Tota loss Accident caused by a dumptruck | Settlement for pain?
I was involved in an accident were my fiancee' (on his birthday) hit the side of a dumptruck head on due to the truck pulling out infront of us from a side street. We were going 45mph when we hit the one of the back tires of the dump truck. The impact was so hard that the back end of the car flew up off the ground. We also had our 1 year old son in the car with us. Our car was totaled and we were all taken to the hospital (no serious injuries though).
The accident was ruled the truck drivers fault and we have been dealing with his insurance company (The Hartford) for the past year. They already compensated us for our car and for the replacement car seat. We are coming close to having a settlement offer made and I'm really just wondering what to expect and how much we can expect for an accident of this type.
I know that in North Carolina, an accident settlement has to be 3xs that of the medical expenses, but we have had alot of pain & suffering because of this accident.
We both have been going to a chiroparctor (I'm still going) and my fiancee' has also been for physical therapy and MRIs. We both were extremely scared of driving at all for a while after the accident and I still have days were driving will bring on anxiety attacks (entire body shaking, crying, difficulty breathing, etc.).
I got pregnant shortly after the accident and spent the entire pregnancy in severe, non-stop back pain, and even now after having the baby, still can't lay flat on my back and spend half the day with pain.
I don't have medical insurance and have had an extremely hard time finding anyone to see or treat me because no one seems to want to accept 3rd party billing and I cannot afford to pay for it. Our chiropractor has been the only one who will treat me with the 3rd party billing, but that doesn't even really help and I am going to need further treatment (MRIs, etc.) when I can afford it.
Our 1 year old also went to the doctor shortly after the accident and had to be perscribed medicine to help him sleep because he kept waking up and crying, especially if he was in the car (he was asleep when the accident happened and woke up because of it completely freaking out & scared). It has gotten better, but he still will occasionally cry unconsolably if he wakes up in the car.
Beyond the pysical problems, we have been so stressed put by this whole situation...the car we crashed in we had just put everything we had into purchasing it (including 2 trade ins) about a month before. Everyday we wish for our old car back. It was an '02 Sebring in perfect condition, only had 42,000 miles, and was a steal at $3,500 after our trades and $700 cash down.
They only valued it for enough to cover the balance of the loan with $600 left over, so when we tried to find a new car, we basically had nothing left to help us got one. Between the lack of resources and lack of time (they gave us 2 weeks with a rental and we literally had doctors appointments daily) to spend searching for one, we ended up with a car that does not suit our needs, has had several mechanical issues, and we are paying too much for (not their fault, but if not for the accident, we'd still have a car in great condition that we loved).
We also had to pay all the registration, title and tag fees again, even though we hadn't had our other car long enough for the license plate to come in yet (another thing I'm sure won't come into account when reimbursing us)! The emotional toll has been greater than we expected it to be...as I mentioned before, I still have anxiety attacks when driving and absolutely cannot drive around dump trucks because all I see is the accident.
There were a few days my fiancee' had to leave from work crying because he was having panic attacks (this is the man who I've never seen cry before, not even when the grandfather he was extremely close to died). The stress for me with no one wanting to treat me due to lack of insurance has been extremely emotionally taxin...I did not ask to be in a debilitating accident and it is not my fault we can't afford for me to have insurance...I sometimes feel like my back will never recover from this, especially if I can't get the treatment I need.
It has been just over a year since the accident happened (July 1, 2009) and they are getting ready to make an offer for our son and my fiancee'.
We are wondering what kind of settlements people in similar accidents have gotten and if (in my case at least) it would be beneficial for us to get an attorney.
I am very sorry to hear about your accident. It does sound significant. I really hope everyone recovers okay.
You have some issues regarding the pregnancy. The insurance company will probably argue that your pain is attributed to normal pregnancy pain and not the accident (very convenient for them, I know). This is of course bogus, but insurance adjusters will raise it.
For this reason, and other issues regarding the value of the claim for all three of you, you should really consider talking to a lawyer. They are the only people who can really evaluate your claim and give you a fair value.
It's impossible for us to give you an accurate number without looking at your medical bills and records.