Yes, get an attorney. Someone who spells things out clearly so that you can make an informed decision about what to do. And hire someone in the Bay Area.
I am not your attorney and I don't represent you until you sign a representation agreement with my firm. Consultations are free and that includes in-office meetings, by email or via the telephone. The firm's number is 408-244-2166. If you or a loved one has been injured or suffered serious loss give me a call or send me an email.
Not sure what "lawyer up means". If it means at least consult with an attorney who specializes in accident claims to determine if you are getting the short end of the stick relative to what your medical and damage needs are within the scope of your state's laws--then yes, "lawyer up".
As a general rule, insurance companies love when a claimant handles the matter themselves. No need for them to take you seriously--they don't. You may have already boxed yourself in--should've contacted your own insurer and your own lawyer immediately after the accident.
Best thing you can do now is consult with an accident attorney (personal injury attorney) in your area and after revewing all the facts and all the circumstances, determine if you have any options at this stage. Troubling that you continue to have medical symptoms but are not being treated.
Best of luck to you.
NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. DO NOT RELY ON ANY ADVICE YOU RECEIVE FROM ME OR ANY OTHER ATTORNEY IN THIS FORUM. Legal advice comes after a complete review of the facts and relevant documents and an expressed (written) agreement of representation that forms attorney-client confidentiality. Neither of these two events can occur in this forum. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. His answers to any Avvo question are rooted in general legal principles--NOT your specific state laws. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this or any other matter.
The concussion concerns me. You may have a claim that is far more valuable than $5,000. Lawyer up.
Answering your question does not make me your lawyer. No attorney-client relationship is created until we enter into a written agreement signed by both you and I.
It is potentially devastatingly low for a traumatic brain injury in which significant symptoms may become permanent. STOP talking to the insurance company and immediately consult with n experienced personal injury attorney who can protect you from yourself and maximize your recovery.
In seeking an attorney on this site, beware of limiting your search to attorneys with a 10 rating, and carefully read the AVVO disclaimer regarding their rating system. There are certain factors that are given great weight which do not necessarily have any bearing on an attorney's experience, abilities, and results with certain types of cases. Accordingly, the rating numbers can be misleading. Also beware of basing your choice on the fee charged, as a low fee, depending on the skill, experience and determination of the specific attorney handling your case, could actually have an inverse relationship to the amount actually put in your pocket.
A responsible attorney isn't going to estimate the value your claim based on the limited information you have provided here. At a minimum it would be necessary to review all of your post-accident medical records, as well as any relevant pre-accident records.
That said, $5,000 in pain and suffering damages for a substantial closed head injury seems very low. On the other hand, by dealing directly with the insurance company you may have damaged your claims to the point that it will be difficult to get more. As others have said, your best bet is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Getting an offer of just about $5k for a rearender where there were no obvious (as in broken bleeding parts) and where the victim was once removed by there being another vehicle in between (meaning defense experts will tear down the forces involved using that calculus stuff) sounds like... Allstate? Am I right? A fact pattern like this is definitely worth a free consultation with a local personal injury attorney to see what else can be done and to make sure medical bills have been addressed properly.
Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
Attorney at Law, Physician
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There is no question that you need to talk with an attorney about this situation. You can only get the advice you need by letting a professional know all of the facts you are dealing with in this situation. Good luck.
Legal disclaimer: PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE YOU COMMENT, EMAIL ME OR PHONE ME. I'm only licensed in CA. This answer doesn't make me your lawyer, and neither do follow-up comments and/or emails and/or phone calls, and you shouldn't expect me to respond to your further questions if you haven't hired me. We need an actual agreement confirmed in writing before any attorney-client relationship is formed. This answer doesn't constitute legal advice, and shouldn't be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.
Why would you accept a tiny nuisance settlement for a serious injury? Get a personal injury lawyer to get maximum compensation. Avvo has a great "find a lawyer" tool to locate a top-rated Avvo attorney (10) with a low contingency fee, less than thirty percent, so you don't get hurt twice. Good luck.
You really need to use the AVVO "Find a Lawyer" tool bar here and select a couple of attorney's who have a lot of experience with head injuries. SO ask a couple until you are satisfied. An experienced attorney will also be able to assist in making sure you are getting the best medical help available. You have so many issues that need to be addressed prior to placing a value on your claim. SO good Luck and remember the old adage "One who represents himself has a fool for an attorney". No disrespect intended.
