I never imagined that when I was rear ended and through no fault of my own I would have so much stress, tears and headache associated with this whole ordeal.
If you (like myself) have never been in an auto accident before, you are more and likely ignorant to everything (like myself). You want to believe in the good of the insurance companies. You want to believe that they aren't as evil as lawyers make them out to be.
You think, "okay,I was hurt, they will pay my medical bills as they come". Only, they don't. They won't pay until you settle. If you are like the majority of Americans and don't have health insurance, and your OWN insurance PIP (MedPay) is exhausted in hospital bills, you are virtually screwed.
(Before I go any further, I want to say I love my insurance company, State Farm, they have gone out of their way to reach out to the at fault company and help me, they have made calls on my behalf to get the adjuster(s) of the at fault company to call me back when they otherwise had given me the run around. I think having a policy with them, has proven time and again that they are a wonderful company with hearts. I won't mention the name of the at fault driver's company for legal reason, but it is an insurance giant. THANK YOU LORD, for my insurance, with out them I would have been royally hung out to dry. It also reaffirms my decision in keeping them for all my Dad's new construction policies, they are there when you need them, they don't dodge ball you, I'd recommend them to ANYONE)..
With no money to pay them yourself, and kids to feed, you know you are hurt, but you stop treatment in order to try and hurry a settlement so that your bills will be paid in a timely manner.
You realize any attorney will take 1/3rd of your settlement, and with your medical bills being high, and no real guarantee or no set in stone number of what they will even ask for during consultations, and you are told by attorney after attorney that they can't guarantee even your medical bills will be covered after their fees, you are left to your own devices.
You act as your own paralegal, you collect all your medical bills, you make copies of everything, calculate your mileage and fuel costs and out of pocket expenses and you prepare a demand letter to submit to the at fault insurance company.
You call them and nag them every other day, sometimes you give them a week.
Your bills are coming in and you are being threatened by the hospitals to have your account turned to collections. You are given the run around by all parties involved (those you owe money to, and those who owe money to you).
Your stress causes heartburn, your anxiety causes lost sleep and you don't know huge legal terms and kind of try to wing it.
Eventually you do hear from the at fault insurance company who offers to pay all your medical but says they can only give you $1,000 for your personal injury/pain and suffering. Mind you your under duress and you have stopped treatment just in order to get the bill collectors at the facilities you were treated at off your back and to rush a settlement. You ask for slightly more. You tell them about your med pay and they offer to reimburse your med pay and hospital expenses.
You are left to think about it over night, meanwhile the big insurance giant knows they have you where they want you.
AND with all do respect, I know they have a job to do, but it just sucks you're unfortunately at their mercy, even when the accident was not your fault.
Two days go by and you call and call. No one calls back, so you ask to speak to their supervisor, only it's a message machine (always is). You inform them that you have done all you could on your part, you've done the leg work to collect all the bills, you've submitted everything accordingly and you demand a settlement or you will take their policy holder to court (who in turn can take their insurance agent to court for bad faith).
15 minutes later (literally) you get a call from your adjuster. You feel bad for calling on them, because it is their job, but you also feel bad for yourself because you're swamped in bills you should not have to be up to your ears in.
They offer $500 more. So at this point you have your medical bills being offered to be paid out (your main concern), your 2 thousand dollar med pay reimbursed to you and $1,500 from them. You say "I accept", just please pay these bills soon.
You are told, once you sign and fax this release, (releasing their policy holder and them from all future medical claims) and scan and upload it to them, they will cut you a check and pay out your providers within the next day. You read it over have a few questions but ultimately sign your life away and sent it over.
Within two hours the claims website emails you to notify you a check has been issued do your portion of the settlement.
After re reading the release you notice strange language, that includes property damage, and you think, "oh dear lord, did I just screw my insurance company out of their subrogation"?? You panic, you're up all night calling your insurance and theirs (mind you your insurance has yet to contact you about subrogation and you have no idea how it even works, just that you may of signed your rights away and become responsible for paying it back and your personal settlement doesn't even cover collision damages).
You're sick to your stomach, you cry your eyes out, you feel tricked and deceived and you submit a quick letter to the claims website asking to retract your signed release due to the fact "money is not in hand" as the contract states and that you felt you were not given all information needed and signed it under duress with out a witness.
The very next morning you get a call from the at fault company bright and early, promising that it's only a medical release and nothing more,promising subrogation will still be paid out. You feel relieved but still skeptical, so you record the entire conversation and the phone messages. You get a letter back from said insurance company promising it is only a medical release. You feel relieved...
FOR THE TIME BEING.
An attorney tells you it can be a trick, your insurance company says it should be fine and you're left praying this person has a heart and won't screw you over.
That is where I am today, two months exactly after my accident. A check is on the way - which will go directly to savings and untouched for a long time until all this is over - just in case. And your medical bills have yet to be paid off - STILL.
The icing to the cake? You get a final notice from the hospital today, to pay the remaining $2,500 you owe, even though your insurance company just forked them $2,000 in med pay. You ask for an extension until the at fault company pays it off and let them know you just settled and it will be any day now. They tell you, "no" and say you have 18 days to pay or you go to collections, you ask to set up a payment plan and are told it could take a week.
I am praying that this will all be over soon. I am praying so hard I never have to deal with this again. Someone who is injured through no fault of their own should NEVER have to go through what I have gone through. NEVER.
My spinal, and neck vertebrae are still dislocated, my stress is so high my blood pressure is higher than it's ever been, and my anxiety is insane. When I drive I always get a horrible burst of anxiety as some one gets too close or speeds up on my tail end. I don't feel I will ever be the same - EVER.
Was all this worth a $1500 settlement? I'd say NO, but when you have kids and need the bills off your back, it is.
My advice next time? (God forbid)? Go attorney shopping, find a good one. One who will not RUSH through the consult, one that wants to MEET with you IN PERSON, as opposed to just their paralegal. Sure an attorney is 1/3 contingency fee, BUT, they KNOW what they are doing (you do not), and chances are big insurance also knows this and will toy with your emotions.
It's worth it to not have the stress. COMPLETELY.
I pray to god it wasn't worse, and I am thankful to God, my children were not with me that one time (as any other time they would have been). I am so thankful. I am however very upset with the turn of events.
I am thankful that this will hopefully be all over as soon as my medical payments are paid out and I am no longer in credit limbo for something I did not do.
I want to cry - STILL.
I am sensitive, and I stress easily, it's hard to take care of your kids when you are stressed to death, and you can't pick them up because your lower back is aching.
There are a lot of "woulda, shoulda, and coulda's" involved. I just want the nightmare to end.
I want to never see a commercial with that smiling little insurance character EVER again. - Sadly one is right by my house (agh).
Again, I should say I have no real hard feelings for my adjuster, she is just doing her job, and is probably up to her neck in claims. If only people would learn to pay attention when they drive, be considerate of others they share the road with, and if only you had magical powers to make your car disappear when someone is fixing to hit you.
I don't wish this on my worst enemy.