Do I have a right to hire an attorney

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Do I have a right to hire an attorney

I was in a car accident 4 months ago; my friend and I were rear-ended. I was out of state on vacation when this happened and didn’t start getting pain until 3 weeks after I returned home. Then, 3 weeks after I was back home, I went to the ER and the doctor asked me why I waited so long to be seen and I explained to him I didn’t have pain immediately. I started getting severe migraine headaches dizziness, balance problems and low back pain, plus muscle spasms. My memory is messed up and I am currently dealing with lots of emotional distress. What are my chances of suing for damages?

Asked on September 29, 2016 under Personal Injury, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You of course have the right to hire an attorney for an accident: you can hire an attorney for any injury or dispute.
In terms of your chances: if you were rear-ended, the other driver was almost certainly at fault, since the law presumes that the rear driver in a rear-end collission was negligent, or careless, in causing the accident, since he or she should have maintained a safe following distance and speed and should have been alert to stop at need.
However, in terms of what you could receive: assuming that a doctor will testify and therefore that you can prove that the problems you're suffering were caused by the collission (you need a credible medical opinion to that effect), what the injury is "worth" depends on how severe, long lasting, and debilitating it is, how long the problems will last, and what your medical costs and loss of wages or earning potential (if any) are. Pain, dizziness, etc. can be "worth" only a few hundred or maybe few thousand dollars if you have low medical costs and the problems resolve in several months; a few tens of thousands of dollars, for low-level lifetime impairment; up to hundreds of thousands if these are symptoms of much greater disability or impairment which is devloping. Until you know what you have and the prognosis, there is no way to tell if this is a worthwhile (that is, worth the cost, effort, time, etc.) case or not. Get a diagnosis, then meet with a personal injury attorney to discuss the situation in detail.

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can retain an attorney to handle your personal injury case.
Prior to filing a lawsuit, it may be possible to settle the case with the at-fault party's insurance carrier.
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 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 party's insurance company should include those items.
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports 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.
If the case is settled with the at-fault party's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers, 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.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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