My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: Virginia
My daughter's 19 y.o. friend was in a single car auto accident 11/4/08. There were at least 6 teens in the car, some not wearing seatbelts. The accident was caused by the driver supposedly driving dangerously (showing off-speeding and weaving on the road) and lost control of a car, hitting a pole. She suffered head and neck injuries and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Medical bills total $3000. I think diagnosis was a whiplash type injury. She currently does not work so no lost wages. Was in pain for several days after accident with no apparent long term injuries.
Initial contact from the driver's insurance company stated that they were going to send her a check for $22,000 for medical bills and pain and suffering by Dec. 5. When check did not arrive when promised, called the insurance company today and she was then told they would pay only her medical bills and $400 for pain and suffering because multiple statements given by others in car that she was not wearing a seatbelt.
Initially after the accident, several kids left the scene before police arrived and when they were located later, claimed not to have been in car (including the driver who stated he had loaned his car to my daughter's friend, which was not true). To top off the whole mess, I believe the majority of the teens in this car had been drinking to some extent and that is why most tried to avoid any contact or statements to the police for fear of arrests. Plus the driver already has legal issues from a prior accident in Feb 08
So, my question is what my daughter's friend's expectation should be for a fair settlement above the medical bills and if an insurance company can limit the settlement to a passenger based on the fact they didn't have a seatbelt on.
One other note, this driver is insured through an insurance company with the military. The driver is currently on leave of absence for prior major car accident in Feb 08 that has left him with some serious medical issues. This accident was also due to driver being reckless.