Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > USA
Reload this Page >

Auto Accident Claim - Sue or Not?

Auto Accident Claim - Sue or Not?

Old Feb 28th 2007, 2:04 pm
  #1  
joycey
Thread Starter
 
joyceygreen's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: London
Posts: 110
joyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud of
Red face Auto Accident Claim - Sue or Not?

My husband and I have have a dilemma about how to move forward with an Auto Accident Claim and I would be grateful to have some thoughts and ideas from the Brit Team in America (you lot). I will list some facts, which may help you first and then describe the dilemma, can I ask that the thread isn't hijacked or that we are criticized for anything we should have done, as this will probably not help us in our decision making:

My husband was on his motorbike in Nov 2006, travelling to the Airport to fly to Dallas for work (yes, he was on Workers Comp for 3 months). An older lady pulled out in front of him, he sailed through the air and landed on the road with a shattered patella and broken wrist. He was airlifted to hospital and she was charged with the offence by the local Police. A man travelling behind my husband was an excellent witness and saw everything. My husband was very lucky to have survived. He was wearing full biker gear apart from his leather trousers (hence the injury).

The lady has $50,000 'exposure' which we have a right to claim for from her Insurance Company and my husband had no coverage for someone being underinsured.

I estimate my husbands injury to be worth approx $350,000+ and this is based on a very simple formula of approx 3 x the medical costs and looking at similar reults on the Internet.

On the advice of my husbands surgeon, we sought the help of an Attorney, who has done nothing so far that we couldn't do. E.g. Negotiate the settlement of the cost of the bike and personal items that were damaged. Infact, so far we haven't even had the bike money yet. His bill was based on an hourly rate.

We have now released him from duty as we were unsure of how we were going to pursue our claim, as this lady owns a house which is worth only $100,000 and we do not know if she has any other assets.

Should we just pursue the $50,000 from the Inusrance Company ourselves and keep most of it? They will pay up immediately because of the severity of my husbands injuries or do we 'Sue' the Lady for $350,000+ through an Attorney who will keep 33%? If say, he is awarded $350,000+ the Insurance Co will pay $50,000 and then a 'Lien' will be put on her house (she could live for years and years - she's only 73 years old)...we are unaware of any other assets. PLUS....AIG (who have been paying all medical bills) will no doubt put a Lien on any significant amount of money that we manage to obtain. They may very likely overlook a claim of $50,000 as we can prove that so far this accident has cost us about $20,000 in lost earning (I had to give up my nice little job, where I was very happy) and my husband lost 5 days leave and some of his bonus, plus we have had other expenses like the wheelchair, special clothing (trousers that were cut up the leg to accomodate his huge cast), parking etc. etc. This doesn't even go into pain and suffering, for which, the list goes on and on and on...

My husband is doing well, he has graduated from a wreck in a wheelchair, having undergone very painful surgery, to a guy who can now walk round in a stick (he is yet to start Rehab). He is even 'back at work' (working from home, thank goodness). However, we don't know the long term prognosis of whether he will limp forever (he's only 40 years old), have terrbile arthritis or will one day need a total knee replacement - neither does the Surgeon at this point.

If we pursue the $50,000 and accept it, it appears we forfeit any opporunity to 'Sue' the lady.

What do you think?

Are there any Websites I could go to to find out exactly what this lady is worth? (The House price, I got from the Real Estate MLS site - that was back in November - she could have signed her house away to her daughter by now)?

Are there any websites for free legal advice or related forums in the US?

Could we Sue the lady ourselves without an Attorney? I no longer work and have the time to pursue it.

Any help from my Brit Pals would be much appreciated (as always).

Cheers, Joyce
joyceygreen is offline  
Old Feb 28th 2007, 2:21 pm
  #2  
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Apr 2006
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 235
bettyboop80 has a reputation beyond reputebettyboop80 has a reputation beyond reputebettyboop80 has a reputation beyond reputebettyboop80 has a reputation beyond reputebettyboop80 has a reputation beyond reputebettyboop80 has a reputation beyond reputebettyboop80 has a reputation beyond reputebettyboop80 has a reputation beyond reputebettyboop80 has a reputation beyond reputebettyboop80 has a reputation beyond reputebettyboop80 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Auto Accident Claim - Sue or Not?

