Legal help, please?

Archived discussion from Toril-2.
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Legal help, please?

Postby kwirl » Sat Jul 23, 2005 3:29 am

I was in a car accident on July 2nd. My girlfriend was driving her mother's vehicle, a 1999 Toyata Rav 4X4.

She was changing lanes on a dark stretch of highway, and a deer ran into the road. She swerved to avoid the deer, and the wheel axle 'bent' or folded in on itself, and the vehicle started rolling. I was not wearing a seatbelt, in the front passenger seat.

When it started rolling, I was thrown sideways into the driver's seat, then tossed backwards over the backseat. My shoulder impacted the back door of the SUV, breaking off the hinges, but not the door itself. I went head first through the glass, and the vehicle left me behind. I rolled some 40 feet on the highway, through the gravel on the side, and down a ditch.

I ended up face down in the ditch, my left femur shattered, my right hip dislocated, the right side of my face nearly torn off, the flesh of my left hand grinded to bone, and my right elbow skinned completely.

I am not insured. My girlfriend's mother's insurance company came to me in the hospital, said up to 2,000 dollars in medical bills would be covered, and some additional compensation for lost wages.

Less than 48 hours from the time of the accident, the insurance company had put a check into the hands of my girlfriend's mother for almost 10,000 dollars. They advised me that getting legal counsel would 'make me look guilty' if I tried to get help.

I've never been in this situation before, but I have been told that I should look for a personal injury lawyer. Can anyone please share experience, advice, tips, or help on this matter? I just returned from rehab, and I'm ready to start moving on with my life, but I'm looking at hundred's of thousands of dollars in medical bills and medication that I can't afford.
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Postby Vigis » Sat Jul 23, 2005 7:49 am

Get a lawyer period. It doesn't make you look guilty of anything. Trying to deal with an insurance company without one makes you look just stupid. Get a lawyer.
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Postby teflor the ranger » Sat Jul 23, 2005 12:31 pm

Got Lawyer?
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Postby Ragorn » Sat Jul 23, 2005 1:53 pm

Guilty of what? You were in the passenger seat, you can't possibly be at fault in any way.
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Postby rylan » Sat Jul 23, 2005 2:41 pm

Yeah, get a lawyer. The insurance company is full of $hit for saying it would make you look guilty. They're probably trying to scare you so you don't go after them for your medical bills.
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Postby Kifle » Sat Jul 23, 2005 9:12 pm

I'm not sure, but I'd assume it all depends on the person at fault's insurance. If they have full coverage, they're probably trying to screw you; if it's PLPD then you're probably screwed. Either way, get a laywer.
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Postby Thilindel » Sat Jul 23, 2005 9:40 pm

*sigh* I tried to avoid this thread, but somehow I'm compelled anyway. First off, you're a complete idiot if you don't get an attorney. Any garbage on the net is useless. These guys have 2 years to drag out however long it takes. Until you actually FILE for damages, the clock ticks. When you get insurance, you'll hear numbers like 100/300/300. That is just an example, where it's 100k per person, 300k per complete accident, etc. You need to find an attorney to further this information for you. I could explain more detail but in a hurry. These guys deal every day with people that are hurt, but their business isn't to give a damn - it's to make money from not paying out. lock the damned thread and get an attorney.
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Postby Corth » Mon Jul 25, 2005 1:35 am

What everyone else said.. get a lawyer now. This isn't the appropriate place for giving or getting legal advice. Try and get a recommendation on a good attorney from a family member or a friend rather than calling the first guy on TV.

Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth

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Ouch ...

Postby Mistari » Mon Jul 25, 2005 8:09 am

I can totally understand your frustration. I was in a similar situation many many years ago. And to be honest, insurance companies a: are full of jack $hit, and b: they will NOT give whats rightfully yours. A lawyer would definitely be a wise choice. In my case, both my arms were broken (right in 4 places, along with almost a complete separation of my wrist, which would have ruined my life being right handed). Along with muliple cuts requiring a total of 150 stitches, not including the surgery. State farm decided that 3190 dollars and 1400 in lost wages were enough. They would also pay 80% of the 390k+ medical bills. I told the underwriter that visited me in the hospital to get the @#$% out of my face.

