If my 78 year old mother got in an auto accident on her way to a senior center in the center’s van but the van driver was not at fault, who should pay for the bill?

Their van was hit by a car on side. It’s the other driver’s fault. My mother was sent to ER with the other seniors in the van. Although she suffered a lot pain, the exam in ER did not reveal serious injury, such as bone fracture at the the time. Now, she has a medical bill of $520 from the hospital. My mother has no car, no auto insurance and she was not on anyone’s auto insurance. The insurance company representing the other driver contacted my mom. They want my mom to sign a release for the accident by paying her $300. They claim my mother’s medical bill should be paid by my auto insurance per state law. Are they right? Should we ask the my mothers senior center to pay the bill?

Asked on September 24, 2012 under Accident Law, New Jersey

Answers:

Leigh Anne Timiney / Timiney Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The auto insurance for the driver at fault should be covering your mother's medical bills. This is why the insurance company representing the other driver is offering your mother a $300 settlement for her medical bills.  $300 is a very low offer for your mother's injury.  This does not even cover her medical bill, let alone her pain and suffering.  Insurance companies always make very low settlement offers to start.   I would suggest you negotiate with the insurance company for the at fault driver and make a counter offer to them that covers your mom's medical bill and gives her some additional compensation for the pain she suffered.  Once you do agree upon a settlement amount, your mother will have to sign a release, stating that her claim with the insurance company is closed and she is releasing them from any further or future liability to her with respect to this particular accident.  This is standard, but you do not have to sign a release until you have agreed upon a settlement amount.  If you are unsure, I would suggest you contact a personal injury attorney and seek a consultation.  He or she can hear all of the facts of your mother's case and help you make a more informed decision with respect to your mom's case and her options.  Good luck to you.  

John Ducey / Law Offices of John G. Ducey,PC

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Does your mom live with anyone that owns a car?  If so that is the insurance company that pays the bill.

 

Also depending on her injuries you may want to consult an attoreny because $300 isn't much.

 

John Ducey

732-458-5600


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