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State of AZ Auto Accident with 4 injured 3 Claimants and Me in CA

Discussion in 'Auto Accidents, Injuries' started by Andrew Valdez, Apr 29, 2021.

  1. Andrew Valdez

    Andrew Valdez Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    I'm looking for advice for my son who just turned 18. He was in an auto accident while at school in AZ. At the time if it matters he was only 17, basically we were contacted by a lawyer representing the other injured parties and told that the insurance company has made a settlement offer but it must include my son as well.
    This is what he said "I have negotiated this claim to reach the maximum insured limit of $300,000 in which i have placed the following numbers $100,000 for 1 injured who was hospitalized for 3 days, $100,000 for another hospitalized for 1 week and that leaves $100,000 for my last client and you."
    He said that my son needed my signature on the settlement as well.
    My son told him ok does that me 50/50 the attorney said no we are only willing to settle your medical expenses and small pain in suffering. My son immediately said no my injuries were worse then your clients so stop being greedy.
    The attorney then asked to speak with me and my son, I have not met with him as of yet and not sure that I should. We did not pursue a case because the driver was my sons best friend and we were not looking for a pay day. However if there settlement is contingent on my son agreeing then I guess we have no choice.
    My son position is that if someone who claims they broke there hand but was out partying the next day with no brace or cast is getting $50K then his herniated disk at C2 and slipped vertebrae at C2/C3 should be worth the same or more. He basically wants to give the money to a charity and his friend to help get her a new car.

    Sorry about the long story.
    Anyways my questions are:
    Can they settle without my son if they don't reach an agreement with him?
    Why is the attorney saying that it is up to his client to say what she wants to give him?
    Will my son have to get an attorney to file suit if they don't agree?
    Can he still file suit?
    How long do we have to file in the state of AZ and will we need an attorney from AZ or CA where we reside?
    Should I call this attorney back and hear him out or have an attorney contact him?

    Thank you for reading and appreciate any assist you can provide
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Your son should have a lawyer, a lawyer representing ONLY his interests.
     
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  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    You shouldn't. He's concerned with his own payday.

    You and your son should not be talking to the other claimants' lawyer. Your son (an adult now) should be talking to the claim rep of the insurance company of the at-fault driver and make his own deal for a settlement.

    If your son has fully recovered from his injuries with no residual effects he might be able to negotiate a settlement on his own with a some helpful comments from a retired claims adjuster. ;)

    On the other hand, if he is still suffering from his injuries after a year, the case is more complicated and he should be consulting an attorney.

    Absolutely. Your son is entitled to monetary damages for his injury.

    Theoretically, yes, but unlikely because the insurance company has a contractual obligation to protect its policyholder from a lawsuit for damages in excess of policy limits. The claim rep will need to get settlements with all of the claimants to divide the policy limits. That the lawyer has "negotiated" settlements for the others is meaningless. Once your son gets his demand in, the settlements will have to be renegotiated to fit within the policy limits.

    Because he is full of s--t. :rolleyes: It's up to the claim rep as to how the policy limits are divided.

    Maybe. Depends on the results of his discussions with the insurance company's claim rep and the answers to my questions below.

    Yes.

    2 years from the date of the accident with an attorney from the city where the accident occurred or where the at-fault driver lives.

    Absolutely not. That attorney will get 1/3 of whatever pittance he talks your son into taking.

    Your son should start by talking directly to the insurance company's claim rep.

    I'm happy to continue making helpful comments (not legal advice) based on my experience.

    Now please answer the following important questions:

    1 - Date of the accident? Location?
    2 - Have you or your son had any contact with the insurance company's claim rep? If not, why not?
    3 - Is your son fully recovered from his injuries with no residual effects or is he still under treatment? If under treatment, what is the prognosis.
    4 - Total dollar amount of medical bills to date? Not just co-pays but the full amount paid by your medical insurance. You can find that on your EOBs (Explanations of Benefits) that the medical insurance sends you periodically.
     
  4. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Whose insurance company? Yours/your son's? One of the other parties? What does it mean that the insurance company's offer "must include [your] son"?

    Huh? In order for this to make sense, it might help if you gave us a basic description of the accident (e.g., how many cars involved, who was driving, who is believed to be at fault).

    Well...since your son is an adult, you have no choice, but he certainly does.

    Time to give your son some real world education. How much were your son's medical expenses? Not just the insurance co-pays, but the amount that you/he didn't have to pay and which was paid to the medical provider(s) by the insurer. Whatever compensation your son receives for his injuries will be paid to his medical insurance provider to reimburse for what it paid the medical provider(s). Moreover, taking money from the insured's insurer and turning it over to the insured would smack of insurance fraud.

    It's not clear who "they" are, but anyone can settle his/her/its own claim if he/she/it and the other party to the settlement are willing to do so.

    If someone says something and you don't understand why he/she said it, the best thing to do is to ask him/her to explain. Asking third persons who were not present at the time the statement was made and who don't have all of the relevant facts will rarely be productive.

    We have no way of knowing if your son will need an attorney, but it certainly wouldn't be a terrible idea for him to consult with one.

    Anyone can sue anyone for anything.

    Even though your son was a minor at the time of the accident, he's now an adult, so there is no "we" here. If your son wants to file suit (which must be done within two years after the date of the accident), he'll need an attorney licensed to practice in Arizona, and that attorney should regularly practice in the county where the accident occurred since that's where the suit would need to be filed.
     
