Visitor Question

What else can I be compensated for other than medical bills?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Benicia, California)

I was driving my daughter to school, going about 25 mph on a main road that did not have a stop sign or light where I was. Suddenly, a car that was stopped at a stop sign on a side street, drove out and t-boned the passenger side of my car. This caused part of my car to be pushed into oncoming traffic.

The impact was hard enough to throw our belongings that were in the front seat to the back seat of the car. Fortunately, my daughter who is 10 years old, did not suffer from any physical injuries. It did shake her up emotionally quite a bit though, and she is still nervous in the car.

I, on the other hand, have been in pain on a daily basis since May of this year. The pain is in my neck, back, and shoulder areas. I am also having jaw pain, increased headaches, and tingling and numbness in my fingers. I have had to sleep in a chair sitting up for the whole 5 months because the pain gets worse if I’m not propped up a certain way.

I went to the urgent care 2 days after the accident, because that is when the pain got worse. I was told it was a whiplash injury and prescribed a muscle relaxer medication. I called my regular doctor and she sent me for x rays a couple of days later. They only showed straightening of the cervical lordosis and limited movement in the flexion. I was then seen by my primary care physician two more times over the last 5 months. She prescribed Tizanadine and Ultracet, which I have been taking several times a day for the last 5 months. I was also referred to a physical therapist, neurologist, and orthopedist.

My medical insurance is currently lapsed due to a mistake with my husband’s employment and union, and I am unable to get my prescriptions or go to any of the appointments for the, specialists I was referred to until it is straightened out. I am not employed, cannot pay upfront for my appointments and my doctors will not bill my car insurance.

My husband also missed 2 days of work. He wasn’t in the accident, but we only had the one working car at the time of the accident. That meant he missed work on the day of the accident and on the day the car had to be taken to the auto body repair shop. He is the only provider and does not get paid time off, so this caused us a financial hardship.

We also have annual passes to Disneyland that we make monthly payments on and are under contract to pay whether we cancel the passes or not. We had planned a trip for Mother’s day, but were unable to go because of my pain, and we haven’t been able to go since the accident. Payments for our family of three to have these annual passes are $198/month.

I also missed my daughters open house and end-of-year school party, and then was unable to do any activities with her over summer break. My car has not been the same since the accident and always has different sensors coming on. It does not drive at all the way it used to. It was in perfect condition before the accident, but the auto body shop returned it to me with sensors already coming on. I had to return it to them to find out why and end up paying for a diagnostic at Honda.

I was supposed to enter back into the working world since my daughter is getting older now. Our rent went up already and is supposed to go up another $1,000 more in January. We got a move-in deal with the expectation I would be back to work and we could afford our home. But now I can’t get a job.

I additionally have a rare Myeloproliferative disorder (fibromyalgia), and had a craniotomy surgery because of a brain aneurysm I had a couple of years ago. The headaches I was having since that surgery had just stopped before the accident. I already had enough health problems to work through without this accident making it worse. I’ve been suffering for months physically and emotionally. This accident is causing me and my family a lot of emotional, intimate, and financial hardship.

So far my medical bills are only approximately $1700. What else can I ask for?

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 Anonymous,

Presuming the driver’s insurance company accepts liability on behalf of their insured, you will be entitled to compensation for the following:

  • Your medical bills
  • Out-of-pocket expenses for medications
  • Cost of travel to and from treatment
  • Lost wages (if you had any)
  • Your husband’s lost wages (if it can be shown he had to take time off to specifically care for you)
  • Pain and suffering

You cannot expect to receive itemized compensation for the following:

  • Cost of annual passes to Disneyland
  • Your husband missing two days of work (unless it can be shown he had to take that time off to specifically care for you)
  • Your daughter’s open house
  • Your daughter’s school party
  • Increase in rent
  • Inability to secure employment

When negotiating with the insurance company, be sure to bring up the above issues with the claims adjuster. These may be taken into consideration when they calculate the amount of pain and suffering you may be offered.

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: November 12, 2017

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