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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Posts
    1

    Default Compensation for a Pedestrian Hit and Injured by a Car

    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: California

    I was walking across the street and a car making a right turn failed to yield and ended up hitting me. Luckily, I am ok and nothing was broken. I hired a lawyer but wanted a second opinion on what this wonderful community thinks of it. My medical expenses were ~$10,000. My lawyer contact their insurance company and found out that the man is only covered up to $15,000. Unfortunately, our original plan was to request for $30,000. Since the person at fault's coverage is only $15,000, my lawyer is advising me to forget the 30 and only take the 15. He believes if I sue, I won't win and it'll be a waste of money. Thoughts?

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    15,776

    Default Re: A Car Hit Me (Pedestrian

    He's partly right. If you sue you'll be wasting HIS money because he'll have to front money for the lawsuit expenses and the chances of collecting from a person who carries minimum limits are slim so he doesn't want to drag out his payday.

    However, there are two things I suggest you talk to him about.

    1 - Underinsured Motorists Coverage - If you happen to have your own auto insurance policy with Underinsured Motorists Coverage of sufficient limits you should be able to collect additional amounts from your own policy.

    2 - Medical Expenses - Before you agree to any settlement ask your lawyer to negotiate a lien compromise with either your medical providers or your medical insurance company. The more that they waive, the more you get out of the settlement.

    3 - Lawyer fee - If you have the standard contingency agreement where your lawyer gets 1/3 then, without anything else happening, he gets $5K, your medicals get $10K and you get nothing. If that's the case then it's not worth signing a settlement agreement unless he waives all or part of his fee and works on items 1 and 2 as well, so you can maximize your compensation.

    If he's not willing and able to work toward you getting some money for your injury, then just refuse to settle and he gets nothing.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,368

    Default Re: A Car Hit Me (Pedestrian

    The attorney has no incentive to negotiate on his fee. A contingency fee agreement is not rendered invalid merely because a defendant turns out to have little insurance and few assets. If you fire a lawyer after getting a settlement offer, and the policy limits are on the table, the lawyer can assert a lien against the ongoing litigation and can still recover that fee from any eventual settlement or verdict.

    It also makes little sense to go to a lawyer and say, "Even though you will get a very low fee from this case, I want you to voluntarily do extra work for my benefit and also accept even less money as your fee."

    It's generally pretty obvious, whether a defendant is likely to have assets that could be recovered to satisfy an excess judgment (a judgment beyond insurance policy limits) or if they are not likely to have any assets or income that can be reached or would be able to discharge any excess verdict in bankruptcy. Frankly, most people who insure at the lowest possible required level have few assets, and they are often judgment-proof.

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