Personal Injury: Daughter's Fingers had to be replanted after U Haul Accident
(Hot Springs, AR)
My daughter suffered her personal injuries when she was in a UHaul accident 12 years ago. We lived on an incline, and while loading a heavy dresser in the back of the truck, the brakes gave way.
The UHaul started barreling down the drive, took out the porch that my daughter was standing on, and into a stone wall.
When the truck finally came to a rest and I could get out of the truck, I began franticlly looking for my daughter, scared she was dead.
I found her laying in a heap, and when I picked her up notice her fingers were mangled and dangling.. I threw her in my car, and rushed her to the ER.
Once there, her hand was cleaned, and we were told her fingers would probablly be amputated. Fortunately the doctors and nurses took the time to call around within our state and then outside our state to consult with other physicians.
All the other doctors stated it would result in amputation, and at the time, I was just so grateful that she was alive, that I would have agreed to anything to relieve her pain.
Finally, someone called Dr. Zehr at Baylor University Hospital In Dallas, TX. He agreed to try to save her hand, so we set up a medical flight to Dallas.
He did a two hour vascular surgery to replant her fingers. He wasn't sure if it would be successful, but it was. He saved my babies hand.
The insurance company sent me a check for $5,000. when we returned to AR almost a week later. This was for reimbursement for the flight ambulance, lost wages, incidentals, etc.
I spoke with a lawyer at the time, but found myself apprehensive and unable to 'deal' with even talking about the accident.
It was so traumatic, I would break out in a cold sweat whenever I saw a UHaul on the street. Fortunately my daughter was so young at the time that she seems to have very little recollection of the accident other than the fallout from the pain and healing.
I am sure it must have been difficult for her to understand the change in my personality at such a young age.
Several years later, Me and my family were tracked down by a private investigator by the insurance company. We got back in touch with the insurance company, and agreed to see Dr. Zehr to re-evaluate.
I was sent anther $5,000. check from future settlement by the adjustor at the time. My anxiety kicked in, and I ended up once again unable to deal with the case or anything to do with that traumatic time in our life. We did not go to see Dr. Zehr at that point.
Last year, I had come to grips enough with the passage of time to lay aside any personal issues, and take care of the financial aspect of settlement for my daughter.
She was 13 at the time, and eleven years had passed. When I called to set up the appontment with Dr. Zehr, I found ou the medical expenses had not been paid, they totalled over $17,000.
I told the insurance lady that they had to be paid before we could be seen. She got authorization to pay those in full. I decided to call Baylor Hospital to see if they had been paid, and they had not. I had them send me a bill, which I sent to the insurance company for another $17,000. and they got that paid as well.
We went back to see Dr. Zehr this past summer, because my daughter was having pain and stiffness in her right hand (the injured one). He wanted to wait until she stops growing to do any future surgeries. The insurance company sent a $500. check for that trip.
We began to talk about settlement, and future surgeries needed to be determined. Dr. Zehr and his therapist scheduled an appt. March 2,of this year to determine the amount.
We flew in, and I was provided a check for $540. that covered the flight and hotel for 2 days. Dr. Zehr and his associates sent the insurance company a future medical estimate of between $30,000 and $70,000 depending on her diagnosis after the first surgery.
The insurance company stated they needed more information and a better understanding of her injuries, and wanted us to get a second opinion which I stated was fine although we will definitely be using Dr. Zehr for any future operations.
I have not yet talked about a settlement amount with the insurance company, but was trying to avoid hiring a lawyer.
What would be a realistic settlement on this injury claim without a lawyer, and possibly with a lawyer assistance if the insurance company and I are not on the same page with an amount?