I was involved in an accident in Feb 2010. I was rear-ended while stopped at a red light. The lady hit me doing 41mph, pushing me into the truck in front of me. Although she has been found guilty on both counts from the accident in court, her insurance company is 'looking into' the sudden medical emergency defense, claiming she passed out due to a kidney condition. I currently have a lawyer, but am unsure he is doing everything possible. It has been over two months, I have been diagnoised with a lower lumbar strain, muscle damage through the group of muscles along the left side of my back, and whiplash in the neck. I have been out of work until this week. The car is obviously totalled. I understand my lawyer not pursuing a lawsuit until I'm through with therapy, but shouldnt I at least be entitled to a rental at this point? Should'nt it be on her insurance to pay UNTIL they can establish this defense? I am just wondering if I should pursue different counsel, or if this is just how the process goes.
3 Answers from Attorneys
There's nothing you can do to make the other insurance company pay for a rental. If you don't have rental coverage on your policy than you have to pay that expense until liability is accepted by the other ins. co. or else include those damages in the lawsuit you ultimately file. If liability is denied there is probably no reason to wait to file a lawsuit unless you are really seriously injured. By the time the case gets tried I'm sure you will be done treating from a soft tissue injury. I have faced "sudden emergency doctrine" defenses several times. Every time I held their feet to the fire and forced them to produce an expert medical report establishing all the elements of this affirmative defense they backed down. While this defense is recognized it is very hard to maintain successfully. If the insurance company insists on this defense you have no choice but to file. I would ask the ins. co. to make a liability determiniation asap so you can move forward one way or another.
Well, you're very welcome to call me. There's a 30 minute conversation that's necessary to really undertand what you should be expecting. I'm not going to say your lawyer can't get you a good award. But that will take a long time. In fact you won't know the true value of your case until you are healed.
The defendants medical emergency cannot and will not prevent you from recovering. She is liable. There are payments that should be started but you should have your insurance agent handling the vehicle issues. Also a medical payment should be forthcoming. If it doesn't feel right with your lawyer it's not too late to change Your contract with him may very well require you to pay him hourly if you fire him so better sooner than later that you make that decision 216.952.1990
Different attorneys have different strategies. This case appears to require more action. I don't see any reason why a lawsuit shouldn't have been filed already. Often times, the other side simply won't take anything seriously until that occurs. As for sudden emergency, that is hard to prove. Plus, if the person was aware of this kidney condition, he or she may have been advised of the risk of passing out, and possibly warned not to drive. You should get your own rental car for now and then request those charges as dmages in your case. Please call me to discuss.
Vaseem S. Hadi