this event confirmed that their driver failed to yield the right-of-way.
He failed to timely recognize my client's oncoming car.
The insurance company also was unable to use Defense 2.
They could not show that my client was in any way responsible for causing or contributing to this accident.
She was driving straight.
She had the right of way.
With regard to Defense #3, the insurance company knew that the severity of her injuries including her fractures, lacerations, the need for many weeks in the hospital and months of physical rehabilitation had a value far in excess of $500,000.
Since their client had only $100,000 in insurance, there was no way they could try and nickel and dime us into accepting less than the full value of their insurance policy.
In their reply letter to me, they quickly agreed to release the full amount of their insurance policy as full and final settlement of this case.
However, before I could agree to accept the $100,000, I needed that affidavit from their client confirming that he had no additional excess insurance policy. I received that shortly afterward along with their check for $100,000.