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Whether I need an attorney
I was a passenger in an accident around the 12th and I’m currently in a cast for an ankle fracture that requires surgery. I am out of work until the surgery and recovery are over and I’m going to lose my truck. One insurance company refuses to deal with me because both parties were deemed at fault and the other refuses to compensate me in any way until all treatment is finished and paperwork is in hand to evaluate it. This seems fishy to me and I was told by multiple people to seek representation but others have told me I’m owed nothing. I believe I’m owed something out of work for months, loss of my truck that I’ve paid $3000 into and I’m flat broke. I was a passenger with no fault in the accident.
Asked on April 12, 2017 under Accident Law, Georgia
S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 3 years ago | Contributor
It is advisable for you to be represented by a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
The insurance company which told you that you need to complete your medical treatment and have all the paperwork in order for the case to be evaluated is telling you the truth.
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 having reached a point in your medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated, obtain your medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of wage loss. Your personal injury claim filed with the at-fault parties'insurance companies 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. It would be premature to settle the case now because you need your total medical bills, final medical reports and total wage loss. If you settle the case now while you are still receiving medical treatment and incurring additional bills, you won't be able to go back to the insurance company later and ask for more money.
The property damage to your truck can be settled now. The property damage claim is separate from your personal injury claim.
As mentioned, when you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor or are declared to be permanent and stationary, that is the appropriate time to try to settle the case.
If the case is settled with the at-fault parties' insurance carriers, NO lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carriers, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault parties.
If the case is settled with one, but not both parties, only name the party with whom the case has not settled as a defendant in your lawsuit.
If the case is NOT settled, your lawsuit for negligence must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.