Policy Limit Offer from Insurance Company - Should I Accept?
I was involved in a four car pile up on the freeway in the state of Washington, here are the facts as I know them at this point.
[LIST][*]I am not at fault and fault is not in question.[*]The at fault driver was uninsured, driving a co-workers car with a suspended license (the vehicle itself is presumed to be uninsured, still trying to verify).[*]I waived personal injury protection on my auto insurance to reduce costs many years ago (starving college student, you know the story).[*]I have full health coverage from my current employer with a maximum out of pocket expense of 2000$ per year.[*]My uninsured motorist coverage is limited to 25k for bodily harm and 25k for property damage.[*]My car is a write off, fire fighters had to cut the roof off to get me out. The KBB retail value of the car is roughly 9k.[*]I was knocked unconscious in the collision and rushed to hospital where I was released 6 hours later with the follow diagnosis: 'cervical and lumbar strain and closed head injury with mild traumatic brain injury'.[*]I'm seeing a neurologist who is treating me for the post concussion symptoms (recovery is lasting longer than the normal 24-48 hour period).[*]I've been off work for one week, and am likely to be off for another week or two. My salary is relatively high, I'll chew through the 25k policy limit with lost wages alone very quickly.[*][/LIST]
My insurance company has offered to pay the uninsured motorist policy limit on bodily harm (25k) once I've given them access to ER and neurologist records and salary information. Is there any down side to accepting this preemptive offer? Is there any reasonable scenario where I can expect to collect more than the limit from my insurance provider? I assume I'd have to release my insurer from all claims, but would I still be able to litigate against the at fault driver and vehicle owner (and potentially the car owner's insurer)? Will my health care provider attempt to recoup medical expenses from me if I've settled with my auto insurance provider? Should I hire a personal injury attorney to review the case before settling with my provider?
I'm in way over my head, any advice would be greatly appreciated.