Who is Marcus?
He’s a young-mid 20s, well spoken, well groomed man who works at a print shop. He was sitting at a red light when, out of no where, somebody ran into the rear of his car. He went by ambulance to the hospital with a diagnosis of next strain sprain and a wrist strain. He had to endure twelve solid weeks of physical therapy. The bad driver’s insurance company made him an offer of $8,300, which sounded good to Marcus. Luckily enough, he made a call to his insurance company and discovered that he had to repay them $4,500 from the settlement. Also, he still had an outstanding medical bill of $1,500, which left him with $2,300 in pocket.
Marcus called me wondering if there were other issues that he didn’t know about. We met and he said he was not greedy, he wanted to be fair, but he was not at fault. Marcus didn’t know that he could submit his outstanding medical bill to his health insurers. He didn’t know he was not getting $8,300 and that he had to pay back his insurance company and the outstanding medical bill, though the bad driver’s insurance company knew that. Marcus didn’t know in order to receive the $8,300, he had to sign a release stating that he would not come back and make a claim for one penny more.
He didn’t know the next step to take. He didn’t know he could negotiate from their first offer. Marcus also didn’t know what amount to counter offer at, what was likely and probable, or what other options were available. He was not aware of the settlement process or when and how he would get his money. Lastly, Marcus did not know there was a time by law to settle his claim and what that time period was.
The quick answer is, if you knew what Marcus didn’t know, you could probably handle the claim yourself.
Marcus could have accepted the offer. If he had, anxiety would have filled his body, wondering about the next step. He would question if that really was all the money available or Marcus could have an attorney answer all those questions to relieve the worry. He could instead, let the attorney worry about the next right step, let the attorney do all the work, write letters, make telephone calls, get the health insurance to pay his outstanding medical bills and let the attorney negotiate with the bad driver’s insurance company . According to the insurance companies own statistics, he would put more money in his pocket with an attorney than without.
Marcus chose not to worry.
What would you choose?