I was stopped in traffic on the interstate (from another accident a few miles ahead) when another car rear-ended me going around 80 miles an hour. Witnesses say that the driver never attempted to brake. The impact forced me into another vehicle before sending me air-born. The car hit my gas tank causing my car to explode before it hit the ground. I had to bust my way out of the window. Both the car and myself were engulfed in flames. I suffered 3rd degree burns, bruised lungs, extreme soreness, back/neck strain, and I lost most of my hair. Not to mention the obvious mental stress and inability to drive comfortably for who knows how long. I'm not looking for an easy payday but I want to make sure I take the appropriate steps to ensure that I am taken care for all issues. Advice?
I am so sorry to here about this horrible accident. The first thing you need to do is take care of yourself. Second, you need to hire an attorney in the Atlanta area who is experienced in catastrophic injuries from car accidents. Do not make any statements to the other drivers' insurance companies and don't sign any documents with the insurance companies until you speak with an attorney. You should have no problem having an attorney give you a free consultation at your convenience. I hope you recover quickly.
Sid Weinstein, Atlanta Accident Injury Attorney
Im sorry to hear of your injuries. You should speak to a personal injury lawyer soon and, of course, continue to treat and heal. It sounds from what you've written you have a good case and I hope there are sufficient insurance funds and other assets to compensate you. I would be happy to speak with you when you feel up to it. My number is 478-254-3606.
In such a catastrophic accident there are two things to do quickly.
Number one - get all the medical care you need. You need to recover and get better.
Number two - retain experienced counsel. Getting a lawyer involved quickly helps prepare your claims as to recovery for medical bills (current and future), permanent impairment, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Studies show that unrepresented parties average receiving less than one-third of represented parties.
Number three - make no statements to the insurer. Those statements are invaluable to the insurer and always will be twisted against you. The claims adjuster is not your friend. Refuse to talk to him without counsel.
Number four - while you don't want a rush to settle, there are vital deadlines to preserve evidence, and there are legal deadlines should you end up in court.
Number five - take lots of pictures - of your vehicle, of the site, of the other vehicle and of your injuries.
I am sorry to hear of what must have been a terrifying experience for you. I'd be glad to offer you a free evaluation and consultation. I've handled cases for 32 years. Call my office at 404-768-3509 or email me at email@example.com (putting "Request for consultation" in the subject line will speed a reply). I wish you a speedy recovery. Let me know if I can be of assistance.
You can be sure that the insurance company for the at-fault driver has already hired an attorney and an investigator to defend their interests. They will have been to the scene of the collision, to the wrecker yard where the vehicles were taken, and will have interviewed the eyewitnesses. They will be relentless in protecting their interests. I suggest you be relentless in securing the best legal representation you can find and working with your attorney to gather all the evidence necessary to win your claim. You have a serious claim that should be pursued aggressively, starting now.
I'm available to talk to you tonight, if you would like to call. My direct line is Six-Seven-Eight 358-2564.
Attorney Pete Pearson
I am so sorry for what you have been through. In addition to what the other attorneys who have responded have told you, make sure you also notify your own insurance company about the wreck if you have not already done so. You will definitely want to consult with a lawyer in the Atlanta area to make sure that evidence is preserved and that all available insurance coverage is uncovered. This is a case in which you definitely need a lawyer to protect your interests.
Kimberly W. Grant
As you can see from the response you should have no problem finding a well qualified lawyer. The first thing is to seek medical care for your burns and other injuries (head to toe).
You will want to contact an attorney. Do not rush into this decision, you need to find someone that you are comfortable with as this matter may take time.
However that being said you should be diligent and find counsel as quickly as you are comfortable doing there are deadlines which do not work in your favor.
Something you absolutely must do, if you do not hire an attorney soon, is to contact your automobile insurance carrier and file a claim, time limits for your own insurance can vary so the sooner the better. Obviously if you hire an attorney they will do that for you immediately.
A big question is your future medical care as it relates to your burn and the applicable insurance coverage that is available. The insurance coverage can be determined fairly quickly and any qualified attorney will know how to obtain this information. There are many other factors that go into investigating a claim like this and that is why all of the attorneys including myself agree that you should seek counsel.
Also, evidence such as the vehicles (they can be moved or destroyed) and the scene are constantly changing so instead of you worrying about recovering evidence, you should get an attorney who will do it for you while you recover from your serious injuries.
Focus on your medical care and speak with attorneys. Burns are horrific injuries as I am sure you are all to familiar with and they require constant care, so address your care first.
I wish you luck.
In situation like this insurance companies like to try and the victim to resolve their case without an attorney. Insurance companies are never fair and will not treat you fair but just want to make you go away. You need to retain and attorney to represent you in this matter. You may need to file sue. If you would like a free consultation please call me at 404-636-6616.
I join all the other attorneys in wishing you well. We will pray for your full recovery.
