17-year-old girl suffers serious injuries in a T-bone accident...

by Tia
(Illinois)

I was getting a ride home after school on April 11th, 2016 when my driver, an 18-year-old boy, merged onto a business street thinking he could beat the oncoming car that had the right of way. When we were t-boned, my car door was hit resulting in the window breaking and slashing my right eyebrow.

There were four people in total in the car that day and at that moment I was only able to bend forward and groan. I, being the type to refuse to show pain, walked myself out of the totaled vehicle and into the ambulance when it came.

At the hospital, I was only checked for seat belt marks and got thirteen stitches in my eyebrow. No x-ray was done. Five days later I wasn't able to find a position to sleep without experiencing excruciating pain. My mother and I waited until my doctor's office doors were open until we could visit and get an x-ray.

The whole time they were telling us it was just muscle tenderness when in fact I had a fractured rib cage and a hole in my lung—pnuemothorax. I stayed over night in a hospital with my mother while hooked to an oxygen tank. After several hours, I was sent home.

About two to three days after that I had to take an ACT with one eye because the other eye had closed shut because of the stitches. (I completely bombed that ACT because I was in no state to take it.) I struggled the whole summer with my shortness of breath and had several other doctor visits.

In August, I was only able to be cross-country manager because I couldn't run without feeling intense pain in my lungs. I had been running since 8th grade and it killed me each and every day knowing that I couldn't ever race again. It killed me just thinking about how I just assumed I had senior year until I had to deal with my last race of my high school career.

I went to physical therapy up until my insurance couldn't offer any more sessions. As for the battle with my driver's insurance company (Gieco) they won't budge past $25,000 as an offer because that was how much my driver's car was covered for.

I am going to file a claim against the other driver as well sometime soon. My question is if I should get a lawyer so he can figure out any other way I could earn more for my pain and suffering/compensation?

I know I could write a demand letter including little details such as how much my time is worth, and the amount of gas that my family needed to buy driving back and forth from medical professional to medical professional. My parents are immigrants that aren't very sure of what to do in this type of situation, so I am trying to figure it all out on my own.

Any suggestions? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "17-year-old girl suffers serious injuries in a T-bone accident...":

Tia (Illinois):

There are some personal injury claims which can be adequately handled by the injured person. These are normally soft tissue injuries involving strains and sprains, minor bruising, abrasions, gashes, minor burns, whiplash, and other similarly mild injuries.

More serious injuries like fractures, head trauma, third degree burns, deep gashes requiring multiple stitches, scarring, and similarly serious injuries should never be handled without legal representation. A fractured rib cage and a pneumothorax (known commonly as a collapsed lung), are very serious injuries.

There's too much to lose by representing yourself. If you represent yourself you will likely end up settling for an amount substantially less than an attorney could have obtained for you. No matter how confident you may feel, you just can't be as effective as an experienced personal injury attorney.

If you represent yourself there will come a point when the insurance company will say, "That's all we are going to offer." Once that occurs you will have no recourse but to accept the amount or walk away. However, that's not the case if you have an attorney.

Hard injury claims like yours often require filing a lawsuit. Insurance companies don't like lawsuits. They know once your attorney files a lawsuit on your behalf, the insurance company will have to pay out substantial amounts in legal fees to defense attorneys.

Lawsuits require pretrial discovery, including depositions, interrogatories, subpoenas for production of documents, and more. These are actions only an attorney can take. Personal injury attorneys can learn what the driver's policy limits are, whether the driver has a past record of traffic accidents and tickets, prior arrests, prior or pending lawsuits, and much more.

Contact several personal injury attorneys in your area. Most will not charge for an initial office consultation. Bring along copies your medical records and bills, receipts for medications, and other out-of-pocket expenses.

After visiting with several injury attorneys you will have a better idea of the viability of your claim, the probability of success, and possibly an approximate amount the claim may settle for or be awarded in a court verdict.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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TYPE OF ACCIDENT
AUTO ACCIDENT
PERSONAL INJURY
WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDICAL ERROR
YES! I WANT FAIR COMPENSATION