I believe this is the second time you have asked this question and I am not sure if you are playing games with us, so I'll answer the one question that you have asked that I can answer, and which I have some experience with. I have sought punitive damages to enhance my client's recovery when the driver was distracted by a cell phone call, on the theory it is like drunk driving. Some judges have allowed me to do this, so the answer is possibly yes, you might be able to get more because of the cell phone use.
The value of any case depends on many factors, including the following: what is the liability, the nature and extent of the impact, the nature and extent of any injuries; was there surgery or will there be surgery in the future, the diagnosis and prognosis, the amount of medical bills (past and future), the amount of lost wages (past and future), prior medical history; and how the accident interfered with your daily living. Other factors include the location of the accident and recent verdicts for similar cases, if there are any.
Your lawyer will assist you with this analysis. If you have not retained a lawyer please consult one as soon as possible. A 1999 study by the Insurance Research Council concludes hiring an attorney pays significant dividends for accident victims.
Here are some questions which help you make a decision to meet/hire a lawyer:
• You sustained serious injuries with possible long-term repercussions.
• There is a dispute over who was at fault.
• You feel pressure from a claims adjuster to agree to a quick settlement. Fast usually takes precedent over fair.
• You feel you are not being fully compensated for your current and future medical costs resulting from your injury.
• You feel the statute of limitations may come into effect before you reach a fair settlement.
With a case like yours it seems like you have some good facts in order to get a high settlement. The most important thing when building your case are: liability (were you at fault); how bad are your injuries to your body and your property; and of course how high is the at fault person's policy. A lot of these things sound like they are not complete yet in your case so its something that is worth hiring an attorney for in order to get a sense of whether you have a case and what the strategy would be for you to build a strong case!
I've handled many of these cases and wouldn't mind speaking to you.
View my website & call for a FREE consultation if you are a California resident 877-427-2752 or you can email me at Michael@Kingofpersonalinjurylaw.com www.KingofPi.com I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers must not be relied upon. Legal advice must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for legal advice. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference
You don't get compensation just for being in an accident. You must suffer injuries - which you do not state that you did. To get compensation, you must successfully prove (a) that the other party was in whole or part at fault for the accident; and (b) the injuries you claim were caused by the accident complained of, presumably being serious in nature, rather than minor soft tissue complaints. The value of a claim is generally not based on the manner or way in which the defendant acted negligently, it is based on the degree of seriousness and the permancy of the injuries claimed. The more serious and more permanent, the greater the value of a claim. In rare instances, a the conduct can be considered so "reckless" (showing indifference to likely injury to others) that punitive damages might be allowed - most typically found in drunk driving cases. Notwithstanding the experience of one of the other responders, you shoul not expect to be able to obtain more damages just because the accident happened while a driver was on the phone or texting.
A plethora of factors go into putting a number on a case. You would start by picking up the phone and calling a local personal injury lawyer to investigate and evaluate your claim.
Do yourself a favor and contact a personal injury attorney, as attempting to handle the case on your own could prove detrimental. Most would speak to you for free, and handle your case on a contingency fee basis.
Farid Yaghoubtil is an attorney at Downtown L.A. Law Group - 1850 E. 15th St., Los Angeles, CA 90021. (855)385-2529.
No one should handle any claim (involving a motor vehicle accident with bodily injury) against any insurance company without a lawyer. Claims should be handled by a lawyer - one who will be able to understand and explain the physical damages and injuries from accident. The victim of a car accident really needs to worry about one thing - getting better. That means attending doctor's appointments, attending physical therapy (if appropriate), and taking his or her medication. All of the rest can be handled by a personal injury attorney. We earn our fees (contingent by the way) by taking on the stress and hassle of fighting for money - I dare say some of us actually enjoy the fight, but I realize that most people do not enjoy conflict.
As for getting recovery – even if the at fault drive did a hit and run – the attorney will be the one to know how to go after anyone and everyone plus their insurance companies who has even a hint of liability... while making absolutely sure not to cross the line into frivolous lawsuits or extortion, we will use all legal means to recover for our injured client(s). In a motor vehicle accident, most personal injuries immediately target the driver, the owner, and the employer of the driver as potential defendants. If the defendants want to argue among themselves, so be it, but if the accident is the fault of the driver, at least one of them will be found liable when the jury gives the verdict.
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.
Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D. ... Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker... Fransen & Molinaro, LLP... 980 Montecito Drive, Suite 206... Corona, CA 92879... (951)520-9684... 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.
Hire an attorney, don't go it alone. Your question demonstrates you are out of your depth.
This response does not create a lawyer client relationship. Each case is determined on its specific facts and this reply is intended for a general audience and facts particular to your case may affect the answer. Consult with an attorney in person for specific answers to your questions.
With the severe injuries you have reported, why would you attempt to navigate this problem without the assistance of an attorney? Did you retain a Dr. to repair your wrist and ankle? Or, did you decide to operate on these body areas by yourself, at home, with a steak knife and mirror? It makes as much sense for you to attempt to handle this legal matter on your own as it would be for you to do your own surgery at home in your kitchen. Call an attorney today.
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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.
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