Already disabled from previous accident, and new head-on collision made it worse...

by Cindy
(Barstow, CA)

I'm currently recovering from a big rig/freeway crash in 2005. I still have cervical and spinal herniations, stenosis, and numbness in arms and hands for which I'm still being treated. Last month I was hit head-on by an elderly lady (Police report said it was her fault), and both cars were totaled (hers was new, mine was an '81). She walked away and I spent the evening in the hospital (C/T scan, contusions, bruised ribs and lungs, whiplash, fainting spells, and full blown anxiety attacks).

I'm currently on SSI, so there is no loss of wages. But I'm having to take the bus now for chiropractic care, orthopedics, MRI's, not to mention normal shopping and laundry is a tremendous burden and painful to do.

Are my prior injuries (which are a little worse now) MORE LIKELY to work for me, or against me? Should I expect a rental car to use FOR MONTHS while getting medical care? And, is that... "4 times medical costs"... truly a fair guideline? Thanks for any info you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Already disabled from previous accident, and new head-on collision made it worse...":

Cindy (Barstow, CA):

Your prior injuries will certainly play a factor in your claim. The insurance company will try to use your prior injuries and medical condition as the primary cause of your latest injuries. Unlike your previous injuries, your latest injuries appear to be "soft tissue." Soft tissue injuries are those like bruises, contusions, and abrasions.

While the woman's insurance company should pay for a rental car, they will likely limit the amount of days they'll pay to about a week. They aren't obliged to pay much longer.

It would be great if you could settle your recent claim for 4 times your medical bills. Unfortunately, that's not likely to happen. Soft tissue injuries, even with an overnight stay in the hospital don't usually rise to much more than 2 or 3 times medical bills...and sometimes less. That multiple is meant to include payment for your medical bills, out of pocket expenses for medications, lost of wages, and pain and suffering. In your case, lost wages won't be considered.

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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