What are my rights if a driver T-boned me and my driver’s side seat airbag deployed exploding in my ear and left side of my face?

I was rushed by ambulance to hospital. my hearing was muffled for 3 days and continually ringing. I have had 4 audio hearing tests and my doctor says I have some hearing loss in the high frequency levels of my hearing ability. He said I would have to live with this and that my other ear in time would compensate for the loss in the other ear. How much of a dollar amount should I get from the other driver’s insurance company for my partial hearing loss injury?

Asked on November 9, 2013 under Personal Injury, North Carolina

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

When you are released by the doctor upon completion of your medical treatment or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary, which means having reached a point in your medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated, obain your medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of any wage loss.

Your personal injury claim filed with the at-fault party's auto insurance carrier should include these items.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.

There isn't any mathematical formula for determining compensation for pain and suffering.  It just depends on the facts of the case.  I would ask for $100,000, BUT DON'T EXPECT TO GET THAT.  The insurance company will respond  with a much lower offer and you can continue negotiations to try to get the insurance company to increase its offer.

If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party (registered owner of the vehicle if the registered owner is someone other than the at-fault driver).  Name both the registered owner and at-fault driver as defendants in your lawsuit for negligence.

If your case is settled with the at-fault party's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is NOT settled with that insurance carrier, your lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter. 

The property damage claim (cost of repairs)    for your car is separate from your personal injury claim and is usually resolved early in the case.  In addition to the cost of repairs to your car, you can also get a rental car while your car is being repaired.  The at-fault party's insurance carrier probably has a limit on the daily rate for a rental car.  Contact the at-fault party's insurance carrier regarding the rental car.


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