Rear-Ended By Drunk Driver: Leads to Surgery, Large Settlement
Published On: February 11, 2008
How horrific it was for my client, Mrs. F., an innocent woman legally slowing down for a stop to be suddenly, and without warning, be rear-ended by a drunk driver. Otherwise in great health, this lovely lady’s life was turned asunder by the flagrant disregard of a guy who was more concerned with his afternoon cocktails than the safety of other people on the road on which he drove.
The physical impact to Mrs. F’s car was so severe that it was deemed a total loss. In particular, the insurance company felt that it would cost more to repair her car than the $30,000 that it would cost to replace it!
Mrs. F., was so seriously injured that she required neck surgery to remove and replace the discs in her cervical spine at two different levels in an effort to relieve the symptoms of the herniated discs in her neck. The herniations were deemed to have been caused by this accident.
Medical Bills: Over $100,000.The drunk driver’s insurance policy had a limit of $25,000 which was paid very quickly to Mrs. F. However, what to do when her medical bills and pain and suffering far exceeded the drunk’s policy limits? Fortunately, Mrs. F. was savvy enough to have Uninsured Motorist Coverage which is also known as Underinsured Motorist Coverage with a limit of $500,000. Simply put, Mrs. F’s insurance policy “stepped into the shoes” of the drunk driver and treated this case as though they were insuring the drunk driver.
Our office prepared a detailed settlement demand package which included all of the details of the accident, injuries, treatment (and all relevant medical reports, surgical reports, treatment reports) and what Mrs. F could now expect in her future. With that in mind, we demanded the entire $500,000 from Mrs. F’s insurance own company under the provisions of her Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Policy. Due to the severity of the injuries, her insurance company tendered the entire $500,000 less a credit for the $25,000 that she received from the drunk driver’s insurance carrier.
I routinely advise my clients that it is imperative that they carry as much automobile insurance as they can afford — and very importantly, Uninsured Motorist Coverage. I hope that what happened to Mrs. F. never happens to you but, in the event that it does, it is best to be covered to the greatest extent possible. In another posting I will discuss Medical Payments Coverage.