I dont see why a broken wrist and knee would cause $350,000 in damages or cause you to have to give up your job??

My first impression is you are becoming sue-happy...would you really even consider suing a little old lady if you were still in england??
bettyboop80 is offline  
Old Feb 28th 2007, 2:25 pm
  #3  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 13,585
anotherlimey has a reputation beyond reputeanotherlimey has a reputation beyond reputeanotherlimey has a reputation beyond reputeanotherlimey has a reputation beyond reputeanotherlimey has a reputation beyond reputeanotherlimey has a reputation beyond reputeanotherlimey has a reputation beyond reputeanotherlimey has a reputation beyond reputeanotherlimey has a reputation beyond reputeanotherlimey has a reputation beyond reputeanotherlimey has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Auto Accident Claim - Sue or Not?

Originally Posted by joyceygreen View Post
shattered patella
You should just cook another one...
anotherlimey is offline  
Old Feb 28th 2007, 2:33 pm
  #4  
joycey
Thread Starter
 
joyceygreen's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: London
Posts: 110
joyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud of
Default Re: Auto Accident Claim - Sue or Not?

How do you look after someone who at one stage was bedridden, without family around and with two kids to look after without giving up your job? Get real.

How would you feel to see your husband go from a robust man to a wreck? If you read the thread properly, you will see that we do not know the long term prognosis.

I couldn't give a *hit about that old lady, she was very lucky that she wasn't hurt at all and yes, if my family was hurt in a similar way in the UK I would damn well sue - the same as you probably would - this thread has nothing to do with Brits vs Americans. I just know that I can rely on (some) of the Brits on this site to come up with some good ideas.
joyceygreen is offline  
Old Feb 28th 2007, 2:34 pm
  #5  
Bugger Off!
 
Silly Sod's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2006
Location: Michigan
Posts: 2,858
Silly Sod has a reputation beyond reputeSilly Sod has a reputation beyond reputeSilly Sod has a reputation beyond reputeSilly Sod has a reputation beyond reputeSilly Sod has a reputation beyond reputeSilly Sod has a reputation beyond reputeSilly Sod has a reputation beyond reputeSilly Sod has a reputation beyond reputeSilly Sod has a reputation beyond reputeSilly Sod has a reputation beyond reputeSilly Sod has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Auto Accident Claim - Sue or Not?

Originally Posted by joyceygreen View Post
My husband and I have have a dilemma about how to move forward with an Auto Accident Claim and I would be grateful to have some thoughts and ideas from the Brit Team in America (you lot). I will list some facts, which may help you first and then describe the dilemma, can I ask that the thread isn't hijacked or that we are criticized for anything we should have done, as this will probably not help us in our decision making:

My husband was on his motorbike in Nov 2006, travelling to the Airport to fly to Dallas for work (yes, he was on Workers Comp for 3 months). An older lady pulled out in front of him, he sailed through the air and landed on the road with a shattered patella and broken wrist. He was airlifted to hospital and she was charged with the offence by the local Police. A man travelling behind my husband was an excellent witness and saw everything. My husband was very lucky to have survived. He was wearing full biker gear apart from his leather trousers (hence the injury).

The lady has $50,000 'exposure' which we have a right to claim for from her Insurance Company and my husband had no coverage for someone being underinsured.

I estimate my husbands injury to be worth approx $350,000+ and this is based on a very simple formula of approx 3 x the medical costs and looking at similar reults on the Internet.

On the advice of my husbands surgeon, we sought the help of an Attorney, who has done nothing so far that we couldn't do. E.g. Negotiate the settlement of the cost of the bike and personal items that were damaged. Infact, so far we haven't even had the bike money yet. His bill was based on an hourly rate.

We have now released him from duty as we were unsure of how we were going to pursue our claim, as this lady owns a house which is worth only $100,000 and we do not know if she has any other assets.

