He swerved over two lanes and hit my mother head on, totalled her car. She was air cared with many injuries. She spent 4 day in the SICU and 15 days in acute rehab, and is now getting out patient care, such as a new tooth.
First of all, sorry to hear about your mother's injuries. I wish her a speedy recovery. To answer your question, yes, you and your mom need to schedule an office consultation with a personal injury lawyer promptly. This very typically will be a free consultation and with no obligation whatsoever to hire the lawyer. If the lawyer would decide to take the case, it will be on a contingency fee basis with a written contract that you and your mom can review of course and ask questions about before signing.
The lawyer's task at that consultation will be to listen to you, review the police accident report if you have obtained it, and do his or her best to determine the following - likely facts, possible legal claims, possible defendants, and possible insurance coverages, including your mother's auto uninsured motorist coverage. Take your mother's auto policy and policy declarations page to the consultation if you can get it. Hope this helps.
First of all let me say how sorry I feel for your mom; that situation sounds awful. But in answer to your question, there are many avenues to getting a financial recovery. The other driver's insurance is the most prominent, but that's not the only option. Other counsel have mentioned UM coverage, there is also the possibility that the other driver was "on the clock" for an employer, who may have vicarious liability, the driver himself may have assets (though if he was uninsured that chances there are less). You should consult with a local PI specialist to assist.
I am sorry your Mom has to go through this. The injuries are the worst part, but no one should have to pay for injuries caused by someone else.
If you're read the other answers, you have some idea of the types of money that might be available.
If your Mom came to me, I would start out with the most likely places to get money. I would look at her auto policy, as well as the auto policy of anyone who could be considered a member of her "household." I would be looking for uninsured motorist coverage. I would also look for Medical Payments Coverage, which I have seen carried with limits of $25,000.00 in some auto policies.
Some people have "umbrella" or "excess" coverage that also provides uninsured motorist coverage.
If your mother was working on the job at the time of the collision, she might be eligible for Workers' compensation. If the other driver was working at the time of the collision, his employer, or his employer's insurance, might be responsible for your mother's injuries. It might take a lawsuit to find this out.
If the other lawyer had a passenger and they were on a "joint venture" for a business enterprise, the passenger might be responsible too, although to be honest the last time I heard of a case in which the passenger was found liable was law school. This would almost definitely require a lawsuit.
Your mother should definitely talk to a lawyer - I don't know anyone who wouldn't give her a consultation. Unfortunately, this is a tough way to learn that you not only have to buy insurance against accidents, but against other drivers being too cheap to buy their own coverage.
I am sorry to hear about your mother's condition and hope that she will be able to recover promptly.
Unfortunately, you will need to determine several things before you can properly decide how to proceed with her potential claim. First, you want to know whether or not the other driver actually had insurance and/or if he was operating someone else's car which may have had insurance. It is possible that he may have been working at the time of the accident, so his employer may have applicable insurance and/or liability.
If it is finally determined that there is no insurance for the at-fault-driver, then you should also look to your mom's own insurance and/or any insurance that may have applied to the car she was operating. This would include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage; medical payments coverage and/or umbrella coverage.
If that si not an option, you may want to see if your mother has health insurance, if she qualifies for HCAP, medicaid or Victims of Crime. You will also want to have an asset check performed on the at-fault-driver.
There are many avenues to consider and things to investigate before ultimately deciding how to proceed and an attorney in Ohio, regardless of their location, may be able to assist you.
Yes, your mother needs an attorney to fully explore possible uninsured motorist benefits and the potential defendant's assets.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.
If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.
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.
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