It is an all-too-common scenario. A client is injured in a collision. The injuries are severe, even crippling in some ways. The client seeks treatment, and it is helpful. But the injuries are permanent. The pain just will not go away, and it affects virtually every aspect of life. To top it off, the other driver does not have a lot of insurance, and the client does not have a lot of underinsured motorist coverage. The money gets offered, but the pain and disability remain.
What Can We Do When the Money is Not Enough?
No amount of money can fix a person's permanent injuries and disabilities. As personal injury lawyers, we can pursue compensation for your injuries. We can work for as much compensation for injuries as possible, and we can work to shield that compensation from others for you. We cannot take the pain away.
When There is Not Enough Money to Compensate Me, What are My Options?
There are many limitations on what you can do. This is the collectability problem. When all the insurance available is offered, the choice is either to accept the money and move on in life or to pursue more. I usually recommend accepting the money. Pursuing more than the available insurance means going after the other driver's personal assets. This course is often too uncertain, too expensive, and there are too many protections, such as the bankruptcy courts, to make it worthwhile.
What if I Need More Medical Treatment? Will the Case Pay That?
Every person bears the up-front costs of their medical expenses in a personal injury case. That is generally paid from a personal injury protection (PIP) policy or health insurance. You seek reimbursement for the medical bills from the other driver's insurance, but the insurance will not directly pay your medical bills. Once the auto insurance claim is settled, you still bear the costs of your medical expenses. Your health insurance is there to help with that.
Is it all Bad News?
That depends, in large part, on how you choose to receive the above information. We do not have a system of perfect justice. That would mean time-traveling and preventing the collision that harmed the client. But we do have a system that allows some type of justice. That means pursuing reasonable compensation for your injuries, within certain limits. If you can make peace with that concept, you may have an easier time moving forward from the undeniably tragic event that happened to you.