Category: Insurance

DOING THE MATH

A recent conversation with a person about their expectations on the settlement of their case left me with the concern that many people really do not understand how a settlement or the proceeds of a verdict are to be distributed, so they really don’t have a basis for determining just whether a proposed settlement is a “good” offer to accept.  So here are the facts and realities of your settlement and I will show you the math.   You should understand this process AT THE BEGINNING of your case, so that you know how it will be applied AT THE END.

  1. Usually you and your attorney will have entered into a written retainer agreement with a specified contingency fee, as a percentage of your recovery. If this fee is one-third, then the contingency fee will be calculated on the total amount of the settlement.
  1. There will usually have been costs that your attorney will have expended for you during the life of your case, such as expenses for medical records to be copied, costs for police reports, filing fees for court, deposition costs, expert witness costs and similar expenses necessary to process the claim to get it to the insurance company or to trial. These costs are actually your expenses, so the attorney will expect these to be reimbursed from the settlement amounts.
  1. During the course of your case you will no doubt have had medical treatment and you are ultimately responsible to the medical provider to pay the bills for that care. Some of you may have health insurance or some other source of payment, but if there are remaining balances due to those providers, they should be paid from the settlement so that you don’t have future liability.  Many statutes, such as Virginia, provide the medical providers with a limited lien to protect their ability to collect DIRECTLY from your attorney, and some medical providers have the patient sign a document that gives the provider a broad lien.
  1. Under some circumstances the health insurer that paid your bills, or government health care providers (Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, Military) will have a federal statutory lien that must be repaid from your settlement. Also in the event that your injury occurred while you were on the job, the worker’s compensation carrier that paid you will also have a lien for partial recovery.
  1. Although the bad news seems to be that everyone wants a piece of your settlement, the good news is that almost every element described above IS NEGOTIABLE, and your attorney will usually strive to maximize your net settlement proceeds as part of his responsibility to you as the client.

So here is the math in an ordinary case:

Gross Settlement Proceeds from Insurance Company        $20,000.00

Less Amounts to be Recovered:

Attorney’s Fees (1/3 contingency)                              $6,666.67

Costs:  Hospital Records                                                   24.00

Radiology Records                                                 16.00

Police Crash Report                                                10.00

General District Court Filing fee                              48.00

Service of Suit                                                         12.00

 

   6,776.67

Less Amounts to be Paid To Others:

Hospital Emergency Department                                    2,350.00

Emergency Physicians                                                         85.00

Dr. Primary Care                                                                 400.00

Physical Therapy Center                                                  1,125.00

Medicare Lien Payment                                                             1,485

  5,445.00

Total Deductions                                                                       $12,221.67

Net Settlement Proceeds to Client                                           $  7,778.33

Although a client might be “impressed” when hearing the amount of a settlement offer from an insurance company, the ONLY important number for the client is the net settlement.  That sum is what the client receives as compensation for what they went through as a result of their injury, and sometimes, what they might have to go through forever.

Understand the elements of your settlement, make sure your attorney is clear with you about what MUST BE PAID, and what MAY BE PAID, have your attorney secure all available reductions or discounts that may be offered, and THEN, you can make an intelligent decision about what is in your best interests.

That is what we do at SANDLER LAW GROUP, in every case, every time.  It is what you deserve and what you should expect.  If you have any questions about what will happen at the end of your claim, ASK ABOUT IT! Call us toll free at 800-9-THE-LAW or (757) 627-8900 to schedule an initial FREE consultation. You may also email us at GSandler@Sandlerlaw.net to get started.

 

 

They Are Not Your Friends

Dealing with the other guys insurance company.

Is there anyone out there that still believes that the insurance company for the person that caused you harm is really going to help you out?  The business model of insurance companies is simple, take in as much money as possible through premiums and pay out as little as they can through claims. It’s how they make a profit.

My video blog explains exactly how to handle this situation.

Large Truck Crashes in Virginia

Large trucks on the highway pose a significant threat to drivers of passenger cars. Although the trucks account for only four percent of registered vehicles nationwide, they account for nine percent of vehicles involved in fatal car crashes.

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In 2013, there were approximately 342,000 accidents involving large trucks, resulting in 3,964 fatalities. In those fatal wrecks, the person killed was an occupant of the other vehicle 71 percent of the time! The truck driver was killed only 17 percent of the time. Injuries from large truck wrecks are very similar. The injured parties are occupants of the other vehicle 72 percent of the time.

In Virginia, there were 1001 vehicles involved in fatal crashes in 2013, 100 of which were large trucks. Of the 89 people killed in these wrecks involving large trucks, 24 were occupants of the truck, while 61 were occupants of the other vehicle, and four were not occupants of either vehicle.

Nationwide, the majority of wrecks involving large trucks occur when the roads are most populated. Sixty-four percent of wrecks happen on weekdays, and 73 percent occur between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Alcohol is rarely an issue with truck drivers. In fatal large truck crashes in 2013, only two percent of the truck drivers had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. Drivers of passenger cars involved in fatal crashes had a BAC of .08 or higher 23 percent of the time.

Collisions with big trucks are obviously something to be avoided. To do so, it helps to recognize the types of truck driver errors that most often contribute to wrecks. According to Virginia’s 2014 crash statistics, truck drivers were cited for a moving violation in 5,151 of the 9,750 crashes. Sixteen percent of those violations were for improper lane changes, and another 16 percent were for following too closely. Nine percent were for failure to yield the right of way.

These types of actions by truck drivers indicate two defensive strategies for passenger car drivers: 1) assume the driver of a big truck cannot see you due to blind spots, and 2) get out of the way. In a passenger car, you can’t afford to come into contact with a big rig. You might have the right of way, but that is of little consequence when 4,000 pounds goes up against 80,000 pounds! And the trucker might be wrongfully tailgating, but moving over and letting him pass is always the best play.

If you’ve been injured in a car wreck with a large truck, you should consult with an experienced, compassionate personal injury attorney who understands Virginia law. To learn more, ASK ABOUT IT! Call Sandler Law Group – toll free 800-9-THE-LAW or (757) 627-8900 to schedule an initial FREE consultation. You may also contact us online at www.sandlerlaw.net or by email at GSandler@Sandlerlaw.net.

$18 Million – What Happens When They Really AREN’T On Your Side

The next time that you hear one of the multitude of commercials on television, where the kindly spokesperson tells you that their insurance company wants to be your friend and that they are there to help you like your best buddy, feel free to yell back at the TV, because you won’t want to believe this.

After a 16 year fight, and 2 trials, a Judge in Pennsylvania ruled that Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company had violated the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, and had acted in Bad Faith, when it, get this, dragged out a vehicle property damage claim, for 18 YEARS, and spent $2.5 Million in legal fees to avoid paying a claim of LESS THAN $25,000.00.  No this is not one of those “made up Stella award” cases.  This is the result in the case of Berg v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., PICS No. 14-0999, in the Berks County Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania, issued recently.

BELIEVE IT!!! Continue reading “$18 Million – What Happens When They Really AREN’T On Your Side”