What can I sue for in a car accident?

I was in a recent car accident and I wasn’t badly injured but I do have some neck pain. I only went to the hospital once because I can’t afford to continue seeking medical help. I hired one of those TV lawyers and they said they are only going to sue for personal injury. My car was totaled by the driver of the semi-truck and my insurance only paid $3700 which isn’t enough to get another vehicle (the driver of the truck was found in fault and cited for improper turn and being to far in the wrong lane). Is there anything else I can sue for?

Asked on November 4, 2011 under Accident Law, Virginia


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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You will need additional medical treatment for your neck pain which should include physical therapy.

You said that you can't afford additional medical treatment.  Since the other driver was at fault, it would be advisable to find a doctor who will take the case on a lien basis.  This means the doctor is paid out of the settlement of the case and you can get all the necessary medical treatment you need.  When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary, which means you have reached a point where no further improvement is anticipated, obtain your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of any wage loss.  Your personal injury claim filed with the other driver's insurance company will consist of those items.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss 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.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  You will need to go to the doctor frequently which will taper off as your condition improves.  If you have little or occasional medical treatment, the insurance company will conclude that you must not have been seriously injured and you won't receive much in terms of compensation.

Whether or not you have much medical treatment, if you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, reject the settlement offers and file your lawsuit for negligence against the other driver and the trucking company.  If the case is settled with the insurance company, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is NOT settled, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

The property damage/loss of your vehicle is handled separately from the personal injury claim.  It sounds like the property damage has already been settled.  Once that was settled, you won't be able to include the property damage in your lawsuit.


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