when is it worth getting an attoreny regarding a personal injury?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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when is it worth getting an attoreny regarding a personal injury?

My mother was hit by a car while walking in a parking lot on private property. The young woman who hit her did not have insurance. My mother suffered an injury to her left knee, resulting in surgery and now has 2 plates and screws in her leg/knee area. My mother’s car insurance has taken the claim under her non-insured liability coverage. They have been very good about paying her medical bills and want to clear this case up so they can settle with her. Her car insurer is going after the young woman who hit her to collect back the funds they are paying for my mom’s medical bills and pain and suffering. Several people have said that she should have gotten an attorney. The statute of limitations in our state to get an attorney is soon coming up. Would it be worth seeking legal help if my mom’s car insurance claim has been paying her bills and want to do a settlement soon?

Asked on November 8, 2018 under Personal Injury, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If your mother will have permanent impairment or pain or disability from the injury then she may be entitled to compensation for "pain and suffering": for significant impairment, etc. that will be permanent, this could be a considerable sum of money. So if the insurer has not given her anything for pain and suffering and she has some signficant impairment, in theory, it could be well worth it to retain an attorney and look into suing.
We write "in theory" because as the old saying goes, you can't get blood from a stone--and you can't get money from someone who has none. Your mother would have to sue the young woman personally; you write that she did not have insurance; that means that if your mother gets a judgment against her, she'd have to pay it out of pocket, from her own money and assets. If she can't pay, your mother won't get anything; the judgment does not make money appear where there is none. If she didn't have insurance, it was likely because 1) she could not afford it; and/or 2) she has so little assets and income to protect, it was not worth getting insurance--i.e. she is "judgment proof." Therefore, this may be someone your mother could sue but not actually get money from. Unless there is some reason to believe she could pay a judgment, it's likely not worth suing.

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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