Your claim is probably worth far more than $5,000. You're already heard a few times that you'd be better off with a lawyer. The only thing I would add is that I am concerned about the delays you have suffered. I hope your are not past the second anniversary of the accident, as that is the deadline to file a lawsuit, which you must do even if you have been speaking informally with the other driver's insurer. You have even less time - six months - if a defendant is a government agency. Please don't delay at least speaking to an attorney.
Ins co will try to take advantage of you. No way to know what your case is worth, as there are many details that will affect that. If you haven't completely recovered from all concussion symptoms, you should get back to your doc immediately. How much was paid or is owed for medical bills? Did you miss work? if you had health ins that paid the bills, they probably have a claim for reimbursement from anything you collect. Id suggest you take advantage of a free consult from a local injury lawyer, before you proceed. Ive seen ins cos settle with unrepresented person for less than the medical bills. person thought he'd done a good job negotiating. Shortly after, he was contacted by his hmo provider, which demanded all of his settlement! That's when he finally sought help from a lawyer. Don't make a similar mistake.
Most attorneys provide for free, no obligation consultations. I highly recommend that you consult with an attorney. I don't know anything about your injuries or other factors like the insurance policy or insurance company at issue so it is literally impossible for any attorney to provide a specific recommendation regarding the settlement offer.
Let me also share an anecdote with you. I once had an insurance adjuster with a large national insurance company tell me that they offer claimants without an attorney a FRACTION of what they offer those claimants with an attorney. The reason is an attorney can file a lawsuit and try the case if necessary - it would be very difficult for a non-attorney to do the same.
Finally the decision as to what you do is ultimately yours. So you owe it to yourself to gather as much information as possible. I recommend you contact a reputable personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible.
This answer is a general response to a question posted on AVVO.com. Nothing stated here by Attorney Michael S. Keating constitutes an attorney-client relationship. This answer is also not a recommendation for legal action.
The fact that they gave you $5,000 by yourself means 3 things: 1. You could probably get much more with an attorney; 2. You are not getting any compensation for future treatment; 3. The insurance company probably didn't tell you that you have to reimburse your insurance company and all treating physicians. Be careful, I've seen it happen 100s of times.
I live and work in California and deal with accidents like yours all the time, so I am happy to answer your question. Your gut instinct is right that you have questions regarding your rights and your case. I've handled a good amount of accident cases and know that insurance companies give cases like yours a hard time even if the police report finds the other person at fault. You should hire an attorney now before you hurt your case (happens unfortunately very often). You should hire a lawyer to help you out with the claim because regardless of the outcome of the police report insurance companies give unrepresented people a tough time. I've handled cases and referred clients to great doctors in the San Francisco, CA area.
At our firm we always refer clients to all kinds of doctors and chiropractors when our clients are injured and our clients never pay anything upfront, not even a copay. The doctors are willing to do this because an attorney is on board. You are entitled to have your property damage, medical bills and future medical expenses PAID FOR BY THE OTHER PARTY'S INSURANCE (or your uninsured motorist policy). The attorney you hire will handle the claims process from start to finish.
But you are going to need to see a specliast to even get a shot at getting future medical treatment from the Defendant. Moreover it sounds like the accident is completely the other persons fault so you don't want this case to become a difficult one because of lack of inattention. The insurance company will make you believe that your case is worth very little... Regarding pain and suffering, you need to speak to an experienced attorney that can strategize your case. Just because you were in an accident doesn't mean you have pain and suffering, at least thats what the insurance companies think. Make no doubt about it you have a great case, but you need help from a professional. You are entitled to your medical bills being covered as well.
Do you feel that you are at the same medical condition that you were before the accident? As a basic premise I wouldn't handle your claim by yourself. The attorney you hired can likely refer you to a doctor, if you ask for one, who will see you with no upfront payment! I've done this many times to help my clients out. You should not wait a single day to hire a lawyer, we will advise you on the strategy of your case. There is no upfront cost to hire an attorney.
With a case like yours it seems like you have some good facts in order to get a high settlement, but your case definitely needs to be developed further to corroborate your story. The most important thing when building your case are: liability (were you at fault); how bad are your injuries to your body. A lot of these things sound like they are not complete yet in your case so its something that is worth hiring an attorney for in order to get a sense of whether you have a case and what the strategy would be for you to build a strong case! I've handled cases and/or spoken to clients in the San Francisco, CA area.
Its very possible that your case is worth more than the $$$ that the insurance company will offer you by yourself. Make your life easier and call an attorney today, you won't regret it.
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