What to do about an injuries suffered in a car accident 2 years ago?

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What to do about an injuries suffered in a car accident 2 years ago?

I was a pedestrian and was hit. My left side was affected. At the time only my arm really hurt and some in my leg. As the year went by my knee continued to get worse. I do not play any sports or do any physical activities. I do not have the money to be seen about my problems if the claim won’t pay for it. It has gotten to what seems like a level pain but it goes away and comes back frequently. What should I do?

Asked on November 23, 2011 under Personal Injury, Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You should have contacted the auto insurance company of the driver who hit you after the accident.  You could have been receiving medical treatment.  It may still be possible to do that if the statute of limitations has not expired.  The statute of limitations in a personal injury case varies from state to state.  If you missed the statute of limitations, you have lost your rights forever in the matter.  The insurance company will ignore you if the statute of limitations has expired.  You won't be able to file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault driver/registered owner of the vehicle that hit you if the statute of limitations has expired. 

A lawsuit can be filed where the plaintiff resides or where the defendant resides or where the claim arose.  You are the plaintiff.  The driver who hit you is the defendant.  If the plaintiff and defendant are residents of different states, if the statute of limitations has expired in your state, you can file your lawsuit in the state where the defendant resides provided that the statute of limitations has not expired in that state.  If the state where the accident occurred is different from the states where the plaintiff and defendant reside and the statute of limitations has not expired in that state, you could file your lawsuit in that state.  Since two years have elapsed, and the lawsuit has not been filed and the case has not been settled, you want to select the state if any (where plaintiff resides, where defendant resides or where claim arose) where the statute of limitations has not expired to file your lawsuit.  If the statute of limitations has expired in the three possible states for filing a lawsuit (where plaintiff lives, where defendant lives or where claim arose), your case is barred by the statute of limitations and you won't be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

If the statute of limitations has not expired, you may encounter problems in filing a personal injury claim at this late date with the at-fault driver's insurance company.  The insurance company might claim that you were not injured or were not seriously injured since two years elapsed since the accident without a personal injury claim being filed.  If it is not too late to file the personal injury claim, you should verify that the insurance company is accepting liability before incurring huge medical bills.  If the insurance company is accepting liability, when you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary, obtain your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of any wage loss.  Your personal injury claim will consist of these 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.  At this late date, if you haven't missed the statute of limitations, immediately file the lawsuit to protect your rights even though you haven't completed your medical treatment.  If the statute of limitations had not been an issue, ordinarily what happens is that after being released by the doctor upon completion of medical treatment, the personal injury claim is submitted to the insurance company and if you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company you would then file your lawsuit against the at-fault driver.  If the case is settled with the insurance company, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is NOT settled with the insurance company, the lawsuit would be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations.  If the lawsuit is not filed prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations, you have lost 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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