Uninsured Motorist Settlement ?

I'm about to settle with insurance company for an
accident caused by a phantom driver. I'm
collecting the full limits of my um coverage.

My accident resulted in a brocken neck-thus
surgery and therapy. Long story short-my medical
has paid for most of my coverage.

Are they, or anyone, entitled to my settlement? Is
there a statue of limitations on this?

I live in Georgia. Any feedback or reference to a
good law chat group is appreciated.

Thanks!

You should read the insurance contract. Most insurance contracts will have a "subrogation" clause, which entitles them to recover amounts they have paid out.

If your medical coverage is through an employer, a recent Supreme Court case may create some favorable complications, however, and you might be able to fight the subrogation. Is your medical through an employer?

Additional note:

I assume you had an attorney in this settlement. If so, (s)he should read Great West v. Knudson, and make sure the settlement is distributed to you QUICKLY to avoid the subrogation issue.

Steve,

Many thanks for your reply. I'll try to locate the subrogation clause. Yes, my medical coverage is through my company.

When you say quickly, did it stipulate a time frame?

Also, just a side question. I do have an attorney and he will be collecting roughly34% of my settlement. Can I expect him to continue representing me in the event the insurance company comes for this money. Or, is there usually additional costs associated with this?

Not really a time frame, it just needs to be distributed to you before the insurer gets wind of it. I can't really answer the question re: your lawyer. However, if he gets 34% of what you COLLECT, then he has an interest in staving off subrogation. If he gets a percentage of the settlement, however, he will not.

Steve,

I'm not sure about the collect vs settlement part, however, I'm about to call and talk with him

However, many thanks for your input. It's helped me a lot.

Someone said a way you could protect your money is to put it into an annuity. Is that legit? Are there options that guarantee your money (ie, oversees bank, annuity, etc)

The only thing I can think your friend is referring to is the fact that some states give protection from creditors if the money is in an IRA or an annuity. Federal law gives protection if it's in a pension plan, which could include an annuity.

However, placing the money there immediately prior to being hit by a creditor would probably be considered a fraudulent transfer, and be voided..

Steve-Many thanks

Everybody thinks I'm going to collect big on this. But the reality is that-I want. The full limits of my um cover is around $100K (all I'm entitled to because of nature of phantom case). After attorney fees, I'll have a settlement less than what has been paid towards Dr. Bills. And even that, it seems, will probably be taken.

It would be nice to know that I got SOMETHING out of this deal, but it seems like I can't really rely on it.

Just curious, if I pay my attorney a fee based on "SETTLEMENT", and the insurer tries subrogation-would they be entitled to the full sum of my settlement-or just the portion I received from it minus attorney portion. Let's say I collected 60K out of 100K (40 going to attorney); and my bills total 80K+-would they be able to hit me up for the full 80+amount? Or would they pull from the 60k amount I settled.

I promise this is the last question! :-)

Again, thanks for all your input.

Josie:

That depends. Some jurisdictions have a "Make Whole" doctrine, which says that the subrogation clause only applies to the amount that you actually get. Others have a "Common fund" doctrine, which says the opposite. Case law is very inconsistent.

I'm honestly not sure what the rule is in Georgia. I can do some checking tonight.

Again, thanks Steve. Just to have an idea of what to look for is extremely helpful. Thanks for the "Make Whole" "Common Fund" tip.

Ok, in looking through my files on this issue, I only found one recent case in the 11th circuit (which includes Georgia) discussing this issue. That case rejects the "Make Whole" doctrine. Therefore, although it's not discussed, I think that Georgia subscribes to the Common Fund rule.....meaning that the attorneys fees could come out of the total settlement amount.