My child was struck by a vehicle while she was walking on the sidewalk of a busy street. The car lost control due to weather conditions, (light rain), and drove right up on the sidewalk. My child suffered serious head trauma, resulting in emergency brain surgery that night. We had no health insurance. Her medical bills are massive. My mother retained an attorney for us but he specializes in elder abuse and also Trusts....not personal injury. The driver's Insurance company is offering less than her medical expenses. Do you think the end result could possibly be different if we went with an attorney that actually specializes in Personal Injury cases?
In a situation where there is a serious injury, like your matter, hiring a “personal injury” lawyer can make a big difference. Each area of law has certain subtleties you learn after practicing in that area for years. These subtleties are not something that you learn from reading a book but come from experience through active practice. I'm not saying your result will be any different, because we do not know how much insurance the driver of the car has, we do not know if you have uninsured motorist coverage, and we do not know if there is some other claim that can be filed, such as a government tort claim. But these are things that a personal injury lawyer looks for when first meeting with a client. I do suggest consulting with a personal injury lawyer to find out if there may be some other means of recovery. My best to your child.
Assuming the driver of the car left the roadway and struck your child on the sidewalk and your child is not at fault, then it seems outrageous to me that the insurance company is only offering a portion of the medical bills, unless that is the policy limit for the driver/car owner? None the less, you need to at least have the case reviewed by an experienced civil litigation and trial lawyer that knows automobile liability and insurance laws. Even if the insurance is offering the policy limits, you can sue and get a judgment and collect on the driver and possibly the car owner's ( if he was not also the driver) personal assets if they have anything? An owner, other than the driver's liability is limited to $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident, unless you can show they negligently entrusted the car to the driver? Also, if you witnessed the accident you may have your own claim for emotional distress. Have the case reviewed by an experienced lawyer in this area of law?
I've been posting my biased opinions and comments here and there on the Internet and Avvo for a while now (since Al Gore invented the online attorney forums, I believe), and every time I see a post about a person doing battle all by his or her non-lawyer self against an insurance company, I keep thinking the post might as well read something like, “my no-insurance brother-in-law needs to get that brain tumor removed from the base of his skull. It's about the size of a penny nail and is hurting him something awful. He's up to six cans of Coors Light a day for the pain. So, what I need to know is whether I should go in using a through the left ear approach or the right...”
No one who has suffered personal injury should handle personal injury cases. No one but a neurosurgeon should do brain surgery, even if one’s brother-in-law is a schmuck.
A good personal injury attorney should not only understand the law applying to the claim/lawsuit but fully understand the medical damages associated with the injury. Trauma can affect many body parts, vary in severity, vary in long term complications and sequelae. To better one’s chances for a full and fair recovery, one must have an attorney who knows what to ask for from the defendant – compensation for all bodily harms and future medical care that will be needed.
We personal injury lawyers offer free consultations. We handle cases on a contingent basis. We actually love the game, the battling, the negotiations, the tactics, etc. An injured person should just worry about getting better.
Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker
Fransen & Molinaro, LLP
980 Montecito Drive, Suite 206
Corona, CA 92879
www.fransenandmolinaro.com / www.888MDJDLAW.com
"When you need a lawyer, call the Doctor... Call Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D... Call (888)MDJDLAW."
* This post and all others I make on Internet are for informational purposes only. None of the information or materials I post are legal advice. Nothing I post as comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. While I try to be accurate, I do not guarantee accuracy.
** Fransen & Molinaro, LLP practices in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, and real estate law.
Absolutely it matters. Insurance companies are well aware of the attorneys with extensive personal injury experience and the ability to fully litigate the claim and take it to trial, if necessary. You will absolutely get a significantly higher recovery with a personal injury attorney who is competent and respected. The facts you describe indicate that this is potentially a clear liability claim with significant injuries. Your child should get a result that far exceeds the cost of medical treatment (up to and potentially over the policy limits of coverage).
No way to know for sure. If the atty has expeience in litigation/trial of injury claims such as elder abuse, he/she could competently handle the case. If his specialty is elder abuse of a financial nature as opposed to physical, he may not have the medical background that would be helpful.
Most definitely. You have a very serious case. Do not wait one second. Normally, you would need to retain a pedestrian attorney. You can call me without any obligation. Without an attorney, you run the risk of being swept under the rug by the insurance company adjuster. Do not talk to them anymore. Best of luck.
It does indeed matter. You need a personal injury lawyer, and perhaps even one with a subspecialty in automobile accident cases. The trusts attorney retained by your mother may prove helpful as time goes on, however. If your child has continuing injury then she may need to have a Special Needs Trust created and the trusts attorney should be able to counsel you on that matter, if need be.
Personal injury cases, especially those involving brain injuries, involve issues with which personal injury attorneys are most familiar. I suggest that you contact and meet with more than one attorney who focuses his or her practice in the personal injury area and who has experience handling brain injury cases. You should not be afraid to ask about the attorney's specific experience. Most personal injury attorneys will provide a free consultation to help you decide.
Personal injury attorneys are really more "insurance attorneys for the people." Insurance is a very complicated process and an experienced personal injury attorney knows how to seek out, find, and collect from all applicable insurance policies.
Brain trauma and child cases are very complicated in terms of proving causation, damages, and getting all the proper parties notified of their duties to pay claims to protect the people they insure by giving you the policy limits. Get an attorney that knows this type of "bad faith" insurance litigation: a personal injury or wrongful death attorney.
I am devastated to hear about your child's injuries. I wish her the very best with her recovery. As for your question, it's an easy one and can be answered in one word: Absolutely. This is a serious personal injury case that warrants a serious personal injury attorney. Preferably one with experience dealing with traumatic brain injury. Shop around a bit. Meet with several attorneys to see what the what they have to offer. Your daughter deserves an expert who can maximize her potential for compensation. Good luck.
To answer your question as simple as possible, I'll ask you this: "Do you go to the dentist if you are complaining of eye pain?" Simple answer is NO.
Personal Injury cases are not as simple as most non-PI attorneys claim it to be. SPECIALLY one that deals with head trauma. You should seek a PI attorney ASAP before anyone signs any papers.
Contact me if you need help or for more advice.
You have received good advice from the attorneys who have answered your question. There is no doubt that it makes a difference hiring an experienced personal injury trial lawyer to handle your case. If you had to have heart surgery, would you hire a family practitioner to perform the surgery? Of course you would not. You want an experienced attorney who specializes in personal injury cases to pursue your claims for you. Good luck.
Most of the time, most attorneys do an acceptible job, once in a while they will be a diaster. However, I would suggest asking certain questions of the lawyer, about prior cases, their wins and loses and whether they have handled your specfic case before. In cases involving serious personal injury ,please be very careful who you choose. make sure they have a good handle on insurance law and feels comfortable handling the case, and ask them for their credentials.
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