  5. Andrew Valdez

    Andrew Valdez Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for the detailed response. Here is the answers to the questions you asked.


    1. 11/10/2020 / Phoenix AZ near ASU
    2. Originally when we requested the medical bills to be reimbursed, which we sent them but never heard back.
    (I paid the deductible and 10% of bills)
    I didnt send them chiropractor bills since I took him later when he had a flare up a few months ago. Plus they never paid the original bills.

    3. He is no longer under treatment but has long term range of motion loss in his neck.

    4. Total was $26,468.00 , didnt see the EOB for the Chiropractor posted yet but we paid 50 dollars for 10 treatments.

    I just canceled the meeting with there attorney.

    My thinking was that if the insurance made a settlement offer wouldn't they have put an amount for each claimant already? Also why didn't they send my son any paperwork or reimburse the bills?
     
  6. Andrew Valdez

    Andrew Valdez Law Topic Starter New Member

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    @zzdodah. I took a few of your comments as sarcastic. I mean seriously you have to see that too when you wrote it.

    Either way I answered most of the questions there were the same as the adjuster.
    I also don't think it's fraud unless he conspired with said friend to sue the insurance which isn't the case.

    Full pictures you requested is the driver my son's best friend collided with another vehicle. There were 3 additional passengers in the car with my son. Total 4 passengers. The other car had no insurance they ruled the accident 50/50 from what I understand. The other 3 passengers got an attorney to sue the driver who was insured under her parents policy.

    My son was originally contacted by the drivers insurance when it first happened. He told the adjuster he wasn't looking to sue but if they wanted to reimburse his dad for the medical expenses that would be nice. He mailed the insurance the medical bills but never heard back.

    He then gets a call from the attorney representing the other 3 passengers months later basically telling him there is a settlement offer and he needs my son and his parent to agree before they could get paid.
    I thought this was odd being my son did not request any money for damages. Also that the request wasnt coming from the insurance company. Why the other passengers attorney?

    I think the reason he is requesting my signature is he may think my son is still a minor since he was at the time of the accident. So I didn't know if that mattered or not so I asked.
     
  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Was the vehicle being driven by a relative of the driver, or did the driver own the vehicle?



    Unless and until the matter goes to court, no one other than judge has the ability to render a judgment regarding fault, and/or apportion damages.

    Arizona operates under a fault-based insurance system.

    In Arizona, the one who is responsible for causing a car accident is also responsible for paying for the damages he/she caused.

    Insurance companies often agree to settle the matter outside of a courtroom.

    Based upon your recitation of the events and circumstances of the collision, one point is unclear.

    Was the person THOUGHT to have caused the collision cited for any traffic violation(s)?

    If so, what was (were) the charge(s)?





    I understand and comprehend the two sentences hereinabove, but am completely befuddled by the actions of the attorney mentioned, as well as the client.

    It would be in the best interests of your son to discuss this matter with an attorney.

    Your son should seek services of an attorney licensed in AZ.

    The alleged resolution appears "unusual", perhaps "suspect", if not "illicit".
     
  8. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Who are "they"?

    In any event, it sounds like we're talking about the insurer for the driver of the car in which your son was a passenger. That presumably means we're talking about that person's liability coverage (but maybe also uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage). It also sounds likely that your son's friend had limits of $100k per person/$300k for the entire incident. That means, not including property damage, the insurer's maximum obligation to its insured is $300k. It seems the insurer is assuming it will pay the full policy limits, so it only remains to be determined how the limits will be divided.

    Normally, that's done on a pro rata basis. If $A through $D represent the four passenger claimants' recoverable damages, then let's assume $X is the sum of $A through $D and further assume that $X > $300k. Claimant A will receive $A ÷ $E x $300k, claimant B will receive $B ÷ $E x $300k, and so on. It sounds like the lawyer who contacted your son is trying to negotiate a deal that is different from a straight pro rata settlement.

    You and your son need to review his medical insurance policy - in particular, the subrogation section. Any compromise of his claim in derogation of the medical insurer's subrogation rights could result in your son being liable to reimburse the insurer.

    Keep in mind that, while the other driver may not have been insured, he/she is still legally liable and subject to a lawsuit.
     
  9. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Litigation would occur in the Maricopa County Superior Court in down town Phoenix. If your son wants to hire a lawyer he would hire one in downtown Phoenix where there are plenty to choose from.

    That's because liability claims aren't "pay as you go" and insurance companies don't chase down claimants. It's up to your son to gather up his medical records and bill and submit his claim to the liability claim rep at some point where he can quantify it.

    The possibility of a permanent partial disability makes your son's claim a lot more complicated than previously imagined and he needs to address that with an attorney as a claim for future medical expenses is going to require an expert's testimony.

    Your son may also have a claim for the Underinsured Motorists coverage on his own insurance depending on his own policy limits.

    I have to admit that I'm confused about who's who but it probably doesn't matter since there is a liability carrier addressing the claims of your son and the other passengers and that's what counts.

    Because that attorney wants to make your son his own client so he can get 1/3 of whatever your son's share will be.

    Probably no longer an issue since your son is now an adult.

    Zi and Zd I deleted some of the comments that strayed from the topic. Let's get back to addressing Mr Valdez' questions. Zd, thanks for the explanation about policy limits. Saved me some typing.

    Mr Valdez, seriously consider having your son consult with a personal injury attorney about the potential disability from the spinal injury. Then your son can decide how to move forward.
     
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