Veronica is a young woman who comes from immigrant parents and is working to maximize her own American dream. She is enrolled in nursing school and hopes to earn her masters degree soon.
At the age of 25, she has her whole life in front of her.
However, two years ago, in January of 2015, that life was nearly cut short. She was a passenger in a car driven by her best friend, Jay. As the vehicle entered the intersection on a green light, a large SUV cut directly into their path making a turn and nearly killed both of them.
We talked about Jay’s injuries in a previous blog, and, now that Veronica’s case is also now settled, we can discuss her case.
While Jay’s injuries were catastrophic (Veronica told me that had she been as far along in nursing school then as she is now, “I would have checked for his pulse, because I thought he was dead.”), Veronica’s were also very serious. She sustained a fractured collarbone to her right (dominant) arm, fractured facial bones, and serious facial cuts which required surgery and dozens of sutures to repair.
Veronica had to withdraw from nursing school for that semester, due to her injuries. During that time, she was alone, in pain, and concerned about her lasting facial injuries. She worried whether she would ever look the way it did before the crash. Adding to her stress was her fears for her friend Jay, who missed nearly half a year from work while recovering from his injuries.
Fortunately, she did eventually recover. Her face looks normal, as long as she covers her scars with makeup. Her collarbone no longer hurts, but it does protrude rather prominently if she is wearing a low cut or sleeveless top. She is self-conscious of this. It bothers her. But she is back in school, able to use her arm, and feels as if she received a second chance at life. That is a rather poignant thing for a person in their 20s to think!
Once her treatment completed and we obtained all her medical records and current photos of her collarbone and face, we convinced all of the insurers to settle without having to proceed to an arbitration hearing.
We obtained a significant settlement for her. It took quite a bit of work, since the at-fault driver had very limited insurance. This meant that after that insurer paid its entire limits, we could pursue an Underinsured Motorist Claim (UIM) against any insurance policies of higher value than that policy. This left us with a possible UIM claim against her friend Jay’s policy, which had limits of $50,000. That meant another $30,000 was available (after subtracting the other vehicle’s $20,000 from the $50,000). Finally, there was also a policy maintained by her father, which had significant limits. We were able to get another $45,000 from that policy.
The total settlement was $95,000 for Veronica. Twenty thousand from the car that hit them, another $30,000 from Jay’s insurer, and $45,000 from her father’s policy. His rates will not go up as a result, as this was not her fault. This case is a great lesson in why it is so important to maintain insurance with high liability and Uninsured and Underinsured limits. The higher the better, since there are people on the road with no insurance or the state minimum.
We worked hard to maximize Veronica’s take home amount. Since Farmers had paid all her medical bills under the PIP or medical payments portion of that policy, we argued that they should waive the repayment of that amount. They agreed.
While there is no one on earth who would wish to go through what Veronica did, she can start her young life over again with some significant savings. From bad comes good. She does feel “lucky to be alive” every day. It was a pleasure to work with and for such a motivated and polite young woman.
If you've been in an accident and have questions, contact Chicago personal injury attorney Stephen L. Hoffman for a free consultation at (773) 944-9737. Stephen has nearly 30 years of legal experience and has collected millions of dollars for his clients. He has been named a SuperLawyer, has a 10.0 rating on Avvo, and is BBB A+ accredited.
Stephen handles personal injury and workers' compensation claims on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything upfront and he only gets paid if you do. Don’t wait another day, contact Stephen now.