Hit by a car in a marked crosswalk, should I hire a lawyer?
(San Diego, CA)
I was hit by a car in a marked crosswalk while the "Walk" sign was illuminated and I began to cross the street. The force of impact of his car hitting me caused me to fall backwards and hit my head on the concrete asphalt. I didn't call an ambulance because I didn't have a cell phone and the person who hit me didn't offer to call one.
I wasn't too far from my home, so when I got home I called my doctor and told him what had happened and he told me to go to emergency or urgent care. Since urgent care was right around the corner, I went there after calling my husband to leave his job to take me because my head was hurting by that time.
The doctor said that I had sprained/strained my neck and injured my shoulder. After going to my regular doctor who ordered a CT scan of my head and spine, I went to physical therapy for nine weeks. The only time my neck and shoulder felt better was during therapy, so I went back to my doctor (because my head, neck and shoulder was in constant pain).
I also went to an Orthopedic surgeon for my shoulder and was told that I had a lot of inflammation in my shoulder, and through an ultrasound was given two different cortisone shots in different parts of my shoulder.
Because my neck and head still hurt a lot, my doctor ordered an MRI which said that I had mild and broad bulging discs in my neck. I was referred to a pain specialist, who after looking at my MRI wants me to have a procedure (cervical epidural steroid injection) in the next few weeks on my neck. I will be sedated during this procedure.
He also stated that it may take more than one injection for me to have significant pain relief. I don't know how long the cortisone shots and these injections will last and if they are something that I may need to have in the long-term.
That being said, I have been in contact with the insurance company of the person who hit me from the beginning. I have filed a claim and there doesn't seem to be a problem with them paying all of my medical bills, even though I have been paying the co-payment.
This accident has changed my life. I am a very active person. I run seven miles a day and do yoga and lift weights three times a week (before the accident). Now I am afraid to run my route that I have run for over 24 years, rain or shine, because I am afraid of cars and I don't want to relive that accident everyday.
Because my shoulder and neck still hurt me constantly, I can no longer lift weights or do yoga. It has made me very depressed, although I am happy to be alive. I know the outcome could have been different because I hear it on the news everyday about someone being killed by a car. I am hoping in time I will be able to continue my active life.
I would like to know what kind of settlement I should expect for all of the pain, suffering, and emotional stress that I have gone through from this horrible accident? Will the insurance company directly pay all of my medical bills, or will I have to pay them out of my settlement?
I have not hired a lawyer and do not know if I should, because I do not have any broken bones and the insurance company seems to be taking responsibility for this accident and will be paying all of my medical bills.
My file is considered active because I am still seeking medical attention. I am hoping that I will become stable after getting the injection in my neck and be able to go on with my life and one day be able to run, lift weights, and do yoga. I just don't know. What can I do? Thank you for any perspective you can give.
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ANSWER for "Hit by a car in a marked crosswalk, should I hire a lawyer?":
Ifrah (San Diego, CA):
From the facts you present, your medical treatment seems extensive for the type of injuries you sustained. Unfortunately, the insurance company will likely have the same view. The worst of your injuries seems to be bulging disks. Bulging disks are less serious injuries than herniated disks. Bulging disks fall into the category of "soft tissue" injury.
Soft tissue injuries normally settle anywhere from 1½ - 3 times the amount of a victim's medical and therapy bills. Unfortunately, when it comes to a settlement offer, the insurance company will only consider medical and therapeutic treatment they believe to be appropriate for the type of injuries you sustained.
For the insurance company, your treatment will likely be considered excessive. They may believe you have "run up" the medical and therapy bills in the mistaken belief they will all be paid for...and more.
Don’t be shocked if/when the insurance company offers you a settlement that will not even cover your medical and therapy bills to date. Don’t expect any additional settlement money for any out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, or for you pain and suffering.
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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