The vehicle he was in was occupied by my sister-in-law, her 5 month old and her 5 year old as well. They were at a complete stop and were hit from behind by the at-fault at about 65mph. Car is totaled. They are offering $4,000 for all of my sons medical bills and pain and suffering. He received whip-lash and had stomach pain. Nothing we saught treatment for other than a follow-up with his doc after the ER visit. Insurance says we did not document any concern for injuries or mental/emotioal trauma so they won't pay. I know we need a lawyer but I don't know how to choose one who won't take all the money for themselves...
Personal Injury Lawyer
You should ask friends who have used a personal injury lawyer in the past and see what their experience was like. In addition you can contact your local State Bar and ask for referrals. It is important to feel comfortable with your attorney. Do not be afraid to take time to consider hiring a particular attorney after the initial consult.
Contact your state bar and ask for information about plaintiff's attorneys in your county, whether they have any record of discipline, go online and look up information about superlawyers in your town, ask friends, check online for any news stories about the lawyers you are considering, meet with them and ask how many cases they've handled and won that are like yours, ask for a fee schedule. Usually lawyers charge 33 1/3 of any recovery in a personal injury case to handle it up to time of trial and then 40 to 45% if it goes to trial. Ask the state bar if they can provide information about what is considered to be reasonable in your community for an auto rearender accident. Check with the state continuing legal education providers to see who teaches other lawyers in continuing education courses for auto accident/personal injury/tort courses. These are usually active and successful lawyers in that field of law. If one is in your community I would speak with them first. Don't give statements to opposing parties, their lawyers, their insurers, until you have representation by legal counsel. Save all physical evidence, photograph damage to vehicle, bruises, etc.
Disclaimer: It is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive legal consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. Consequently, this response does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship but is offered for general informational purposes only. Laws differ from state to state and each case turns on facts specific to the case and parties thereto, thus this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied upon as anything more than a starting point or suggestion that the questioner seek professional assistance from a practitioner in your state or county/parish, practicing in your area of law.
Attorneys do not take all of the money for themselves, but rather usually take these types of cases on a contingent fee basis. They charge somewhere between one third and 40% for their services.
Most personal injury attorneys provide a free initial consultation . I suggest that you and your son visit with one in your area and see whether or not the attorney can be a benefit to your son in obtaining a much larger settlement.
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 insure proper advice is received.