We helped a concerned father get compensation for his two little girls, seriously hurt in a car accident. They got hit head-on at about 40 mph by a teenager who crossed the center line, slamming into the car the girls rode in. Our investigation revealed the teenager was speeding. The severe impact caused grievous injuries.
The 4 year-old was thrown violently against the belts in her child seat, which developed into a post-traumatic small bowel obstruction requiring an operation to cut out part of her intestines. She also suffered a broken left hand. Her 8 year-old sister suffered a broken right hip and pelvis, a broken right wrist, and serious mouth trauma, including a split tongue and two broken-out front teeth requiring a root canal.
Insult To Injury Prevented By Finding Extra Insurance To Pay
The teenager’s parents had limited insurance – the minimum limits allowed in South Carolina, $30,000 for all three hurt people. In a car accident, a hurt person can recover from the at-fault driver’s personal assets if not enough insurance is available. This is not a tactic we often employ, but after consultation with our client, given the extreme nature of the injuries and the equally extreme lack of liability insurance, we felt it best to explore this option in this case. I filed suit to determine whether the teenager’s parents had any personal assets. When we discovered through the discovery process the teenager’s parents had no assets, we moved toward recovering as much insurance as possible.
Fortunately, I discovered the car the girls rode in had an underinsurance (UIM) policy of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident, meaning each girl could get up to $50,000 with the policy paying a maximum of $100,000 for the accident.
And there was more, thanks to South Carolina's "stacking law.". I also found coverage under the father’s UIM policy, which had a limit of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. Rob got the maximum for the girls under both UIM policies - $150,000 each. We split the $30,000 liability limit three ways between the girls and the driver of their car.
Once I obtained all the coverage available, the case settled quickly. Each child got $161,000, including a $1000 personal injury protection payment I discovered under their father’s policy.
When A Child's Involved, Just Because It's Settled Doesn't Mean It's Over
As with any child's settlement for a substantial amount, we had to present the the settlement to a judge to get it approved by court order. To protect the children’s rights to the money and give their daddy peace of mind they would not spend it while young, I helped daddy put most of the money in a structured settlement that allowed daddy to decide when the girls got certain amounts of money after they reached the age of 18. Because the girls also faced potential future medical costs, Rob helped daddy open a conservatorship to put away some of the money in a secure bank account in case the girls needed future medical care.