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I need a lawyer but don't want to be taken advantage of....

Dallas, GA |

My 17 yo was rear ended by a drunk driver with a prior DUI this past Thursday. My daughter is sore, bruised, broke her glasses, and miraculously walked away with a concussion. I'm pissed because we saw the lady's car at impound. I took a picture of the open beer can (she was cited for open container and everything the cops could site her for, they were pissed too) and also in the photo is a novelty shot glass hanging from her rear view mirror!!! My daughter's life is changed forever. Her truck is totaled. She's already afraid of her next vehicle's safety. We can't get a rental car until they speak to their insured, who's in jail, and school starts this week! (State Farm) I have already spoken to my (Geico, no rental coverage) and her insurance companies. I am one pissed momma. Any advice?

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Attorney answers 14

Posted

You can and should sue for injury. I have handled this kind of matter in the past. You have a good set of facts here. As far as the rental car, go ahead and pay for one out of pocket and get reimbursed from the insurance settlement.

None of the above information is intended to constitute legal advice; rather it is intended to give the consumer sufficient information to determine whether or not they should consult an attorney regarding their legal matter.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your response. I'm afraid to rent a car because this is her 2nd dui (could be more) so her jail time is min 30 days. I can't pay a huge rental bill up front. Plus the lovely people at State Farm, her insurance co, have informed me I have to remove the truck from the impound lot to prevent incurring fees. Why?? It's totalled. What am I suppose to do with it and why can't their adjuster go there, assess it, then they move it afterward? I've already spent $300 on glasses and contacts so my daughter can see! I had to get contacts because the glasses had to be ordered. Now I have to pay $100 or more for a tow bill? Baloney.

Glen Edward Ashman

Glen Edward Ashman

Posted

Each day you talk to State Farm, one of the two worst insurers in the country, is a day longer you will wait to get action. State Farm preys on injured parties without counsel, and they will take their time and be very uncooperative without a lawyer.

Posted

A concussion can be a big deal, and lead to subtle problems that you might mistake for other things. It sounds like a heck of an impact. Monitor your daughter closely and make sure she gets the right medical attention right away, then seek qualified counsel to give you some advice. I would definitely speak with a qualified civil attorney before speaking with the other side's insurance professional. The lawyer is to protect you and your daughter from being taken advantage of by the insurance company. Good luck and hope she has a full recovery.

Only with full explanation of all relevant facts and circumstances, which cannot occur in this format, should you rely on attorney advice. You should personally speak with one or more qualified attorneys before making any final decision.

Asker

Posted

Well, unfortunately I've already spoken to her ins company. They informed me they have to speak to her before proceeding with the claim. She admitted to doing 60 mph when she hit my daughter. She was also charged with texting.

Posted

Hire a contigency fee personal injury lawyer, only gets paid if he/she wins. You may have a slight problem with the other drivers insurance as insurance does not cover intentional torts, such as drunk driving. Your daughter also has what is referred to as a Dram Shop claim. That is where you can sue the establishment that sold the intoxicating beverages to the driver. Contact a local PI attorney who can give you a more detailed explanation. Good luck.

Asker

Posted

There was only one beer can in her car so I don't know if she drank at home then drove or she was elsewhere. I was told she's an 'older lady' so this was not a teen. Are you saying State Farm can completely deny the claim??? This is getting worse and worse.

Posted

You sue, of course. You sue her for property damage and you sue her for the injuries to your daughter.

Posted

Hire an attorney immediately. Punitive damages are available in a case like this. State Farm usually provides a rental car that is direct billed which means you don't pay anything.

The above is just my opinion based upon the limited facts provided. It is not intended to be offered as legal advice nor is it intended to establish an attorney client relationship. You should seek a consultation either in person or over the phone to discuss any legal issue that you may have raised.

Posted

Contact a personal injury attorney and hold this woman accountable for what she has done to your daughter and your family. As you know Concussions are very serious and can cause many physical and psychological problems in the futures.

Posted

Be sure that your daughter gets the ongoing medical treatment she needs. And do NOT discuss the injuries at all with either insurance company. Getting a lawyer quickly matters - to preserve evidence and properly pursue a claim. Punitive damages, as well as actual damages and pain and suffering, are possible. The pictures you took may help. As a general rule, insurers will pay far less to you/your daughter without counsel - likely pennies on the dollar. As for a rental car, if you have to, get one and pay for it and get reimbursed later - once you hire counsel that may move faster too.

If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you (and am not your lawyer). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. Note that I am only licensed in Georgia and thus cannot practice in other states. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated my office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.

