Visitor Question

Can I add a related secondary injury onto my primary auto accident claim?

Submitted By: Shauna (Arlington, Texas)

My foot was crushed in an auto accident. I was 100% not at fault. I was recently leaving my doctors office from an appointment for my foot, and was only able to stand on one foot. I bent over to put my knee scooter in the back seat of my car and when I did I felt my knee twist. I immediately pain felt in the opposite leg from injured foot.

Now I’m not able to stand on either leg. I called my doctor and they sent two nurses to take me back up to his office in a wheel chair. She thought I should go have an MRI done.  I ended up tearing both sides of my meniscus. My question is, do I file a separate claim or combine both injuries on the same personal injury claim?

It took me me 16 months to recover before I was able to return to work. If the max pay out of insurer policy is $100,000 per accident for bodily injury, is there another type of policy I could file in a personal injury claim? Is future medical and future loss wages included in an offer from the insurance company?

I was offered an amount that doesn’t include my lost wages and future medical. I have it documented from the surgeon how much knee surgery will cost and physical therapy. This should be included in my first offer from insurance company, right?

I was offered this amount with no explanation of why this was their offer. After the first counter offer letter I sent back to them they come up double from the first offer, but it still does not cover these 3 areas of claim (not even calculating pain and suffering into the claim).

I’ll put it this way, they only offered 42% of the max per accident of bodily injury claim coverage. I have a 100% slam dunk case, with the police report and witness showing I was not at fault. With the difficulty of my injuries and the hell of the recovery so far, I value this claim in the 95 to 100% value of full payout.

If someone has any information or tips for me please let me know. I have not responded to the 2nd offer yet. I am researching answers to these questions first. Thank you.

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 Shauna,

Unfortunately, your personal injury claim for your second injury while entering your car will not be a “slam dunk.”  The insurance company will likely take the position your second injury while entering your car occurred because of a separate intervening event.

In other words, the insurance company has no way to know if after leaving the doctor’s office you might have fallen because you slipped on some ice, or the stairs were wet, or someone pushed you, or you entered the car carelessly, or a hundred other ways in which you many have been injured after leaving your doctor’s office.

You know that wasn’t the case, but the insurance company may decide it was.

Your best bet would be to speak with the doctor before contact the insurance company regarding the second injury. See if the doctor will support your claim that the second injury was an unavoidable exacerbation of the primary injury.

However, don’t be surprised if the doctor refuses to do so. Doing so may involve him in your personal injury claim as a witness. That is the last thing most doctors want to do, especially if there is a chance the second injury will be contested by the insurance company.

Moreover, for the doctor to admit your second injury was an exacerbation of the primary injury might open the door for a medical malpractice claim against him or her. The claim might be based on the doctor failing to tell you that you should not be driving after your appointment. And, if your doctor did so admonish you and the insurance company finds out by speaking with the doctor, your claim may be denied.

At this point you should probably stop worrying about your second injury and try to get as much money as you can from the insurance company for your primary claim. Insurance company claims adjusters deal with these types of issues all the time. Adjusters are not naive.

Your injuries are serious enough to require a consult with several personal injury attorneys in your area. Most will not charge for an initial office consultation. After speaking with several you will have a better idea of the substance of your claim(s). If you feel like you’ve already done a significant amount of work on your case, you may be able to negotiate a reduced attorney fee.

Learn more here: Texas Car Accident Guide

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 888-972-0892.

Best of luck with your claim,

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