Recently, I spoke with a concerned father who called in with a scenario that I was prepared and experienced to advise on. His daughter had been seriously injured in an accident that also injured seven other people in a multiple car pile-up. The twist was that his daughter was the passenger in the vehicle that caused the whole accident. To make matters worse, the driver of the vehicle was not the owner of the car.
The concerns that the father brought were related to handling the close to $50,000 in medical bills that his daughter owed. Since she was in another person’s vehicle and other people were injured, the use of insurance policy money, claims and settlements became confusing. It seemed for this father, the amounts that were given were not enough to fairly compensate his daughter.
I would like to share some of the key points of advice we gave to this distressed father:
What to do first. Figure out exactly how much car insurance money is available. Different examples to keep in mind include the at-fault driver could have borrowed a friend’s car but owned their own car. The insurance policy on their own car would have to cover or compensate people as a secondary policy.
Another example would be if the driver of the vehicle was a college student, off at college without a car and again, borrowed a car. If the at-fault driver’s address is still the same as their parents’, who own a car, and there’s insurance coverage on that car, this is another chance to collect against that policy as secondary coverage. There are many other examples where other policies could be found.
Find out how the accident occurred. Were there road design issues? Was there a signage issue? If there is a way to hold something else, or even somebody else, other than the driver accountable for at least a percentage of the fault in the accident, there may be other funds to uncover in a settlement.
It’s NOT a waste of time to inquire or even hire an attorney. At Zanes Law, the rest of my team and I handle cases like these every day and have the knowledge to answer your questions and to give you options. There is a lot of information on the internet to research, but speaking with an experienced person who has handled cases like this before never hurts. Most law firms will give you free advice and a free initial consultation. This might be all you need.
For even more information on what to do if you are involved in a scenario like the one described here, listen to the Doug Zanes talk show episode # 12, “Multi-Victim Scenario,” on iTunes.