My wife and I parked in a retail store parking lot in Maine. We had to park away from the regular parking spaces due to their being blocked by a tractor trailer off loading product to the retail operation. We parked, shut off the car, and I proceeded into the store leaving my wife behind in the passenger seat. After but a moment inside the store I looked out the front window and saw that the tractor trailer was moving ahead and on the other side of it my car and wife were being tossed around like a leaf on river rapids. Unbeknownst to me the rig driver had climbed back into his cab, started up his rig, and proceeded to drive over my wife and drag her a distance of 18 feet +/-. The event occurred over a period of 10 seconds+/- before I was able to jump up on the rig and rattle the driver into stopping.
This accident caused my wife to tear some shoulder, neck, and various other muscles as she was shaken on 3 plains while trying to both escape the vehicle and reach over to honk the horn to alert the rig driver of his errant driving.
Here's the scenario that I need assistance with: That happened in Maine and we live in NS Canada. We hired lawyers with a Maine law firm who dealt with our case for 6 months until they felt we'd be better represented by a law firm with more cross border experience. The new law firm has passed us through three of their lawyers each seemingly less interesed in the case than their predecessor. The initial case value in the 2nd law firms initial guesstimate was $150,000 and it has now, in their legal opinion, dwindled to $20,000. ........ $20,000 doesn't even touch lost wages let alone medical and time expense. The current lawyer doesn't feel arbitration or trial will increase the $20,000 value by one cent and is recommending we settle.
Has anyone any idea what we should do next. If we seperate ourselves from our current lawyer they intend a lein on the future settlement to the tune of $10k yet in researching comparable Maine personal injury cases I've found settlements starting at $50,000 and up to $250,000.
My wife and I are not looking to make a million dollars and reem the opposing insurance company but merely to have her past, present, & future wage loss, medical expenses, and losses due to the blatent wrongdoing of a rig driver covered.
Need help in Canada 'eh
1 Answer from Attorneys
The incident sounds as though it was terrifying for both of you. It is the sort of event that can cause emotional distress for you as a bystander. It seems from your description that your wife has soft tissue injuries and that you may not have treated yourself for emotional distress.
Legal damages are to a degree a function of the medical bills incurred and wages lost as can be causally related to the incident. The figures you recite and advice to settle you reference may be as a result of the level of documented damages and also the degree to which your current lawyers feel they can prove the causation element.
My firm does not have any cross-border expertise, but if you were injured in Maine, I would assume you would file a lawsuit in Maine so Canadian law would not need to be a factor. You may have Canadian issues related to medical liens.
Settlements are not reported in legal literature, only verdicts. I am not sure what research you have done to date on your own regarding comparable cases, but I would want to review the research with you before placing any weight on them as case valuation is highly subective and factually dependent.
My firm is always willing to review a case. While I am not advocating that you change lawyers, I do feel you should be confident with whatever representation you receive. If you want to contact us to review your case materials you can follow up with us outside of Lawguru. Our website with contact info is www.atrlaw.pro.