Road worker struck in back by driver speeding through a work zone...

by K.S.M.
(South Carolina)

A road worker was hit by a car that was speeding through their work zone at night. Coworkers are witnesses and can testify he was not in the road. We have been contacted by the drivers insurance company, and we only stated the injuries received and the claims of speeding.

The insurance company's representative informed us that the police report was "vague" and that the driver claims to have struck the worker with the side view mirror. But coworkers can testify there was a trail of the worker's skin and blood along the front driver's side fender, all the way up to the driver's side window.

Coworkers can also testify to the worker being thrown up into the air after impact and landing on the pavement, on his right side.

We have never sought legal assistance to this extent before and are what you would classify as working class citizens. This incident happened only 5 days ago. He was cleared to go back to work yesterday - 5 days to allow proper time for the swelling to reduce and scabs to form over the gashes on his right arm and above his right temple.

This incident has traumatized him emotionally, causing loss of sleep and emotional distress, and has caused him to develop anxiety at the thought of working. He still doesn't have much mobility in his shoulder and we were told to follow up with an orthopedist, if that was the case.

Would that help any case we may have against this negligent driver? What are our options? We would greatly appreciate any direction as far as where to go from here. Thank you in advance.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Road worker struck in back by driver speeding through a work zone...":

K.S.M. (South Carolina):

To succeed in your personal injury claim will require proof of liability (responsibility) and resulting damages. In car accident claims, liability occurs when a negligent driver causes injuries to a person. In your case, the driver was clearly negligent. As a result, you have a right to compensation for your damages.

Damages can include your medical and therapy bills, out of pocket costs (for such items as medications, crutches, slings, etc.), lost wages, and pain and suffering.

While the insurance company is taking the position the policy report was "vague," you don't have to accept their opinion. Get your own police report by contacting the police department who investigated the accident.

You state, "This incident has traumatized him emotionally, causing loss of sleep and emotional distress, and has caused him to develop anxiety at the thought of working." These issues will fall under the pain and suffering aspect of your damages claim.

While you have witnesses who can testify about how you were thrown in the air, what really controls the compensation in your claim will be the damages you sustained. The damages will be a product of your medical and therapy bills, and related costs.

From that facts you present, the insurance company has already taken a defensive position. However, because you don't have an attorney, the insurance company will only offer the amount of compensation they believe is fair. They will do this knowing you have little recourse.

For example, let's take a theoretical claim...

John Doe was seriously injured when a negligent driver crashed into him. John thinks his claim is worth $25,000.00, but the insurance company offers no more than $10,000.00, telling John that is their final offer. At that point John is relatively helpless. It's "Take it or leave it."

With a personal injury attorney, the insurance company will almost always offer a substantially higher amount. They do this because unlike John Doe, an attorney has substantial recourse, including filing a lawsuit, pre-trial discovery with depositions and motion practice (multiple court hearings), subpoena power, and more.

And in most cases, attorneys succeed in getting settlements which, even after the attorney's fees, leave the client with substantially more net compensation.

Most personal injury attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations. Here's how to choose the best injury attorney for your case.

After reviewing your medical records, the police report, etc., and asking you relevant questions, an attorney will be able to tell you their opinion of the probability of success, the approximate time it will take to finalize your claim, the probability of having to file a lawsuit, and an approximate amount the claim is worth.

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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