Should we just pursue the $50,000 from the Inusrance Company ourselves and keep most of it? They will pay up immediately because of the severity of my husbands injuries or do we 'Sue' the Lady for $350,000+ through an Attorney who will keep 33%? If say, he is awarded $350,000+ the Insurance Co will pay $50,000 and then a 'Lien' will be put on her house (she could live for years and years - she's only 73 years old)...we are unaware of any other assets. PLUS....AIG (who have been paying all medical bills) will no doubt put a Lien on any significant amount of money that we manage to obtain. They may very likely overlook a claim of $50,000 as we can prove that so far this accident has cost us about $20,000 in lost earning (I had to give up my nice little job, where I was very happy) and my husband lost 5 days leave and some of his bonus, plus we have had other expenses like the wheelchair, special clothing (trousers that were cut up the leg to accomodate his huge cast), parking etc. etc. This doesn't even go into pain and suffering, for which, the list goes on and on and on...

My husband is doing well, he has graduated from a wreck in a wheelchair, having undergone very painful surgery, to a guy who can now walk round in a stick (he is yet to start Rehab). He is even 'back at work' (working from home, thank goodness). However, we don't know the long term prognosis of whether he will limp forever (he's only 40 years old), have terrbile arthritis or will one day need a total knee replacement - neither does the Surgeon at this point.

If we pursue the $50,000 and accept it, it appears we forfeit any opporunity to 'Sue' the lady.

What do you think?

Are there any Websites I could go to to find out exactly what this lady is worth? (The House price, I got from the Real Estate MLS site - that was back in November - she could have signed her house away to her daughter by now)?

Are there any websites for free legal advice or related forums in the US?

Could we Sue the lady ourselves without an Attorney? I no longer work and have the time to pursue it.

Any help from my Brit Pals would be much appreciated (as always).

Cheers, Joyce
Sue that biatch back to the stoneage I say!!!
Silly Sod is offline  
Old Feb 28th 2007, 2:38 pm
  #6  
BE Forum Addict
 
Texas Mom's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: EK to DFW
Posts: 1,725
Texas Mom has a reputation beyond reputeTexas Mom has a reputation beyond reputeTexas Mom has a reputation beyond reputeTexas Mom has a reputation beyond reputeTexas Mom has a reputation beyond reputeTexas Mom has a reputation beyond reputeTexas Mom has a reputation beyond reputeTexas Mom has a reputation beyond reputeTexas Mom has a reputation beyond reputeTexas Mom has a reputation beyond reputeTexas Mom has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Auto Accident Claim - Sue or Not?

This whole suing situation in this country scares the sh*t out of me!
You have to do what you believe in your heart is the right thing to do.
As you say you have to look at the long term picture and how many more bonuses is your husband going to miss out on as he's not yet fully recovered if he ever will be.
Sorry no constructive advice here but best wishes to you and your family for a speedy recovery for your hubby!
Texas Mom is offline  
Old Feb 28th 2007, 2:46 pm
  #7  
joycey
Thread Starter
 
joyceygreen's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: London
Posts: 110
joyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud of
Default Re: Auto Accident Claim - Sue or Not?

Thank you Texas Mom. I will tell you the one bonus thing about this whole tragedy is that my husband has been at home and has become closer to the kids, my older son's grades have gone up at school and my smaller one has learnt that the whole world doesn't just revolve around him!

It's really not the money, it's the uncertainty for the future and his long term mobility that I'm more concerned about. Our American friends have been absolute bricks and have become our 'family' in the process.

We even thought about going home for a while, but have decided to stick it out for a few more years atleast...see how we get on. If my husband needs a future total knee replacement, I would want it done here..
joyceygreen is offline  
Old Feb 28th 2007, 2:51 pm
  #8  
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Apr 2006
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 235
bettyboop80 has a reputation beyond reputebettyboop80 has a reputation beyond reputebettyboop80 has a reputation beyond reputebettyboop80 has a reputation beyond reputebettyboop80 has a reputation beyond reputebettyboop80 has a reputation beyond reputebettyboop80 has a reputation beyond reputebettyboop80 has a reputation beyond reputebettyboop80 has a reputation beyond reputebettyboop80 has a reputation beyond reputebettyboop80 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Auto Accident Claim - Sue or Not?

Originally Posted by joyceygreen View Post
How do you look after someone who at one stage was bedridden, without family around and with two kids to look after without giving up your job? Get real.

How would you feel to see your husband go from a robust man to a wreck? If you read the thread properly, you will see that we do not know the long term prognosis.