In the end, they paid the medical bills entirely, along with 18000 dollars in my pocket for suffering, as well as ALL of my lost wages, which included rehab time where I had missed work. total bill for them, was pretty close to 450,000 dollars. of which, I saw a good chunk. Most lawyers will take this case without a retainer only because they know they can screw the insurance company out of a large chunk of change. They will also be able to issue a letter of protection to the hospital which will cease them from trying to collect $ from you. They will instead put it pending, and wait for either her insurance company or your lawyer to contact them. That is the easiest way to be safe and cover your ass. And most of the time, said lawyer will work for about 33% of your share of the settlement. So, no cash up front, they'll get the medical people off your ass, and clean out the insurance company for all they can.

The only drawback, and i am 99.9999% sure, Delaware has a seat belt mandate in effect, you will most likely end up paying the state highway a fine for that as well as sign off on any further events (in case something doesnt heal right), all because of no seatbelt.

The other thing you MAY want to check out, was that axle worked on recently, if so by whom, and have your new found lawyer friend deal with the insurance company.... They may find that it was a faulty part if it was replaced, etc etc.

Just some advice, and I really do know your pain, I suffer it every day...

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Postby Birile » Mon Jul 25, 2005 3:26 pm

Jumping on the bandwagon--

Don't ever let anyone intimidate you by telling you to not get a lawyer. In fact, if you ever hear someone advise you against it or tell you it's not in your best interests, it probably means you BETTER get a lawyer. That goes for criminal and civil actions.

And next time don't be a bleeping idiot and wear your bleeping seatbelt and we wouldn't be having this discussion.
Last edited by Birile on Mon Jul 25, 2005 7:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Talona » Mon Jul 25, 2005 6:19 pm

Let's please try to watch our language in this thread, and the rest of them too. Thanks.

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Postby Birile » Mon Jul 25, 2005 7:17 pm

Talona wrote:Let's please try to watch our language in this thread, and the rest of them too. Thanks.


Edited for lessened effect.
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Postby Thilindel » Mon Jul 25, 2005 8:02 pm

True, but due to the severity of what happened and what _could_ have happened further, such language is in order to ensure that ALL of the Kwirl(s) won't go shotgun w/o a seatbelt again! *comf* Birile.

If any of you are STUPID enough to not think you don't need a seatbelt, watch that clip.
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Postby Delmair Aamoren » Tue Jul 26, 2005 1:42 am

Ragorn wrote:Guilty of what? You were in the passenger seat, you can't possibly be at fault in any way.

Guilty of violation of the law in most states. Failure to use safety devices
has been grounds for denial of civil claims in the past. All is not lost. Like
others have mentioned, GET A LAWYER. MOST states require insurance
as listed above for liability. The amounts vary from state to state, but most
companies, especially the reputable ones, give recommendations of
100,000 per person, 300,000 per incident medical coverage. Also as
already mentioned above, DO look into recall notices involving suspension,
rollovers, tire type, maintenance, etc. on the vehicle. This information
could be priceless in your case.

At the very least, i see your medical bills being covered, and in most cases
the insurance company should also supplement your bills with a healthy
stipend for lost wages. Keep in mind, this will most likely not exceed
whatever the limitations are on the liability portion of the vehicle
insurance. From the extend of your injuries, you were most likely taken
to a trauma center. The hospital bills alone will be in the 50k+ range i
would wager. Not to mention any cosmetic surgery you may wish to have
to fix your face. (resisting temptation to add ugly before the accident
comment here).

Also, depending on your particular state and the insurance company
involved, it may be your girlfriends auto insurance that covers it. NOT her
mothers. Different states and companies have different rules for when
insurance transfers and when it doesnt. In oregon, if i allow someone to
drive my car, and they get in an accident, my insurance company will
hike up my rates to whatever they would quote the person who was
driving my vehicle. IE if they had 3 DUI's, i would get quoted a rate as if
i had 3 DUI's. So in this case, the insurance is on the vehicle, regardless
of the operator (provided it was authorized use of my motor vehicle).

Here is a link to the state minimum requirements for liability. Might
come in handy: ... t_544529=6

Here is a link to one source for Rav4 recalls: ... index.html

Of the above, the disc brake one MIGHT have relevance. otherwise this
looks like a dead-end.

Reading through some additional material on the net, it seems the Rav4 is
not more prone to rollover than any other SUV (still investigate tires,
maintenance, recalls, etc. But also, apparently there is now law regarding
withholding compensation for drivers/passengers who were not wearing
their seatbelt. Overall, good luck, and i hope you get back to living a
normal life soon =)


P.S. Sweet video. I usually get there after the human pinball has stopped
moving. Scraping whatever is salvageable off the street or out of the car
and to the nearest hospital in hopes of a positive outcome.

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