How does a settlement work when there are multiple people hurt in the rear-ended vehicle?

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How does a settlement work when there are multiple people hurt in the rear-ended vehicle?

My son and I were driving home and were rear ended at a stop light. the car was totaled and we are both seeking treatment for multiple bulging and herniated discs. He has them only in his neck and I have them in both neck and lower back. I’m just wondering how the settlement is going to be split. I understand that the lawyer gets a third and the doctors split a third and we get a third. However, if the policy has $100,000 on it for injury and that is the settlement amount. Do we split the the $100,000, so all the doctors split half of a third for just one of us? My son and I will split the third in half – roughly $16,000 a piece or is it $100,000 per injured person? So our doctors split a third between them for both of us and he and I both receive a third each? I am thinking of switching doctors but I don’t want to split it too wide that the doctors don’t get what they deserve.

Asked on March 11, 2018 under Personal Injury, Florida

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Your case is separate from your son's.  The settlement amounts will be different because they are different people with various injuries.
The policy limit is per person.
The doctors are paid out of the settlement which means the settlement must be sufficient to pay 1/3 to the attorney, the medical bills and the balance to you.  The medical bills are whatever the doctor charges; not 1/3 of the settlement.
If your son is a minor, the attorney might charge less than 1/3.  This varies from state to state.  If your son is a minor, there is a minor's compromise where the settlement for your son is deposited in a Trust.
If your son is not a minor, the attorney charges 1/3 of the settlement, the medical bills are paid out of the settlement and the balance goes to your son.
As for switching doctors, there will be additional medical bills to be paid out of the settlement; however, if you are dissatisfied with medical treatment provided by the current doctor, then you should find another doctor.
The settlement should represent the following: compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement, compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills, and if applicable, compensation for wage loss, which is straight reimbursement.
 


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