You should immediately consult with a personal injury attorney to get an idea of what your options truly are. Small claims is always an option, but remember that your damages are capped at $7,500.00.
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You should consult with an attorney before accepting any sort of settlement with the insurance company. Insurance companies routinely give low-ball offers to unrepresented parties.
Don’t even think about settling your case until you have reached an end of healing and you have talked with a local personal injury attorney.
DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.
In these types of cases an attorney should take the case on a contingency basis, meaning you won't have to pay out of pocket. Unfortunately, it is standard for insurance carriers to play these types of games. Make sure you get an attorney that is willing to take the case to trial.
While I am an attorney, I am not your attorney. You should always speak with your own attorney to gain full and complete legal advice.
I have little to add to what has been said, other than to reiterate that small claims court is not the appropriate place to pursue a claim like yours. You will need to offer medical and other expert testimony to show that even what appears to be a minor accident can have a major impact on a person's health and well being.
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.
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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.
In small claims court you are limited to recovering $10,000.00 which might not be enough given your possible injuries and long term effects from those injuries. I think it would be worth reviewing all facts to determined whether filing a suit in regular court is a better way to go.
Thanks, and feel free to follow up.
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