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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

litigation

i probably shouldn't be posting this and i may delete it later, so read it while you can. for those who don't know, i was in a car accident on april 15, 2005. i don't talk about it a lot, don't like to think about it, wish i could just put the whole thing behind me. here's the story:

i was stopped, in the process of turning right at a red light and waiting for a pedestrian to cross in front of me, when out of nowhere, i suddenly got slammed from behind by another car. this caused me to hit my head, bounce forward, slam my skull back on the headrest and knock me unconcious. i went to the emergency room where i was x-rayed, treated for whiplash and soft injury tissue to my neck,head and shoulder. i went home and took painkillers and could not go to work all week, could not drive per the doctor. the car had a dented bumper and was knocked out of alignment, total of $1300 in repairs.

i had to go back to another doctor for follow-up a few days later. i had to spend time driving the messed up car around to body shops to get estimates, one time when i was at one body shop that took almost an hour, i also got a $42 parking ticket from an expired meter.

i had the worry that i might be pregnant while all of this was going on, and if so, that the x-ray and CT-scan may have hurt the fetus. i thought i was probablhy not pregnant, but it was a possibility and thus, a worry. i had been working on an overtime project at work, which, when i was out for a week during a critical juncture, got reassigned to someone else, so i missed out on overtime pay.

i had to go back to the doctor in a few days when the pain was not better. kaiser then referred me to physical therapy. i went to physical therapy and the therapist wanted to see me once a week or more, but kaiser did not have appointments available sooner than a few weeks from then, so it did not help much. i had to sleep with a special pillow and wear a warm neck wrap at work.

at odd moments i would be in the car and suddenly panic, remembering the feeling of being hit. i sold the car and spent more money on another one.

the shoulder got better from the daily exercises i had to do, but the neck did not. after a few months of suffering with this, i found a rehabilitative chiropractor who could see me as often as i wanted. he began treating me, but could not use his electrical muscle stimulators on me after i got pregnant, so could only do adjustments. each time i went it would be immediate relief but the pain came back often.

it has been almost 2 years and about every 2 weeks i wake up and have intermittent neck pain. i did not have neck pain before the accident, and now i have to be extremely careful of how i sleep and how i work out at the gym (oh, and i could not go to the gym for over a year) or even of going to a theater even where i have to crane my neck.

the bill from the emergency room was about $2100, the kaiser physical therapy was over $800, and the chiropractor bills have been over $3000.

here comes the "emtional distress" part. i have paid these bills out of my pocket (granted, for kaiser i have paid only my co-pays but they are now saying i owe them the $2900 due to the accident not being my fault, they want reimbursement from the guilty party). so for all of these medical bills, plus my lost wages at work, plus pain and suffering, think to yourself, what would be a reasonable amount for mercury insurance to pay? how many thousands of dollars would it take to "make me whole" for what i've gone through? keep in mind, i did NOTHING wrong, was completely stopped, and the other driver admitted "i only looked away for a second". everyone agrees she is 100% at fault.

the amount they offered me? get ready, you are going to be mad...they offered me a grand total, for everything, of $2500. they told me that the medical bills were "excessive" (even though they have been getting receipts as i go, they chose NOW to determine this) and that i should negotiate myself with kaiser because they charged too much, that i should have seen the chiropractor "maybe a few times" and that's all. yes, that *I* should actually call my HMO and tell them they were charging too much, as if they're some kind of friendly neighborhood doctor who negotiates rates, and as if *I* should be spending *my* time on the phone with them. Their client hit me!

now it's war. i've "lawyered up" as my friend bitsy calls it. i wasn't asking for anything from them but reimbursement for my bills. and at that, i didn't even keep track of every little thing. there were days i took sick time from work to go to physical therapy appointments that i didn't even keep track of. i never charged them for things like ibuprofin i had to take, parking and gas to go to appointments, etc. you'd think they would have AT LEAST covered my basic bills. grrrrrr...

this is why lawyer dave will now take this off my hands. but i am suffering "emotional distress" as i type this. and you should have seen how upset i was when i got the $2500 offer. i hope it goes to trial because if i were on a jury for this kind of case and saw that the insurance company had made an offer that DIDN'T EVEN COVER THE MEDICAL BILLS of the victim, i would be very pissed. pissed enough to award punative damages.

dave's firm will get 40%. and that's fine with me. i can afford to pay my own medical bills, frankly, but i shouldn't have to. it's about doing what's fair. and mercury should not be allowed to get away with this.

3 comments:

The Redhead said...

Sue, girl, sue!

Kelly said...

I'm glad you got a lawyer, even though they're going to take so much of the profit. That's ridiculous that they didn't even offer enough money to cover your medical bills and lost overtime pay. I doubt it would make it to court though. Now that you have a lawyer, the insurance company will probably offer more money. Did your own insurance company help out at all with negotiating a settlement?

Jacqueline said...

Mercury, Farmers, and a string of other insurance companies always give a low ball 1st offer, jerks. You're doing the right thing!