Successful Personal Injury Case and Dealing With Insurance Companies
- January 9th, 2017
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Personal Injury Lawyer in Mississippi
What happens when you get in a wreck and your life is suddenly turned upside down. You don’t have health insurance and you can’t go back to work. No money coming in. The financial stress results in your wife leaving you. On top of that your cervical spine needs a fusion surgery. That’s what I recently faced in a case. My client was telling me he might not have the strength to continue on. I told him multiple times I’d go to the grocery store and buy food for him. He was living out of his car. I tried to update him as much as possible. I checked in on holidays to make sure he was doing ok. He was living out of his car and only mode of communication was email. The first thing I did was run a MEA report which is a service that shows how much insurance the at fault driver has. Often the adjuster for the at fault party will refuse to tell you how much coverage is available. Well I can’t have a client run up $50k in medical bills he’ll never be able to pay back if the at fault driver had $25k in insurance. No worries, ran the MEA report and at fault party had $250k in coverage. Godsend for my client as he’d need every nickel of that $250k.
Next problem is how do you treat an acute spinal chord injury when you have no insurance. No problem I’ve cultivated a great relationship with a hedge fund that funds letter of protection treatment. That means if you have no insurance I can get you into any kind of doctor you need with no money up front. Primary care, pain management, neurosurgeon. The works. They get paid after the settlement and will negotiate their lien down if necessary. We all do what it takes to make the client happy when that settlement check comes in. Back to my client. After several appointments with family doc complaining of lower back pain he gets referred to a specialist. I get him in with one of the top neuro surgeons on the coast no money up front. Said surgeon says client has herniated discs in cervical and lumbar spine. He needs a cervical fusion. Meanwhile my client is so broke he doesn’t know how he’s going to put ramen noodles on the table. We go through the complicated process of finding a litigation funding company that will give him a cost of living loan at the lowest possible interest rate.
Because of my and my firms affiliations with our state and national trial lawyer organizations we are immediately referred to the best litigation funding companies and get him some much needed money in at best interest rate. Client ends up getting the surgery and does follow up treatment. He tells me he has much less pain. Before he was in so much pain he’d be hunched over in my office about to cry. This is a grown man built like an outside linebacker. He worked with his hands before fixing AC units and general property maintenance. He has $150k in medical bills which we get negotiated down to a manageable number.
Meanwhile the insurance company has offered a $18k settlement. Pretty much laughed them off the phone. I told them that if I go to trial and get a verdict in excess of $250k that their insured will then be personally liable. That means I can garnish their wages, have a sheriff seize their home or car, and generally satisfy my judgment by any means necessary against their assets. But instead of doing all that I will have their insured assign their bad faith claim against their insurance company to my client and we’ll call it even. Bad faith you ask? If I make a demand within policy limits and the insurer refuses to settle and I get an excess verdict beyond 250k, the insurer has exposed their insured to excess liability and has breached their contractual relationship to their insured.
Therefore the underlying at fault party now has a potential 6 figure bad faith case against their own insurance company. Well all of this was enough to scare the bejesus out of the insurance company. They send a $200k offer. Not enough. $225k. Not enough. $240k. Not enough. $245k. Bingo. They tell me they are sending it by snail mail and have to put his wife’s name on the check. My response, “no you will overnight it and in Mississippi a personal injury action is not marital property so only his name will be on the check.” You have until 5pm cst to fulfill all these terms or I’m suing your client in the morning. Voicemail at 4:00pm cst from adjuster accepts all terms. Now my client who had no health insurance and a broken spine has a healed spine, can go back to work, had all his medical treatment paid for, and I put a good chunk of money in his pocket. I think that’s a decent deal. -Jonathan Franco”