Visitor Question

Should I Consult a Lawyer after an Accident with Emotional Trauma?

Submitted By: Peter (Alberta, Canada)

I was traveling in the right lane and a semi-truck passed a truck in front of him. I was in front of the truck he was passing. When he passed the truck he didn’t see my car in front of the truck he was passing. He clipped my bumper on the driver’s side and spun me around, T-boning me down the highway for about 200 ft or so until he realized he’d hit my vehicle and was dragging me down the highway.

My car was totaled. He said he did not see me. There were two more passengers, a lady (in front seat) and her daughter (in back seat). They were injured but not seriously and they have hired a lawyer to represent their case.

My question is, should I hire a lawyer to represent me even though I was not hurt physically? I did suffer emotional trauma.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Peter,

Simply being hurt physically or emotionally isn’t enough to merit a financial recovery. Settlements are primarily based on the costs of medical treatment.

In the legal business these costs are referred to as “Hard Costs” or “Damages”. Only after the medical bills are established will the insurance company consider additional compensation for such things as out of pocket expenses, lost wages and emotional trauma, also called pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish.

Before you make any decision make sure you have been cleared medically. You say you weren’t hurt physically. That may be well and good but you should be absolutely sure you do not have any lingering, or “latent” injuries.

You also mention your vehicle was “T-boned”. T-boned means there must have been some serious property damage. Make sure the at-fault driver’s insurance company is going to pay to have the property damage repaired.

You have a right to have your car repaired using original, or OEM factory parts. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufactured parts.

If you don’t insist on this you may suffer the same fate as many other unsuspecting victims of automobile collisions, whose vehicles are damaged and then repaired with cheaper non-factory parts. Non-OEM parts are very difficult to spot if you don’t know what to look for.

They may look just fine, but after anywhere from a month to a couple of years the parts may fade, chip, or altogether fall off.

Check with the body shop. Inform them of your insistence on OEM parts. When your car is repaired ask the body shop to show you the old parts and share with you the invoices for the OEM parts.

Following these suggestions will help you to get through the collision and its aftermath.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: September 1, 2011

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