Question: Should I deal with Sate Farm personally or hire an attorney to take care of a personal injury claim?
Here are the facts: I went Christmas shopping at Wal-Mart for my kids on Dec. 16th. As my boyfriend and I were headed out of the store a car was driving recklessly in the parking lot. A gentleman told him to slow down and the driver, a man decided to slam on the breaks, get out of his car, and started pushing and hitting this other guy. It was getting pretty ugly so I called the police department and about that time the fight was breaking up. I walked to the front of the man's car to get his license plate number for the police department. He got in his car shut his door and stomped on the gas pedal and hit me head-on. The car lurched forward, I was struck and then I landed on his hood. At that point he put the brake on and reversed. At that point I fell to the ground. The police arrived, called for an ambulance and I was taken to the hospital by ambulance. The driver was arrested for reckless driving. There were no broken bones just a lot of contusions, sprains, and spasms. They also found a small amount of blood in my urine. The referred me to a primary doctor to do follow-up care due to having blood in my urine and orthopedic doctor for the damage done to the left knee. I went to the primary doctor for about a week after accident and the blood in the urine slowly went away. I have an appointment with an orthopedic doctor on Monday. The knee pain has not let up, I have been taking muscle relaxers at night to sleep and pain pills to get through the night. The doctors still haven’t released me and some days the medication seems to work and other days it doesn’t. I am a stay-at-home mom to two autistic children and it has made our life quite difficult.
Answer: Yes, you will need a lawyer to help you settle the claim, because State Farm may deny the claim saying the driver intended to hit you. Only fortuitous claims are covered by car insurance; usually not intentional acts of violence. The lawyer will need to figure out who has insurance, how much and what it covers. The doctor bills, records and reports will need to be obtained from the emergency room, the primary doctor and the orthopedic surgeon. At some point they will figure out what is still injured and hopefully how to treat it. Blood in the urine is a sign of a contused kidney, so you probably have hematuria.
I suspect your knee injury is one of several. It could be a tear in the lateral collateral ligament (LCL), or the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or the medial collateral ligament (MCL). Whichever it turns out to be you will probably need surgery to correct it and in my experience the outcome is never-ever one hundred percent recovery.
In some ways your case is simple yet complicated by several factors. The claim may involve punitive damages so you might as well have someone between you and the insurance adjuster. Having a lawyer do the talking is one way to save you from yourself because laypeople talk when they shouldn't and say things easily misunderstood. While the adjuster may be a nice person, they're not on your side. Their goal is to pay you as little as possible, because he or she earns a bonus when at year's end the compoany has made a billion dollars in profit by not paying people like you. They get excited when they deny claims.
Your job in this whole mess is pretty simple. You should continue to follow up with your treating doctor and let the lawyer work out a settlement. The lawyer's job is to take away your worries about this case. I can’t believe this one would ever go to court, but then again it may. Good luck, we’d appreciate the opportunity to represent you.