Riding as passenger in commercial vehicle when driver hit a tree...

by Tom
(Shelby, NC)

I was passenger in a heavy duty wrecker, when the driver went left of center and hit tree at 45mph. I was thrown into the dash and windshield, busting both. I now have shooting pains in my lower back and down my legs...no broken bones though.

I'm seeing chiropractor for that. My left knee also busted a hole in the dash, and the MRI results showed today that I have a torn meniscus and need surgery next week.

This is my third week out of work. I have a headache that will not go away. I am a very active outdoors man and farmer. I have two kids and a wife whom I take care of, and who I'm no longer able to spend time with, and I'm watching my farm go to hell. They try, but can't to do a man's job to fill my absence.

This bum knee and back are not looking good for the future of farming and living the outdoor life of hunting and fishing. The truck was totaled out by the insurance company at over $25,000 to repair. It was a commercial policy.

With the ER visit, joint specialist, MRI, chiropractor, and surgery next week, the medical bills are piling up. Any clue as to what would be fair pain and suffering amount? Should I hire a lawyer? Any other tips? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Riding as passenger in commercial vehicle when driver hit a tree...":

Tom (Shelby, NC):

Your injuries are quite serious. Unlike soft tissue injuries, which normally include strains and sprains to muscles, ligaments and/or tendons, minor abrasions and contusions, and like injuries, your injuries are considered hard injuries. A torn meniscus is quite serious.

Soft tissue tissue injury personal injury claims can usually be handled without an attorney. Hard injuries almost always require the financial backing and legal expertise of an experience personal injury attorney. Often in hard injury claims, medical experts have to be hired to evaluate injuries and render qualified medical opinions as to type of injury, cause, and prognosis.

It is unlikely your doctor(s) will agree to write a medical narrative supporting your claim. Doctors do not want to place themselves in a position where they can be subpeoned to testify.

In many cases, lawsuits have to be filed, especially when insurance companies refuse to settle the claims fairly. Lawsuits require pre-trial discovery, including depositions, interrogatories, requests for production and other intricate legal mechanisms.

Most personal injury attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations. Gather copies of all your medical records and bills to date, and seek the counsel of several personal injury attorneys in your area. Choose an attorney with whom you have confidence. The attorney will take it from there.

He or she will advise you of the viability of your claim, the challenges in proving it, and the likely amount of settlement or court award you can hope to receive.

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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