Dealing with unknown future medical impact after an accident?
My child (16) was hit by a car while jogging with the track team on a neighborhood road near the school. The driver admitted fault and his insurance company said they would pay medical. The school also has excess medical coverage and I have underinsured coverage on my policy.
My child suffered a concussion, lacerations to the head needing staples, and road rash on parts of the body that were exposed. The physical injuries are healing, there may only be a small scar on one shoulder.
The headaches and difficulty concentrating from the concussion are very worrying, as this is his senior year and he is taking college prep courses and applying to colleges and for scholarships. He is an excellent student in the honors program and with straight A's.
He has had to drop a college level math class due to the headaches and is having difficulty in other classes. There's also some mild depression for which his Dr has prescribed an antidepressant.
My issues are that the additional affects related to his future, both in high school and college, are not yet quantifiable. I'm not sure how to even begin to calculate a settlement request. Further, medical bills are already around $30,000 because of all the tests done in the ER, and the overnight stay in the hospital.
The driver's insurance company won't tell me his limits, so I don't know how much will be covered (our state has $10,000 minimum PIP and $25,000 minimum liability). We still need to see a neurologist to determine if there is permanent damage or if it will eventually reverse.
Because he is a minor, I feel I need to act in his best interests and this is very difficult not knowing the potential future effects.
I don't want to make a profit from this, just get him back to the way he was before this happened, but feel that he has suffered so much that I should try to get some sort of settlement. This may have had a permanent affect on his future and may affect how well he will do in college. Any perspective you can offer would be appreciated.
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ANSWER for "Dealing with unknown future medical impact after an accident?":
At this point, the driver's insurance company is responsible for your son's present "damages." In personal injury claims, damages normally include:
- medical, chiropractic, therapeutic, and dental bills
- out-of-pocket expenses (for medications, crutches, bandages, etc.)
- lost wages (if your son had a part-time job and couldn't work due to his injuries)
- an amount for pain and suffering, also called emotional distress and mental anguish
Insurance companies rarely leave claims open for future medical bills and related damages. They want to settle a claim once and for all, and not be exposed to unknown future liability.
As a result, before you agree to settle the claim, you and your son would be best served by waiting until all tests are complete, medical bills are no longer necessary, and the out-of-pocket expenses and lost wages are finally determined.
Be advised, you need to be aware of the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in your state. Statutes of limitations vary from state to state, and are usually anywhere from one (1) to three (3) years.
If for any reason you are unable to settle your son's claim within the statutory period, you MUST file a lawsuit. If you fail to either settle your son's claim or file a lawsuit within the statutory period, you will lose your right to sue the driver.
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,
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