Visitor Question

Recent dual transplant recipient rear-ended by drunk driver…

Submitted By: Deacon (San Diego, CA)

I’m a retired veteran who recently received a dual transplant (Liver and Kidney). While traveling a major interstate, my spouse and I abruptly became victims of a rear-end collision caused by a person Driving Under the Influence. The DUI driver was arrested and my vehicle sustained damage, which was deemed cost effective for repairs.

No emergency assistance was required for all parties involved. However, approximately 24 hours later both my spouse and I started to experience severe pain. She had X-rays, MRI, CT scan for neck, shoulder and spine injuries. My injuries are primarily in my abdominal area, requiring Ultra Sounds, MRI, and x-rays.

The results of all these tests showed a bruised spleen, a ruptured mesh for an abdominal hernia, and necessitated multiple paracentesis procedures to remove excessive liters of belly/peritoneal fluid from my stomach.

I was already taking severe pain medication, along with various anti-rejection and inflammation meds. I am 100% compensated by the VA and because my particular medical status is extremely sensitive, I opt to receive all of my treatment via the VA.

My question is, can I still pursue compensation for my severe pain, suffering, anxiety, depression, mood disorders and hopelessness from the driver’s insurance company? I am declared Totally Disabled, I am not employed, therefore I can’t calculate lost wages. Is it possible via a civil lawsuit to pursue expenses for the treatment I received from the VA?

Someone suggested I can’t pursue compensation because I get treatment for free, however my argument is that absolutely nothing from the VA is free as I’m a retired Active Duty Veteran. I earned it!

And how should I proceed in computing a monetary figure for my ongoing pain and suffering? It is still inconclusive whether I’ll need surgery in the near or distant future due to this accident.

Semper Fi and 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.


Dear Deacon,

It’s not unusual for car accident victims to have delayed symptoms after a car accident. As a Marine, you know about the effects of adrenaline. Adrenaline can often mask the symptoms of injury for hours, and even several days. Insurance companies know this.

By seeking medical care 24 hours after the accident, you and your wife made an arguably affirmative link between your injuries and the negligent actions of the at-fault driver. As a result, the driver’s insurance company should not deny your claim.

However, your injury claim must include a demand for damages based on the negligence of the driver, coupled with your resulting damages. In your case, you have no work income, so your insurance company won’t likely agree to pay for that. Your medical bills are paid, so it is also unlikely the insurance company will pay for those.

You do have a right to demand compensation for your out of pocket expenses, including the cost of travel to and from treatment, parking lot fees, medications (if not paid for by the government), bandages, etc. More importantly, you have the right to compensation for your pain and suffering.

In most cases, pain and suffering calculations are based on a factor related to the combination of medical, chiropractic, dental or other treatment bills, out of pocket expenses, and lost wages. While you don’t have those expenses, it would not be unreasonable for you to add up all the money which has been paid by the government on your behalf.

It’s important to know that computing an amount to demand from the insurance company based on the multiplier method is not a perfect, nor is it a guaranteed method. However, without an attorney, you can consider applying the multiplier method.

Be aware, most insurance companies do not use the multiplier method. Instead, they have sophisticated software applications which take many factors into account when computing an amount they will agree to pay.

Because of the seriousness of your injuries and the complexity of the government compensation, lost wage issues, and more, you would be well-served by seeking the advice and counsel of several personal injury attorneys.

To help you decide whether or not you need an attorney, read this article.

Most personal injury attorneys do not charge a fee for initial consultations. Once you have visited with several personal injury attorneys, you will have a better idea of the viability of your claim, the inherent challenges, and the expected outcome.

Learn more here: New Claim with Pre-Existing Injury

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.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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