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Car Accident: Don't Settle for Less

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Saint Cloud, FLSometimes it doesn't pay to accept a car crash settlement right away. Ann and her son were involved in a rear-end collision that didn't seem like a serious car accident at the time, but they are both feeling the repercussions two years later. Now, Ann is thankful to her attorney that she will finally have her day in court.

Car Accident"My 15-year-old son and I were driving along the highway and traffic had come to a complete stop," says Ann (not her real name pending a lawsuit). "Just then I had a premonition we were going to get hit. The second car behind us pushed the car directly behind us right into our rear-end--he was driving fast and there was no way he was able to stop in time.

There wasn't much of an impact because the car that hit us--a Grand Cherokee--had a huge rubber bumper, but our car still needed $600 of repair work. However, even though it wasn't her fault, the young girl driving (who hit us) was quite shaken up. The police came and took a report from everyone. We didn't go to the hospital but a few days later we both had aches and pains—I had pains in my lower back and shoulder and my son lower had lower back and hip problems.

We both went to a chiropractor but it didn't help. Then we saw another chiropractor who gave us the name of an attorney.

I didn't have any health insurance, only car insurance. It paid for the repairs but we were out of pocket with chiropractor appointments and it wasn't getting any better.

I asked the attorney if I could go to an orthopedic doctor. He told me that there wasn't enough of an impact for me to see a specialist so I contacted another attorney, this time a friend in Baltimore. He took my case because he said you can even have a fatal accident with little impact.

I had an MRI (which I had to pay $500 out-of-pocket) and they found a torn rotator cuff; it was obviously from the accident. My attorney got in touch with the insurance company and tried to get them to settle, at least pay for my surgery. The offer they gave was so ridiculous ($5,000) that it wouldn't even cover my surgery—he advised me to get an attorney in Arizona who could go to court—the scene of the accident.

For two years, I tried to get an attorney in Arizona but nobody would take my case—apparently there wasn't enough property damage. (The accident happened in Arizona and we had moved to Florida shortly after it occurred.) Then I filed a complaint with lawyersandsettlements and one of your attorneys in Arizona contacted me. Fortunately, the statute of limitations on the car crash passed the very day that he filed the lawsuit.

The lawyersandsettlements attorney filed the lawsuit in September 2008. He took the case because the insurance company was not going to settle. I believe the insurance company was counting on me not having an Arizona lawyer but I am determined to pursue this case. Right now my lawyer is trying to find the driver who hit the 16-year-old girl; all we know is that he was an employee of Enterprise rental car. In the meantime, my attorney has also served Enterprise and said the company must be held responsible.

I wake up in pain just about every night due to my back and shoulder. I can't lie on my shoulder at all. I went to an orthopedic doctor here in Florida and he said that because I have postponed surgery on my shoulder, it is likely that I have permanent damage. Little things bother me: going to the bathroom is a problem (women, you know what I mean) and vacuuming is more than a chore. I can't walk our dog because he is so strong and he pulls on my shoulder. As for my son, he is still having pain—back spasms. I took him to my GP and she could actually feel the spasms in his back—again I had to pay for his doctor's appointment.

I'm not trying to make money on this lawsuit—I just want the insurance company to do the right thing. After all, their job is to cover car crashes and the driver who caused the car accident should get a lesson in car crash safety; I am confident that my lawyer will find him.

Apparently the court date will be set within 9 months. Because I don't have much money he is trying to arrange that I don't have to go to Arizona for a deposition—just the hearing. It seems like the weight of the world has been taken off my shoulders now that I found this attorney. "

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