What to do about a rear-end accident in an “at fault” state?

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What to do about a rear-end accident in an “at fault” state?

At-fault driver’s insurance company offered $10,000 for pain and suffering. How is that money divided? Sice that driver is deemed 100% responsible, why is the attorney saying that their won’t be much money left after medical bills. There were just several chiropractor visits and an ER visit. I thought the medical bills were paid from the at-fault driver’s insurance not the proceeds of the settlement.

Asked on July 25, 2012 under Accident Law, Arizona

Answers:

Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Typically, the at-fault driver's insurance does not pay separately the medical bills and the settlement.  The insurance pays one settlement amount for medical bills & pain and suffering.  The personal injury lawyer in Arizona typically takes one-third of the settlement.  The attorney also recovers her costs (such as the $301 filing fee in Marcopa County).  Most chiropractors in these sorts of cases have been working on a lien basis, and so they will have a lien against the settlement for whatever they have billed.  Sometimes the personal injury lawyer can negotiate a discount on that lien.  The ER visit is the tricky part.  If you had private insurance and they paid for the bulk of that, that is great, and you will get the rest.  However, if AHCCCS paid, they will also have a lien for what they paid, and the hospital may have asserted a lien for the difference between what they billed and what AHCCCS paid.  The hospital lien will be negotiable.  Also, if your health insurance was through a government such as the state and is an ERISA plan, they will have a lien.


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