To sue or not to sue. Ok as much I love laws and research and investigating and all that fun stuff I'm just not feeling it right now. I'm looking for a fast answer to help guide me in the right direction. Last Tuesday I was on my way to work and I stopped behind another vehicle that was stopped for traffic and some guy not paying attention slammed into me. I drive a 4 wheel drive Blazer. He hit my trailer hitch so hard that the impact forced his car up under my trailer hitch. This lifted my back tires off the road and shoved me into the car in front of me. The car that hit me was a school transportation car. I seem to be the only one hurt. After the three hour wait for the police my dad drove me to the hospital. They took some x-rays and told me I pulled a muscle and I would be fine. They told me to put ice on it and I could return to work the next day. In the middle of the night I woke up in pain. I took some ibuprofen 800 (it was prescribed to me for my gallbladder) and tossed and turned in pain until that morning. Finally once someone woke up that could drive me to urgent care. Unfortunately the insurance adjuster showed up to look at my car. He was a jerk. I feel I deserve pain and suffering just for having to meet him. Anyway after standing there in pain for an hour and a half, and listening to his complaints about how dirty and muddy my yard was, he finally finished his report. On the way to urgent care I called them and they told me if I couldn�t pay upfront they couldn�t help me. We rerouted to the hospital. They gave me muscle relaxers and an anti inflammatory and wrote me off work till Friday. They didn�t even really examine me. The doctor pushed on my shoulders and wrote me two prescriptions. I filled my prescriptions that day and the next day I met with a lawyer because both conversations I had with the insurance company of the guy that hit me definitely did not go in my favor. They are doing everything they can to find me at fault because I hit the guy in front of me. Oh yeah something I forgot to mention in all of my rambling was that with my luck I had the accident in front of a body shop repair place. We pulled into their parking lot to get out of the rush hour traffic as the dispatcher had instructed. The shop did a free estimate while my father took me to the hospital.
Ok back to where I left off. During all the fighting with the insurance company, stressing about work and bills, and spending most of my days hungry because I couldn�t cook and I couldn�t drive because my car is wrecked and I can�t move my head. I had to send my dog to my parents and sleep in a recliner. On top of that I had to spend some of my rent money on prescriptions and gas to get to the hospital. Finally Friday come along, instead of getting better, like the doctors had promised, I was getting worse. By the time I made it to my first job I was almost in tears. My supervisor sent me home because I couldn�t move. I had pains shooting down my back and arms. The muscles in my neck kept going into spasms and I had a migraine. Not to mention I was exhausted and I couldn�t take the pain medicine (that didn�t help much anyway) because it made me drowsy. While I was waiting for my ride to come back a chiropractor had received my accident report and wanted to help me. I stopped there on the way home (regardless of the instructions of the lawyer I had spoken with). He diagnosed me with severe whiplash. Every time he moved me even the slightest my neck, shoulders, and back popped and cracked. I felt like he way trying to pull me apart. Needless to say I didn�t feel any worse then I did before his help. He didn�t do anything more at that point other then some electro thingy, ice, some special tape on my neck, and some stuff called bio freeze. He told me to come back on Monday and asked me to get my x-rays from the hospital. He also took me off work at both jobs for another week. Then it was home to the recliner. With the help of muscle relaxers, anti inflammatory, ibuprofen, ice packs, minimal movement, and some bio freeze, I made it through the weekend. Today he showed me my x-rays. I had two slipped disks in my neck and the force of the impact had forced my spine straight rather then the healthy. S-shape that normal spines have. He also did an adjustment. For nearly two hours I felt better. However I think I�m going to have another long night in the recliner. My doctor told me he would need to see me 3 times a week for 4 weeks. After that he would start reducing my visits.
So I could whine all night about my injuries and how nothing helps but more importantly the car I was driving was a loaner from my mom. The body shop that did the estimate suggested the frame was bent and that it needed to be further inspected. Also the transmission slips and the fuel pump whines. Both the gentleman at the body shop and my father (who happens to be a mechanic) said that the vehicle should me totaled. The adjuster estimated $995 for repairs. Did I mention I did speak with a lawyer? Well I did. She told me I would pay more for an attorney then I would receive in damages. But gave me some tips on how to not get screwed. Pardon my French. She told me to look up the private value on Kelly bluebook and not take less then that if they totaled the car. I did and the value is $1,730. Also the insurance company is saying if we want the frame and transmission checked we have to pay to do it ourselves because the adjuster is not qualified to do that. The estimate the adjuster gave didn�t even match the estimate the insurance company gave us. Anyway where I�m confused is who is responsible to pay to have the car checked? And also the claims lady I spoke with regarding my medical bills mention pain and suffering how does one determine the amount of pain and suffering. Should I get a lawyer and file a lawsuit because some of the things the insurance company has told me my doctor says are fraudulent. Like that I had to settle for everything including car and medical before they will pay for anything. I�m new at this. I am 26 and this is my first time really dealing with an accident. And my parents can�t afford extra bills. My father is sick and can�t work and my mother is struggling to keep her taxi service open. Also I have 2 jobs and I�m looking at losing one of them over this. I�m becoming frustrated with the whole thing because I keep hearing a million different thing and have no Idea which to turn. I kind of just want to crawl under rock for a few days to clear my head but I can�t chance my parents getting ripped off. Any responses will be helpful. Oh and I apologize for the poor grammar. I�m still on pain medication and rather drowsy.
2 Answers from Attorneys
It sounds like you have had a real tough time. People do not realize how disabling your type of injury is until they experience it themselves! On top of that, you have to deal with an insurance adjustor who has the job of getting you to settle for as little money as possible. You should talk to another attorney. Cases like this are handled on a contingency basis-The attorney fees come out of the money that the insurance co. pays- and you should be able to find one who handles accident cases. You did not mention the name of the insurance company but I would guess allstate, state farm, or geico? In any event, the insurance for the person who smashed into you will not want to pay until you agree to settle.
I have been handling these types of claim for over 30 years and would be happy to talk to you if you want to give me a call at 440-953-2000 or 800-953-2003. No charge or obligation for a confidential call. (Who said you can't get anything for free?!)
Call me or call someone else-but do talk to another attorney-the sooner the better.
I agree with Mr. Davies. You should definitely seek counsel on your case. I would also mention that because this accident just happened, I would not be in a hurry to settle...as tempting as it may be. At this point it is difficult to determine the full extent of your damages. Is it "just" whiplash? Bear in mind that in the great state of Ohio one has two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury suit (for good reason). I would be happy to discuss your case in more detail over the phone if you would like.
Our firm has been practicing personal injury law for over 15 years in the greater Cincinnati area.
Andrew R. Tobergte, Esq.
513-737-5180 ext. 22