Posted

First of all, I am very glad to hear your 17 year old was not hurt worse. I agree with the other comments. You should press a claim for personal injuries and punitive damages. You will likely get the runaround by the adjusters until you are represented. Good luck!

Posted

So sorry to hear this individual was let back on the road to "do it again." Outrageous that she had a shot glass hanging like a trophy in her car.

You've already gotten some good advice from other lawyers. Be aware that teenagers are more susceptible to brain injuries than adults and more likely to suffer long term effects from them. A concussion is a brain injury that sometimes leads to other types of brain injuries. If you haven't already gotten your daughter to a neurologist, I think it would be wise. I've seen too many overlooked cases of traumatic brain injury (TBIs) that don't get respect from the insurance company because they are not diagnosed or not diagnosed early enough.

The best doctor to help rule out (or in) a TBI is Joseph Saba in Riverdale. He is a patient advocate and a neurologist. If he suspects a more serious brain injury he will get your daughter to a neuropsychologist or other specialist right away.

I've learned that you can't be too cautious with the future of a child. TBIs are subtle but can be devastating. Outbursts of anger, insomnia, increase or decrease in appetites, changes in personality, all are symptoms of a TBI.

The attorney who mentioned Dram Shop liability was right on. What that means is that if an establishment (bar, restaurant, whatever) served the drunk driver and should have known better, you can bring a claim against that establishment also. It's a way to make sure your daughter gets fair compensation.

You said you are dealing with State Farm. They are good. Good at keeping their money! They have already "lawyered up" on your claim and you can be sure they are doing all they can to protect them selves. I hope by now you've found an attorney to do the same for you. If not, call one us who have responded and we'll take care of it.

Hope your daughter is feeling better and best wishes.

Posted

Yes, you need a lawyer immediately. There are many things lawyers like myself can do to speed up the process for you. Additionally, if you try to settle this claim by yourself the insurance company will try to take advantage of you and your daughter and not fully compensate her for her injuries. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Posted

You have a very good case. An experienced attorney can help speed up the process of getting the insurance company to put you in a rental car. It would also be best if you hire an attorney before settling your property damage claim as Georgia law allows you to recover punitive damages for that part of your claim as well. We recently had a case involving a drunk driver in which the insurance company paid our client $50,000 for a car that was worth less than $5,000. Call an attorney ASAP.

Peter J. Ross
Ross & Pines, LLC

Posted

My response to your statement is to change a few words and say it back to: You need a lawyer BECAUSE YOU don't want to get taken advantage of. There are too many aspects of handling a case like yours to detail in this space. But the point is that the insurers will take advantage of you at every turn unless you hire an experienced and reputable lawyer. All of the attorneys I know on this site including myself will explain the terms of representation to you up front and honestly and answer all your questions from the first meeting.

*Attorney Thomas Andrew Miller (678-907-3600) provided this Reply which is intended to be helpful to the Asker and the Avvo Community, but it does not constitute legal advice and does not create any attorney-client relationship. You are urged to seek the advice of an attorney or, in some cases, a tax professional, before taking any action. **Was this Answer helpful? Please click to give the Answer a Helpful Vote or make it the Best Answer!

Posted

As the other commentaries have said, you should talk with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. I have handled dozens of cases involving DUI accidents like this in Paulding and surrounding counties and it sounds like you and your daughter have a very strong case. I wish your daughter a continued and speedy recovery.

Robert Walker
Jenkins & Bowen, P.C.
15 South Public Square
Cartersville, Georgia 30120
(770) 387-1373

NOTE: Answers to this question and any others by this attorney are for general informational purposes only and absolutely establish no type of attorney client relationship between the attorney and anyone reading this answer.

Posted

First, I am very sorry to hear about your daughter's accident. Your main concern should be getting her quality medical treatment. The insurance company will use any gap in medical treatment against her and its hard to prove she was injured when she is not taking this opportunity to get her injuries evaluated. If you have a doctor or other health provider that she sees regularly, you should definitely make an appointment as soon as possible. If she does not have health insurance or the means to pay for medical care, a personal injury attorney may be able to help her see a local doctor. Personally, I have made arrangements for many of my clients to see a doctor – with no out-of-pocket expense to the client – when necessary. In regards to the rental vehicle, if you must come out of pocket for those expenses, you will eventually be reimbursed. Due to the austerity of this type of collision (involving a DUI), the at-fault insurance company will take some time to complete their investigation. I recommend speaking to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An initial consultation is free and an attorney will be able to tell you what steps to take next with regard to the police, your insurance company, and the other driver’s insurance company.

Here is some additional information:

http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/georgia-drunk-driving-accidents-101-why-drunk-driving-accidents-are-different

Good luck!

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