You have received a lot of good advice in these responses. I concur that you should first attend to your medical care. Then you should make sure that both your own auto insurance company and the other Driver's insurance at notified about the accident. You should get a family member to take pictures of your injuries and of the car immediately.
My office has some great success in catastrophic injury cases recently and we would be glad to meet with you and assist you. My phone number is 770-832-0300.
Again, prayers for you and your family.
I am sorry to hear about your situation, and admire the fact that you are not looking for an easy payday. In personal injury law, and especially in your situation, there is no easy payday. The money that you should receive as a result of this claim is the hardest "earned" money that you will ever "make." I have been a trial lawyer for over a decade, and believe that all of my clients would happily return the money if they could go back in time and wipe out the injuries.
With that said, you have been the victim of an unfortunate and preventable accident. You owe it to yourself to get quality, trustworthy legal representation from an experienced attorney. I strongly suggest that you interview several attorneys and find one that you are comfortable with. One who takes the time to explain exactly what you should expect and lays out a plan for how to maximize your recovery. Additionally, I would strongly encourage you to talk to the attorney about the interplay of automobile liability coverage, underinsured motorist coverage, and collateral sources. These three areas of the law are critically important in determining the ultimate recovery in your claim. I would be more than happy to speak to you about your claim and will make myself available anytime to meet you with you about this horrible situation. I can be reached a 404-835-4935. I wish you all the best and, most importantly, a speedy recovery.
The only information I would add is that you should hire a lawyer soon so you can retain an accident reconstructionist who can map the scene, photograph the cars and download the data from the black box recorders in the vehicles so there can be no denial of responsibility from the other driver.
The other attorneys' responses are quite valid. You will have no problem obtaining an attorney to represent you. With your severe injuries, in addition to following others' good advice, it's very important to determine the amount of insurance coverage available. An attorney, with the proper steps, can force the other driver's insurer to disclose their policy limits. Moreover, you should determine the amount, if any, of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage available to you. This coverage may apply even if the other driver is insured.
I recommend that you review my web site. I go into considerable detail about personal injury claims, insurance issues, etc. Please feel free to contact me: (706) 549-9500.
My condolences to you regarding your injuries...they are frightening. I agree with the other lawyers but would also suggest that depending on the make/model of your vehicle and the amount of available insurance, you should consult with a lawyer who has experience with motor vehicle products liability cases. Although this was a high speed impact, your gas tank should have never exploded like that. Motor vehicle product liability cases can be extremely expensive to pursue and your attorney should be able to tell you whether it is in your interest to such a claim. Sometimes it is and sometimes it is not. I wish you the best of luck in your recovery.
Andrew P. Copenhaver
Hire an attorney who is experienced in handling (and trying) serious injury cases and who has experience dealing with expert witnesses, such as accident reconstructionists. Be sure to notify your own auto insurance company about the incident if you haven't already, because you may have applicable uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Then focus on getting better and follow your doctor's advice and instructions.
I agree with most of the attorneys on this post. The most important thing is for you to focus on getting the best treatment & doctors the state of Georgia has to offer, so you can make a full recovery.
One way to access the best treatment and doctors in Georgia, is hiring an attorney that handles catastrophic injuries cases. These attorneys will have a list of recommended doctors they have worked with in the past.
Hiring an attorney who handles catastrophic injuries cases will make sure the appropriate steps are taken to care for all your issues. A few things you can look for when hiring attorney is:
1. Ask how many cases they have tired, and how long has it been since their last trial. Insurance companies are afraid to go to court on most cases. Hiring an attorney who isn't afraid of going to court sends the wrong doers a messages that you are serious about all your issues being addressed appropriately.
2. Ask the attorney what percentage of their practice makes up personal injuries cases. Handling a catastrophic injury case is completely different from handling a regular car wreck case. Therefore, you need an attorney who's practice is dedicated solely to the practice of personal injury law.
3. Ask for letters of recommendations. Hiring an attorney is a lot like getting married. You want to know what you are signing up for before it's too late. Letters of recommendations could let you know if the attorney is good at return client's phone calls; how well the attorney keeps clients informed during the settlement process; and whether previous clients has referred work to their office.
I wish you a speedy and full recovery. If you need any additional tips, please feel free to contact me at 404-850-7951 ext. 706. I'll be happy to assist you.
These cases are highly fact specific- and this is a serious case. You have a viable case and should contact a personal injury lawyer. We are sorry to hear about your injuries and would be happy to help you get the recovery you deserve.
Because of the economy, more lawyers are jumping into personal injury and should stick to what they know. Personal injury law REQUIRED knowledge about medical science and biomechanics (the forces on a body in a wreck) far greater and more specific than you'd think. They also need to know all of those areas where insurance might hide or how to negotiate claims. The other side has doctors and millions on their side to say nothing is wrong or fight the claim. If you have any further questions, feel free to email me- firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call- 800-6-know-law. More information is located at http://www.knowthelawyer.com. We'd love to help with this.
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