Proper compensation for back injury?
I was in a car that was rear ended and I received a back injury. It's now 10 months into treatment. I had an MRI and I have 4 bulging discs and a sciatica injury. I suffer from constant chronic neck and right shoulder pain, numbness in my right arm, dizziness, loss of balance and more. I will be 73 on March 4th 2016. I am in constant and chronic pain.
I can't get a lawyer to take the case because they say I waited to long after starting treatment. It was 8 months after the accident before the MRI was done. CSAA in California wants a demand letter, and looks like I have to write it myself.
I am going to demand from them $125,000.00, based on my medical bills which were $5,124.71 plus the pain and suffering and the emotional roller coaster my life has been on since the accident. Is that unreasonable or is it not enough? What else should I be aware of?
The DOL was 11/8/2014. I started treatment with my chiropractor on 11/14/2014, continuing until 11/13/2015. Date of the MRI was: 10/28/2015. I will have to have future treatment, most likely back surgery and I will be in constant and severe pain until then. I would really appreciate an answer if you can. Thank you sincerely.
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ANSWER for "Proper compensation for back injury?":
Ralph (Stockton, CA):
From the facts you present, it appears you waited eight (8) months before seeking treatment via the MRI. If that is the case, the attorneys’ positions may have been correct. Here’s why...
The California State Automobile Association (CSAA) representing the at-fault driver will strongly contend your injuries may have occurred subsequent to the crash, in an entirely separate incident, and not as a result of the crash.
Moreover, the insurance company may admit the crash occurred as a result of their insured’s actions, and the crash may have caused some of your injuries, but your activities during the past eight (8) months exacerbated those injuries, and as a result, they will base any settlement offer on your original injuries, and not on those which may have been discovered on the MRI diagnostics.
What is difficult to understand is why you waited eight months after the crash to seek treatment. If your injuries included 4 bulging discs, a sciatica injury, and you continue to suffer constant chronic neck & right shoulder pain, numbness in your right arm, dizziness, loss of balance and more, why you didn't seek treatment sooner?
In the alternative, if you did seek medical treatment and/or therapy immediately after the crash, obtain copies of your medical and therapy records and seek additional consultations with several more personal injury attorneys in an attempt to convince them to accept your case.
There is another serious consideration you must be aware of. In the State of California the statute of limitations (legal time period in which the victim of an automobile crash must either settle his or her personal injury claim, or file a lawsuit), is two (2) years from the date of the injury.
In your case, the statute of limitations may be rapidly approaching. If you miss the limitations period you will lose your legal right to pursue the driver or his or her insurance company for compensation for your injuries.
Read more about the California Statute of Limitations here.
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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