Pedestrian Hit in the Street...
(NY, New York, USA)
I was walking in a crosswalk when a man made a left turn on a red light and hit me. He was ticketed and there are numerous witnesses listed on the police report who have stated they are willing to testify. I flew up and over the car and was found unconscious by several people passing by on the ground - one person, a paramedic, remained with me until emergency vehicles arrived.
I was taken to the hospital with wrist, elbow, neck and back injuries and have numerous scars on my arm and leg. Numerous tests were conducted for the remainder of the day including MRI, CAT scans, etc. I was then released at the end of the day. I use my arm extensively while working each day. I was out of work for several weeks, but continue to have difficulty performing my work without pain. Additionally, I have back and neck pain on an ongoing basis and it is not going away. I am scheduled to begin therapy soon.
The driver's insurance company attempted to contact me very soon after the accident, however I did not speak with them and they have not attempted contact since they learned I had an attorney. We are concerned as our attorney is seeking to not go to trial and believes the total payment will only amount to about $100,000.
From that amount all the hospital bills, doctor bills, and attorney bills will be taken leaving very little for the long term issues that I might be faced with, including ongoing pain, possibly needing retraining in a different field, lost wages, etc. Family members have told me this is ridiculously low. They state it should be closer to $700,000 to $1,000,000.
Additionally, my attorney is telling me to go to his insurance company's doctors. This also seems ridiculous as I spend my off days going for actual treatment - why should I be obligated to go to their doctors. If anything, I would think it should be an INDEPENDENT doctor for review and not THEIR doctors.
Does the amount seem reasonable? Do I need to talk with a different attorney? Thank you for any information you can give.
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ANSWER for "Pedestrian Hit in the Street...":
Susan (NY, New York, USA):
It is our policy not to interfere with the attorney-client relationship. Doing so is legally inappropriate. You do have a right to seek second, third and fourth opinions. You also have an absolute right to dismiss your attorney and retain a new one.
With that said, you should know if you signed an employment contract with your attorney and you dismiss her it will be very difficult for you to retain a new one. That's because your first attorney will retain a valid lien on the settlement for her legal fees.
With the extent of your medical bills and the first attorney's lien, there won't be much of a financial incentive for another attorney to accept your case.
Insurance settlements are normally limited to the maximum amount of liability insurance the at-fault party was carrying at the time of the collision. Your attorney is limited by those amounts as well.
Once the medical bills and the costs of attorney's fees are added there may not be a whole lot left for an injured party. Attorneys have a right to be paid just as much as the doctors do.
You could have proceeded to represent yourself in the case, but if you did you probably wouldn't have been able to secure a settlement even close to the one your attorney has for you.
Best of luck,