What to do about a personal injury from an auto accident?
Question Details: We were involved in a rear-end collision about 1 1/2 years ago. We were hit while stopped to yield at a round about. My granddaughter were taken to hospital by ambulance. Both told we had a serious whiplash. We had nothing but trouble with his insurance. My insurance company was handling things pertaining to our bills then going to deal with the other insurance company as that company would not return our calls. The issue is I've been trying to get them to settle for some time but my calls would not be returned as they never answered. Today I receive a return after 10 calls in past 30 days. Told me to go ahead and seek legal services, laughing out loud as he said it, when I said I felt $1500 wasn't fair. I tried calling a couple local attorneys who said I waited too long to call to get them to help. Is this true? Have I waited too long to get any help on This? I've attempted to call acceptance over and over since this happen. Did they drag this out to make sure we had to settle for what ever they wanted to give us. I'll never make this mistake again if I have this happen. Could you please advise me if I'm just out of luck?
Legally, you could still sue the at-fault driver (you sue the driver, not their insurer): the statute of limitations, or time within which you must file a lawsuit, in your state for personl injuries is 2 years, so if the accident was 1 1/2 years ago, you are still within time to sue. It is true that starting now would be difficult: after 1 1/2 years, it may be difficult to find the evidence, get any medical tests done, line up medical experts, etc. in time, but that is a practical issue, not a legal bar or prohibition; you are, as stated, still within time to sue if you want to.
Another practical issue is that if you have had substantial dealings with the insurer already, what you have said and done so far effectively would tie the hands of an attorney, because any admissions or statents you have made could be used against you.
Another big issue is how much do you hope to get? How bad, and how long lasting, was your whiplash? How large are any out-of-pocket (not paid by health insurance) medical bills, if any? Suing for personal injuries can be expensive, due to the need for medical experts to testify about your injuries (you have to pay the expert(s) yourself; you cannot recover this cost from the other side). If you hope to get, say, $10,000, it's likely not worth suing: a lawyer (if any would take a case for that amount) would get 33-40%; you'd spend at least $1,500 (average) on the medical expert; you'd spend several hundred to several thousand more on other litigation costs (filing; copies; possibly depositions)--you might not actually make any more, and could make less, than the $1,500 you are offered. Unless this is a lawsuit which could, from the medical costs you incurred and the severity and duration of injuries, support a several tens of thousands of dollars judgment, you may be best off taking the offer.