I started experiencing numbness in my right arm mostly when sleeping at night but occasionally during the day too. Xrays and an MRI confirmed neck degeneration that is probably (doctor analysis) not exclusively resulting from the accident....age (62) and other factors could have contributed over the years although there have never been any symptoms other than "creaky neck". The accident seems to be the catalyst for the current discomfort. It has been improving when I wear a neck brace at night and stretch it to relieve pressure on the disks.
It sounds like you have a good case with possibly significant injuries and should be entitled to a substantial settlement. To evaluate your case more information is necessary. How much damage was done to your vehicle? How much are your medical bills? How long did you treat with a doctor or chiropractor? Has any doctor told you that you need future treatment or surgery? Do you plan to return to any doctor for further treatment? Did you have any loss of income? What insurance company is handling your injury claim? Do you have medical coverage under your auto policy or through work or private group insurance?
Calculating the value of a personal injury case is not as simple as you might think and involves many factors. One of those factors is an apportionment issue relating to preexisting degenerative changes; to what extent are your complaints attributable to your preexisting condition versus aggravation of your prior condition or new injury?
If you attempt to settle this case on your own, you will likely receive far less than an attorney can recover for you even after deduction of attorney fees. I would strongly recommend that you hire an attorney and let him/her handle your case.
There is no multiple for what you should settle for. I had a similar case in California where my client was parked on the shoulder of the road and was hit while a reckless driver hit her from behind. Their initial offer was in excess of $20,000, but we have now filed a lawsuit and are likely to get more than that. She recently met with a doctor because her pain has continued and the doctor now says that she will need surgery. You should hire an attorney so you're not bullied around because all the things that were mentioned should be paid for.! There is no upfront cost to hire an attorney. 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
The value of your case is dependent upon the exact connection and relationship between your present discomfort and what percentage of factor the accident is of the causation. The ultimate resolution is going to be dependent upon the strength of your doctor's report and a matter of your medical bills. Many personal injury attorneys look to Verdict Search for studies, jury verdicts, and if they can find cases similar to yours to show what juries have awarded in those past circumstances to obtain any information in regard to valuation of individual cases. Why your case may be different is unknown, I cannot recall a case where a client may have received less money as a result of representation rather than receiving a higher degree without representation; it all depends on the facts of the case. Insurance carriers can be pretty slippery as they are highly trained experts to pay little or nothing on valid claims.
In my opinion you should immediately obtain the services of an experienced Personal Injury Attorney in the same geographic area where the accident occurred. They will obtain your past and present medical records. I would be asking my treating physicians to confirm that the accident is the cause of the present discomfort and exacerbated the preexisting condition making it symptomatic.
Don't hesitate any longer, get yourself representation from a personal injury attorney like myself or the several others that have commented here on this thread. You mention that the collision was the "catalyst" for the injury, but nevertheless, injuries develop over time and if your only pre-existing condition was a strained neck before, this looks like it was much more than just a kickstart to something prior. Don't let them convince you that you don't deserve to be compensated. Have you already been evaluated by a doctor? Have you been seeking treatment? Handling a claim on your own is likely to leave you with a fraction of the amount you could have earned with quality legal representation. You need the facts to be reviewed by an expert. Consultations are free, so you have nothing to lose.
Every study that has ever been done shows that injured individuals make larger recoveries when they are represented, even taking into account the attorney's fees that they pay, so if you do not have a lawyer already, I encourage you to find one.
From the face if it appears you have a good case. Even if you had degenerative changes before the accident occurred, spine surgeons will tell you that if they are asymptomatic, there is no reason to believe that would have changed without the trauma from the accident. The law provides that the defendant must take you as your are, and if you were especially susceptible to the problems you are now experiencing, that does not mean the defendant is not responsible for the additional harm and pain and suffering he or she caused.
Without an experienced personal injury attorney the insurance company will convince you that it was all because of degeneration and pre existing issues. You seem to have pretty much convinced yourself. Retain an experienced attorney if you want more than peanuts. Here is how cases are evaluated: [Blue-Link-Below]
You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com dealing with many of the issues you are now facing. The Guides can be accessed through my profile page on Avvo.com.
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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.
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