Should I get a Lawyer for this Auto Accident or work with the insurance company to get compensated?

Asked over 5 years ago - Chicago, IL

I was in a two car accident in which I was the front passenger. The second vehicle was abandened on the side of the road.

We struck the vehicle at 70 MPH, the driver (my friend) was given three tickets, including a DUI.

I wasnt given proper care at the hospital where we were originaly taken, so I went to another hospital known to be a high quality hospital. It was discovered that I had bleeding on the brain, had a fractured verterbrae, possible nerve damage in my neck, and other minor injuries. I was in the hospital for 3 days.

It has been 4 weeks since the accident, I am expecting to return to work next week. We were at a Bar prior to the accident. Possible Dram Shop?

Will it be worth my time to proceed with a Lawyer, or should I work with the Drivers Insurance company?

Attorney answers (7)

  1. Alan James Brinkmeier

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . I recommend that you contact a lawyer to advise you. A personal injury lawyer can give you some thoughts about what might be best. If you want to contact me, please do at my email.

    Good luck to you.

    NOTE: This answer is made available by the lawyer for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney that practices in the subject practice discipline and with whom you have an atttorney client relationship along with all the privileges that relationship provides. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question.

  2. Thomas G. Gardiner

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . I agree with the previous lawyer. It will be very beneficial for you to consult with a lawyer regarding how to proceed forward. Feel free to contact my offices at 312-362-0000.

  3. Robert James Domol

    Contributor Level 4

    Answered . I am in agreement with the other posts that you should contact a personal injury attorney. If you would like to contact me, please feel free to do so by email.

  4. Robert James Domol

    Contributor Level 4

    Answered . Dram Shop and suit against the driver are both possibilities, but I would need more details about the acc

  5. Erik Glen Swanson

    Contributor Level 15

    Answered . You should absolutely, positively, contact an attorney. Insurance companies are not in the habit of paying claims without a fight.

    Disclaimer: This answer is provided as a public service and as a general response to a general question, it is not meant, and should not be relied upon as specific legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

  6. Michael W. Clancy

    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . I'm sorry to learn of your injury. There isn't quite enough information in your question to allow someone to know whether hiring a lawyer will end up being the right thing for you. What I can say is that your injuries are fairly serious and every good personal injury lawyer I know will consult with you about your potential case for free. You don't have anything to lose by talking to an experienced lawyer, who will be able to ask you enough questions so that the two of you can decide how best to proceed.

    Michael Clancy
    www.clancylaw.com

  7. Donald Solomon Nathan

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . You need to see an experienced personal injury lawyer right away. Unless you were buying your friend the drinks that led to him getting ticketed for D.U.I., you probably have a good case under the Dram Shop Act. If you have a wife and/or children and you work, they probably have a claim to make for loss of means of support or for loss of your society. Your wife may have a claim against the driver for loss of consortium (loss of your services as a husband). And, above all, you may have a hum-dinger of a claim against your friend for his failure to exercise ordinary care for your safety in driving drunk.

    There are lots of open questions. What were you doing in a car with a drunk driver? Did you procure your friend's intoxication? What exactly did happen in that first E/R? Who knows? There may even be a claim for a failure to follow the standard of care for hospitals that led to compounding your injuries, although that one is most unlikely.

    You are almost certainly not going to get answers to any of these questions on your own. You need the help of someone who has the background and sophistication to guide you to answers and solutions. Probably all of the lawyers who have answered your question could do the job. You need to find one you can trust who has the experience and background to get it done properly.

    My advice is to go to the website of each lawyer you are considering to look at his or her background. Check to see how many cases he has tried to a verdict, how many he has won and what kinds of cases they were. But don't wait around long. You need help soon. The insurance companies are out investigating the claim already. They are trying to get witnesses to lie any way they can. The sooner you have a lawyer fighting for you, the sooner you can counter their dirty pool.

    Ultimately, you need to get your case into a lawsuit as soon as you can. Remember that Dram Shop insurance companies settle nothing without litigation, and you are certainly facing that kind of situation. The sooner suit is begun, the sooner the claim is going to be done. In addition, the statute of limitations under the Dram Shop Act is only one year, and you need to join the property owner in addition to the Dram Shop owner as a party defendant. Oftentimes it takes time to identify the right entity. Sometimes the property owner is the beneficial owner of a land trust, and you are unable to identify the correct entity without smoking it out in the course of court orders.

    Again, you need an experienced pro - someone who knows all the ins and outs of this specialized area of personal injury practice. You are never going to be able to get results here on your own.

    Donald Nathan
    www.donaldnathanlaw.com

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