Hit From Behind by Teenager...
(Paulding County, Georgia)
I was rear ended by a teenager as I sat at a red traffic light. It knocked me about 150 feet forward. I held onto the brake in order to not end up in a ditch and trees. I was taken by ambulance to an emergency center and had a CAT scan on my head and upper back. I also had foot pain and told the ER doctor, but he never X-rayed my foot and ankle.
I have been going to my medical doctors for treatment and had an MRI done on my ankle to determine whether I had torn my achilles tendon, but it only showed bursitis. I've had severe pain since the evening of the accident in my foot and ankle.
Do I have a case? Should I get an attorney to pursue compensation for my medical bills and pain and suffering? Thanks for any information you can give.
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ANSWER for "Hit From Behind by Teenager...":
Shirley (Paulding County, Georgia):
You certainly have a negligence case against the teenager and his parents. Parents can sometimes be held liable for the negligent acts of their children, depending on the child's age. At a minimum you have a right to be reimbursed for your doctors bills, including the cost of the MRI and other diagnostic tests you've already had, and may need to have in the future.
You also have a legitimate claim for your out-of-pocket expenses for medications, towing charges, and other expenses related to the accident. If you've had to miss any work, you have a right to be compensated for your lost wages. You also have a right to claim for your pain and suffering.
In addition, you have a right to be compensated for the damage to your car, if any.
First contact your own insurance company. Notify them of the incident and the medical bills you've already incurred. This doesn't mean you are filing a claim against your own insurance. It only means you are following your insurance company's right to be notified of a car accident.
Second, if the police were dispatched, go and get a copy of the police report. This will be very helpful in proving your negligence claim.
Third, contact the teenager's parents and ask them for the name of their insurance company. You'll need that information to file a claim for all of your damages. They should freely give you that information.
If your medical bills, including diagnostic tests to date, aren't very high, you probably don't need an attorney. You can probably settle the claim with the parent's insurance company. If they are high or you've suffered serious injury, you will need an experienced attorney to handle your case.
A traditional means of determining the amount you should demand to settle the claim will be a multiple by 2 or 3x your medical bills. That multiple is meant to take into account your medical bills, out of pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
In your case, it seems likely the parent's insurance company will settle your case. The teenager's negligence is clear. If you run into any problems you should consult with an attorney. Most personal injury attorneys won't charge for an initial office consultation.
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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