Our client, while turning left into his dentist’s office for a lunchtime meeting was struck by a mini-van, zooming through the streets of Norristown at 90 mph after being stopped by police for a warrant. The driver of the mini-van was uninsured. Our client suffered serious orthopedic injuries requiring a week long hospital stay, a month in rehab, and several months of missed work. The medical bills were paid by private insurance which could have exerted a lien against any recovery made for the injuries suffered.
The first step was to ensure the medical bills were paid by the proper insurance carrier. A claim was made to the workers compensation carrier because it was our client’s position that he was intending to meet his dentist to discuss a loan the dentist needed to buy a new building. The claim was denied alleging that our client was meeting his dentist for a cleaning. The claim was litigated. Our client and the dentist testified. Ultimately, the claim was accepted by the workers compensation carrier. This was a huge victory.
Fortunately, our client carried uninsured motorist protection and stacked the coverages for the number of cars in the household. The full amount of the uninsured motorist coverage was obtained and no amount of money paid for the medical bills was required to be reimbursed, which well exceeded $100,000.
This story is illustrative of the fact that the attorney who handles your motor vehicle crash case should be well versed in workers compensation law as well.
The driver fleeing police was driving his wife’s car but he was specifically identified on the policy as an “excluded” driver. Her insurance carrier initially disclaimed coverage, but once a lawsuit was filed alleging she negligently entrusted the car to her husband, her carrier offered its full $15,000 coverage. But, before that could be accepted, it had to be determined whether there was any other insurance coverage available. Investigation revealed the fleeing driver lived with his mother, insured under another automobile policy with coverage of $100,000.00. This eventually was also offered.
This story is also illustrative of the fact that a lawyer must investigate all potential sources of insurance coverage before ending a case.
Result: The case settled for $315,000, all of the insurance coverage available.
Attorney: Anthony J. Baratta of Baratta, Russell & Baratta