She was found to be in the wrong, and was cited for open container and causing an accident. She was not legally drunk, but she did register. I did not think I was hurt at the time, but went to the doctor the following month and they found 3 pinched nerves in my back and muscle damage in my neck and shoulder. The neurologist said that all I could do is PT and that I would have to put up with the pain, because they could not do surgery on 3 disc on top of each other. Can I sue for pain and suffering?
If you can prove your injuries diagnosed the following month were caused or aggravated by the collision and not by a post-accident intervening cause, you might have a viable cause of action against the other driver. Waiting for a month after the accident to require or to get medical treatment (if this is what occurred) will make your case tougher but not unwinnable. Feel free to call or email me at no charge to discuss the matter further.
Robert G. Rothstein Assoc.
Regardless of whether you can sue or not for the accident, I would get a second opinion on whether or not your pain can be relieved. The delay in seeking treatment at the time of the accident may cause you problems in seeking recovery. You may be able to address that issue if your doctor can give a clear opinion that the injuries are related to the accident, and you will have to rule out any events that may have occurred after the car accident which the insurance company could say was the total cause or contributing factor for your injuries. Did you provide a recorded statement to the insurance company? Did you go to the hospital or doctor immediately after the accident? There are many questions that need to be asked by an Atlanta, Georgia accident injury attorney to give a good assessment of whether there are enough evidence and facts to support an action.
Law Office of Sidney Weinstein
Atlanta, Georgia Accident Injury Attorney
You need a personal injury attorney right away. Preferably one with experience with punitive damages claims against individuals and asset tracing for attachment of your judgment.
You have a claim for negligence against the other driver, that's clear and has been articulated by the other lawyers here. The woman driving the other car had a duty to operate a car reasonably and prudently under the circumstances and she breached that duty by operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. As an actual and proximate result of her breach, you suffered personal injury and financial and personal loss.
To answer your question, you are entitled to all of your medical bills (not just your copays), lost wages, and compensation for your pain and suffering both now, and in the future.
The tricky thing here is that, while her insurance will likely cover all of the damages I just mentioned, many insurance companies have an exclusion for punitive damages.
Under Georgia law, you can seek punitive damages for willful and wanton or reckless conduct. This is more than mere negligence and must have some semblance of an intentional act. The damages i mentioned before are actually considered compensatory damages (designed to "make the plaintiff whole" after an injury). Punitive damages, by comparison, are designed to punish reckless conduct (designed to "put a hole in the defendant" is the way Charles Adams III, author of Georgia Law of Torts puts it).
Like I said, a lot of insurance companies exclude coverage for punitive damages. So, any judgment for punitive damages may have to be collected directly from the drunk driver. Knowing how to find assets and attach a lien to those assets is a skill many personal injury or car wreck lawyers don't have, not because of incompetence, but it's generally outside their focus, usually.
You should ask the attorney you consult with knows if he or she knows how to do "Article 9 Judgment lien attachment to fixtures" or "a real estate judgment lien attachment" for any potential punitive damages judgment.
Best of luck. Sorry to hear about your back. I hope you can cope with your pain well.
My fellow Georgian from Cartersville, this is not good. Hopefully your injuries amount to only soft tissue & not worse. There are many different issues to talk about. Here's my initial advice, talk with several different attorneys & pick the one whom you feel you connect with best. There are many questions to ask such as will they take the case to trial before a jury (if necessary)? Can the attorney tell a good story & have the ability to connect with a jury? How much experience does the attorney have handling civil & criminal matters involving DWI? How much experience does the attorney have pursing & obtaining punitive damages for clients? How available is the attorney to actively work on your case? Does the attorney have both professional & personal experience with the issues you are going through? Does the attorney have your best interests at heart? Will the attorney look you in the eye & tell you the truth, not necessarily what you want to hear? Is the attorney empathetic? How much experience does the attorney have pursuing & obtaining emotional & psychological damages? I am reachable @ my office at (404) 303-8875. You are welcome to call me if you wish & would be happy to speak with you anytime over the weekend as well. I hope you feel better and am so sorry that this happened to you. Take care.
Sam Levine, Esq.
"A strong, caring, zealous advocate for the injured"
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