I need help with the auto accident claim process...

by Nicole
(Indianapolis, IN)

I was stopped at a red light when another driver slammed into the back of my vehicle. The other driver admitted to police that he took his eyes off the road and didn't know traffic had stopped.

I have moderate to severe back and neck pain, which at this point I can control with medication. My 10 year old son is a different story, he was in the backseat and when the at-fault driver rear ended us the trunk basically came through the backseat. My son was pinned in the floorboard and the doors had to be taken off to get him out!

He has very, very severe back pain and can't attend school for the remainder of the year. He cries out constantly from sharp, stabbing pains. Otherwise he's asleep from the medications. I have never been in this situation and am still really traumatized from the whole ordeal, which happened (believe it or not) Friday the 13th....5/13/11.

I need advice on what to do with the auto accident claim process. I'm so shaken up I don't know which way to turn. I'm sad, confused, traumatized and in a lot of pain. Please help. Thank you.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "I need help with the auto accident claim process...":


We can only hope your son continues to recover. What you should not do is sign any document which might be provided to you. If the at-fault driver’s insurance company calls, tell them you have nothing to say until you speak with an attorney.

The at-fault driver’s insurance company’s “Claim Adjuster” may call to speak with you. She will record every word you say. Almost all states permit conversations between two people to be recorded by one of the individuals; And the person recording does not have to tell the other person the their conversation is being recorded.

If the Claims Adjuster does call she will want you to give a statement about what happened. The problem is once you say something during the conversation you can seldom change it or take it back.

For example if the Adjuster were to say to you something like, “Well I’m glad to hear your son is feeling better," and you say something like “Yes, we are all glad to see he is doing better,” at a later time when your attorney is attempting to negotiate a settlement and begins to discuss your son’s pain, the Adjuster will tell your attorney that a week (or a month) ago you told the her your son was doing better every day.

The best advice we can give is to immediately, or as soon as is reasonably possible contact a qualified and reputable attorney. They are skilled in these types of negotiations and will make every effort to secure a settlement which will cover all of your son’s medical bills, and some additional amount for his pain and suffering. You also may be entitled to an amount for your personal pain and suffering as well.

The law though does not permit a parent to recover for mental anguish because they witnessed a child’s pain and trauma.

Most reputable Personal Injury attorneys do not charge for an in office initial consultation. You and your son would be best served by making an appointment soon.

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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