I couldn't give a *hit about that old lady, she was very lucky that she wasn't hurt at all and yes, if my family was hurt in a similar way in the UK I would damn well sue - the same as you probably would - this thread has nothing to do with Brits vs Americans. I just know that I can rely on (some) of the Brits on this site to come up with some good ideas.
Well you obviously already have decided you need to sue, so go ahead.

I HAVE read the thread properly and I just fail to see how a broken knee can cause someone to be a 'wreck'.

I also dont think i would sue....accidents happen and i think thats a risk you take when you are riding a motorcycle.

Last edited by bettyboop80; Feb 28th 2007 at 3:07 pm.
bettyboop80 is offline  
Old Feb 28th 2007, 2:53 pm
  #9  
BE Forum Addict
 
Texas Mom's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: EK to DFW
Posts: 1,725
Texas Mom has a reputation beyond reputeTexas Mom has a reputation beyond reputeTexas Mom has a reputation beyond reputeTexas Mom has a reputation beyond reputeTexas Mom has a reputation beyond reputeTexas Mom has a reputation beyond reputeTexas Mom has a reputation beyond reputeTexas Mom has a reputation beyond reputeTexas Mom has a reputation beyond reputeTexas Mom has a reputation beyond reputeTexas Mom has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Auto Accident Claim - Sue or Not?

Originally Posted by joyceygreen View Post
Thank you Texas Mom. I will tell you the one bonus thing about this whole tragedy is that my husband has been at home and has become closer to the kids, my older son's grades have gone up at school and my smaller one has learnt that the whole world doesn't just revolve around him!

It's really not the money, it's the uncertainty for the future and his long term mobility that I'm more concerned about. Our American friends have been absolute bricks and have become our 'family' in the process.

We even thought about going home for a while, but have decided to stick it out for a few more years atleast...see how we get on. If my husband needs a future total knee replacement, I would want it done here..
I totally understand what you're saying. If it was me I think I would need to sue as my husband is the only one is the house working. I suppose you don't really know what you would do until you are put in that situation.

Why should you give up on your new lives here because of a temporary set back, ok you don't know how long you'll be set back but your life is here now!
On the good side it's good to hear that your kids are benefitting from having dad around.

My grandfather had a knee replacement on the NHS a few years back and it was a nightmare. So much so that he was supposed to get the other one done and he wouldn't go back. He had to wait a long time for it and they weren't going to give it to him as they deemed him too young at 61.
Texas Mom is offline  
Old Feb 28th 2007, 3:24 pm
  #10  
Gotta have more cowbell
 
HoosierDaddy's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2004
Location: Hoosier State
Posts: 1,180
HoosierDaddy has a reputation beyond reputeHoosierDaddy has a reputation beyond reputeHoosierDaddy has a reputation beyond reputeHoosierDaddy has a reputation beyond reputeHoosierDaddy has a reputation beyond reputeHoosierDaddy has a reputation beyond reputeHoosierDaddy has a reputation beyond reputeHoosierDaddy has a reputation beyond reputeHoosierDaddy has a reputation beyond reputeHoosierDaddy has a reputation beyond reputeHoosierDaddy has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Auto Accident Claim - Sue or Not?

How much are you actually out of pocket? I know he must have lost wages but presumably he's on some sort of long term disability? Are the medical bills being paid or simply piling up?

Hell yeah I would sue.
When in Rome.....
HoosierDaddy is offline  
Old Feb 28th 2007, 3:25 pm
  #11  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Boiler's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2004
Location: Colorado
Posts: 32,959
Boiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Auto Accident Claim - Sue or Not?

You can not sue the Insurance Company, they have no contractual arrangement with you.

You take action against the person who was negligent and caused it.

Assuming that the evidence supports you, expect the Insurance Comany to pay their $50,000 and walk, otherwise they will be in for legal costs, no point them incurring anything if it is clear that the total is well over their exposure.

And then it is down to what assets she has, clear assets anyway.

A lot of this is State law specific, but you could probably expect her to declare bankruptcy which usually allows you to keep certain key assets. The house may be mortgaged. So you need to know if this is worth it, you can not get blood out of a stone.

Welcome to America.

