What should I do?

Recently my mother and I were in an accident. A car came out of a side street and hesitated which causing my mother to hit the side of that car. It was raining very hard and after hitting it, our car kept going until we hit a brick wall. We were transported to the hospital via ambulance. After being seen, it was concluded that no major injuries were sustained, according to various X-rays but my mother and I both are having back problems. She enlisted the services of a personal injury lawyer but I’m quite skeptical of it because nothing was really explained to me; I wasn’t given a run down on procedures and the the process. There has been absolutely no correspondence with me, just my mother. The other cars insurance company contacted my mother to offer her a settlement for the book value of the car, however nothing to compensate either one of us for our pain or the loss of my job due to the accident. Should I consult a different lawyer or should I try to settle on my own?

Asked on December 12, 2017 under Personal Injury, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The property damage claim for the loss of the vehicle is separate from the personal injury claims.
You and your mother have separate personal injury claims.  The personal injury attorney should have referred you and your mother to a doctor, who is paid out of the settlement of the case.  Physical therapy is needed for the back injury.
When medical treatment is completed and you are released by the doctor or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary, which means having reached a point in your treatment where no further improvement is anticipated, the personal injury attorney should obtain your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of wage loss.  Your claim filed with the at-fault party's insurance carrier should include those items.
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports document your injury and are 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.
If the case is settled with the at-fault party's  insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the at-fault party's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party.
If the case is NOT settled, 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 above discussion also applies to your mother's personal injury case.
If you are a minor, your mother or father would have to be appointed guardian ad litem to file a lawsuit on your behalf because a minor cannot file a lawsuit.
If you are a minor, the personal injury attorney and insurance company will be handling the matter including potential settlement offers through your guardian ad litem.
As for changing attorneys, you will then end up paying two attorneys out of the settlement.The case is in an early stage which means that your current attorney should not have much of a lien on the settlement since he or she hasn't done much at this point.  You will need a substitution of attorney form which your new attorney can provide.  If you want to change attorneys, that would be preferable to representing yourself and trying to settle the case.
 


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