Phoebe came to us when what she thought was a simple car crash case simply spun out of control. It had become a nightmare with a three-headed monster, as she had to deal with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, the federal government in her workers compensation case, and eventually an unjustified claim by a hospital for repayment.
Phoebe’s case was extremely complicated – more than even a healthy person could handle. And she was seriously hurt. She and her husband Ricky simply couldn’t deal with all this, so they hired us to do it for them.
Phoebe’s case showcases an unspoken benefit of an experienced, hardworking car accident attorney. In addition to getting her the maximum possible settlement with car insurance, we helped her fight off the three-headed-monster, including the feds, who claimed Phoebe owed them a lot of money.
How It All Started
Phoebe came to me on the recommendation of Linda Parris, who’s served as a paralegal and office manager in our firm for years. Phoebe got hurt bad working for the post office as a rural mail carrier. While stopped to put mail in a box in Laurens, South Carolina, a young driver slammed into the back of her car at 50 mph. Her car flew off the road, then slammed into a tree.
She sustained awful low back injuries, worsening spinal arthritis to cause painful, disabling nerve damage and forcing a vertebra to “slip”, making her hurt worse. She required numerous spinal shots and her doctor recommended a procedure to burn off the painful nerve endings – warning her they grow back, possibly requiring more treatment.
Sadly, it looks like these injuries are permanent and she remains unsure if she can go back to her old job. [That’s another reason to hire a good accident attorney – sometimes we can settle your case before you’re done treating, so you can put a much-needed financial recovery to use].
How We Helped
For me and my assistant Camila, Phoebe’s case became a long and winding road – but we were glad all Phoebe had to deal with was our “war stories” on it. She had enough to handle with intractable pain and physical limits that forced doctors to keep her out of work over two years by the time we finished her case.
Anyway, here’s how we fought off the three-headed-monster.
- Head 1: auto insurance. While this is often complicated, it turned out to be the easy part! The most important thing we did here is double Phoebe’s settlement by finding extra coverage from the at-fault driver and underinsurance on Phoebe’s own policy.
Then we convinced the insurance company to pay it all.
Meanwhile, other battles raged.
- Head 2: hospital lien due to workers comp billing error. Because she got hurt at work, Phoebe’s medical care got paid by federal workers compensation. For some reason, some of her many hospital bills didn’t get filed with comp. Thus, the hospital filed a claim against her, called a lien, that could have dramatically reduced what Phoebe got to keep in her settlement.
We convinced the feds they needed to pay. Then we made sure they paid. Finally, we confirmed with the hospital’s lawyer Phoebe owed nothing. And that’s an extremely long story short. It took months of letters and phone calls to the feds and the hospitals lawyers.
After that, we had one last battle to win.
- Head 3: repaying federal workers compensation from the settlement. Like state workers compensation, federal workers comp can be repaid from an accident settlement if it’s related to the comp case.
And for federal workers comp repayment, it’s not a little local office you’re dealing with. It’s the Office of the Solicitor General in Washington, DC. The Solicitor General represents the United States government in the United States Supreme Court. You don’t wanna mess with these people.
The feds wanted $94,000.00. Phoebe’s settlement was $100,000.00. We submitted evidence for a reduction. The feds agreed to take $19,000.00.
It Ended Well
Overall, Phoebe was thrilled with the outcome, even though it took a long, long time. She’ll be the first to tell you she just couldn’t have done this on her own. When you’re hurt as bad as she is, you can’t take on a massive bureaucracy like the hospital and the federal government and expect it to end lickety-split, or even in your favor. If you’re hurt seriously, hand it to a professional like Phoebe did, so you don’t have to worry.It was good to see her so relieved and happy in the end, but we went through so much I’ll miss her. Luckily, we plan to stay in touch and I look forward to it.