Injured in collision with commercial vehicle driven by 82 year old woman...

by Mike
(Cleveland, Ohio)

I was sitting in a turning lane and was hit head-on by a 82 year old women who didn't turn on her windshield wipers during a light steady rain and could not see me. The vehicle was registered to her son-in-law's business and has commercial insurance on the vehicle.

She was cited and I ended up going to the hospital ER the next morning because I was very sore with severe headaches. I received many x-rays and a CT scan. I had strains and sprains in my neck, back, and shoulder.

I spent four months in physical therapy at The Cleveland Clinic and was out of work for 5 months due to the accident. I also was put on anxiety medications due to PTSD, besides pain meds. My medical bills are right around $14,000, plus my lost wages.

How much should my settlement be worth? How do I pursue the right amount with the commercial insurance policy? Should I get a lawyer for a case like this? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Injured in collision with commercial vehicle driven by 82 year old woman...":

Mike (Cleveland, Ohio):

The State of Ohio is a third party tort liability state. As a result, persons injured in car accidents caused by the negligence of a third party are entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver and/or the driver's insurance company.

Damages are unique to every accident and to every person involved in the accident. In car accidents, property damage and personal injury damages can include:

- medical, dental and therapy bills
- costs of diagnostic tests, such as X-Rays, CT Scans, MRIs, etc.
- out of pocket expenses (for such items as: prescription and over the counter medications, slings, crutches, wheelchairs, nursing costs, costs of travel to and from to treatment, etc.)
- lost wages
- pain and suffering

While you have been in physical therapy for four months and out of work for five months, that doesn't necessarily mean the at-fault driver's insurance company is going to compensate you for all of it.

Insurance companies hesitate to pay compensation based on protracted physical therapy. In many cases, insurance companies believe chiropractors and physical therapists over-prescribe services. The same is not true when medical doctors prescribe medical treatment.

You state your medical bills are $14,000.00, which is a bit confusing. You haven't listed any type of medical treatment representing the $14,000.00, other than the hospital visit. Instead, it appears you are referring to your protracted therapy and costs. If that is the case, those do not technically count as medical bills.

In Ohio the required minimum insurance coverage is:

- $25,000.00 for injuries to one (1) person in (1) accident
- $50,000.00 for injuries to two (2) or more persons in one (1) accident
- $25,000.00 for property damage resulting from one (1) accident.

However, the woman was apparently insured under her son-in-law's business's commercial policy. That means the insurance coverage will likely be much higher.

While the insurance company may agree to pay part, or possibly all of your medical/therapy bills, they probably won't consider compensation for your Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

To have any chance of recovering compensation for PTSD will require a medical (psychiatric) narrative. You haven't stated if you've visited with a psychiatrist or psychologist. As a result, it's difficult to understand your diagnosis of PTSD, which is rarely diagnosed after a car accident.

You would be well-served by visiting with several personal injury attorneys in your area. Most will not charge for an initial office consultation. After visiting with several, you will have a better idea of the viability of your injury claim.

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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