Not wishing to have a go, but a classic example of the need for Uninsured/Underinsured coverage.
Boiler is offline  
Old Feb 28th 2007, 3:34 pm
  #12  
 
Sugarmooma's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2003
Location: Texas
Posts: 18,356
Sugarmooma has a reputation beyond reputeSugarmooma has a reputation beyond reputeSugarmooma has a reputation beyond reputeSugarmooma has a reputation beyond reputeSugarmooma has a reputation beyond reputeSugarmooma has a reputation beyond reputeSugarmooma has a reputation beyond reputeSugarmooma has a reputation beyond reputeSugarmooma has a reputation beyond reputeSugarmooma has a reputation beyond reputeSugarmooma has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Auto Accident Claim - Sue or Not?

Originally Posted by Boiler View Post

Not wishing to have a go, but a classic example of the need for Uninsured/Underinsured coverage.

Too true. Especially when riding a motorcycle. Any good insurance company will stress this point when you sign with them. It may sound like a money maker for them but it could well be invaluable.

Lots of drivers have a blind spot when it comes to motorcycle riders. We have had some close calls..
Sugarmooma is offline  
Old Feb 28th 2007, 3:35 pm
  #13  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
dakota44's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 26,128
dakota44 has a reputation beyond reputedakota44 has a reputation beyond reputedakota44 has a reputation beyond reputedakota44 has a reputation beyond reputedakota44 has a reputation beyond reputedakota44 has a reputation beyond reputedakota44 has a reputation beyond reputedakota44 has a reputation beyond reputedakota44 has a reputation beyond reputedakota44 has a reputation beyond reputedakota44 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Auto Accident Claim - Sue or Not?

I won't presume to answer..other than to say that if you sue, through an attorney, a woman who basically has nothing but her home....and probably an old age pension...what are you going to end up with besides a big legal bill? Not much I would think.. And law suits can drag out for years.

This is an example of States being too lenient on insurance requirements. In Florida, for example, you can get by with the minimum of $10,000 personal liability and $10,000 property damage. Rediculous. I have a million dollars of pl/pd here. But Insurance in the U.S. is brutally expensive, and thus low coverage permitted...because otherwise even more people would go without.

By the way...that Florida coverage cost me $460 for a van for my wife. A million dollars in coverage in Ontario costs me a little over $500 Canadian. Go figure.
dakota44 is offline  
Old Feb 28th 2007, 3:45 pm
  #14  
joycey
Thread Starter
 
joyceygreen's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: London
Posts: 110
joyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud ofjoyceygreen has much to be proud of
Default Re: Auto Accident Claim - Sue or Not?

Oh boy - you are all right about the 'underinsured' bit. I think when we took out our insurances, we just thought about medical bill coverage and that would be that - we didn't think in terms of 'pain and suffering' or possible long term disability.

I think it is highly likely that we will go it alone with the Insurance Co. to get the $50,000. The only additional worry is that AEG will want some compensation from paying the medical bills so far, which would wipe out the $50,000 instantly. We need to find out from them, what they would do. So far we are out of pocket by $20,000, which we can easily prove.

We really don't want this hanging around our heads forever and you can't get blood out of a stone. Even if we managae to sue, we may be in a long line of people with 'Liens' on this lady's property. I know that if I had been her, I would have signed my house over immediately to one of my grown children, just so no-one could get their paws on it.

Our insurance on our car leaves us with exposure of $300,000, which I may increase, after what has happened to us.
joyceygreen is offline  
Old Feb 28th 2007, 3:49 pm
  #15  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Oct 2004
Location: The Big Apple
Posts: 1,834
Big D has a reputation beyond reputeBig D has a reputation beyond reputeBig D has a reputation beyond reputeBig D has a reputation beyond reputeBig D has a reputation beyond reputeBig D has a reputation beyond reputeBig D has a reputation beyond reputeBig D has a reputation beyond reputeBig D has a reputation beyond reputeBig D has a reputation beyond reputeBig D has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Auto Accident Claim - Sue or Not?

Its a tough one - although I think you need to look at what you are actually out of pocket and the likely future costs. As has already been said it probably isnt worth suing her so that probably answers your question for you.

I dont understand your point about your husband being on workers comp - at the time of the accident or now?
Big D is offline  

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.