Jump to content

Hiring an attorney

Recommended Posts

January 23, 2017, I was sideswiped by an older woman when she was changing lanes into a temporary middle left turn lane.  She says she "underjudged" how much space she had. Truth is,  she hit me and left. (or appeared to be leaving.) I was stopped in traffic at the time. I followed her quite a ways (long temporary lane) till she finally turned off the major road, onto her own road and stopped. I include this detail as this is the reason I called the police before even getting out of the car. 


She never exited her vehicle even when the police arrived about 30 minutes later. I, in fact, took pictures of her damage and showed her on my phone (and my damage as well.) She also didn't seem interested in my license,  insurance etc so I photographed all of it and emailed it to her. It was just a very weird thing. She. offered to write me a check for $1,000 if I did not call the police or go thru her insurance. I told her they had already been called. She was 77. 


Neither of us seemed injured,  the police report states the accident was her fault and she admitted that to me and the cop after trying to find a way to blame me. I just kept saying "I was stopped." the cop could tell what happened. And drew the diagram perfectly.  There is no question of liability. 


The next day,  I was in pain. I went to the ER and was treated for neck and back pain. Was given a pain injection, and scripts for muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory (toridol.  I am allergic to all narcotics.) 


I started seeing my Chiropractor and now it's about 4 weeks later and I am still in pain. Esp my neck. I am having headaches and I never get headaches. 


The ER is billing me $1400 and wants to use my $2,000 med pay.  My Chiropractor wants to use my med pay. And I am in pain.  I called my own neurologist and she told me I have to pay out of pocket to see her as they do not bill car insurance claims. I told her she could bill my Medicare (i am disabled)  and they would pay and put a lien against her insurance company/my settlement. She said that wasn't true. 


Anyway,  I can't afford to pay for medical care and get reimbursed later. What if this was a serious spinal injury? People can't be expected to pay all their own medical bills and get reimbursed. 


I got a letter from a law group with the "i see you were in an accident" ambulance chaser line but they had a Q&A section that told me I was correct in the lien stuff etc. Today when I found out my own doctor won't see me unless I pay up front,  I called that law firm. They were very helpful on the phone. We talked for quite a while,  she pulled up my police report,  etc. She said they work with doctors who will treat people and agree to get paid later. I told her I didn't want to see a doctor who would be trying to make things seem worse than they were etc. and just wanted a good doctor.  (We all have seen/heard of prostitute doctors who work for insurance companies.) 


Someone is coming over tomorrow. I assume to have me to sign papers. So,  I hate lawyers.  I hate legal battles. I hate the stress of all of it. But I also need to get some care.  I am scheduled for unrelated shoulder surgery next month and can't get into a 2 month arm sling around my neck situation with a neck injury. I am feeling forced to hire an attorney and I hate that. 


I can't find anything bad (or much of anything at all!) about this law group. And don't want to sign papers with a group who could screw me over like stories I have read here. But I also feel pretty over it and need to get a doctor to see me rather than just returning to the er. (I have disk issues in my lower back and am afraid of course with my neck.)


So what's my question. Do most people HAVE  to hire an attorney? How do I make sure I am hiring a good one. Is the letter I got from this legal group a sign they might not be the best? (ambulance chasers getting police reports. I also have gotten letters from Chiropractors who also apparently get police reports.) They have offices in 12 cities in North Carolina and were nice on the phone but... Ugh,  I hate lawyers. 


I have worked with unethical lawyers before.  Man,  I was just sitting in traffic! I know,  that's why they call it an accident. I already have a check to get my car repaired. There is no doubt as to liability. My own insurance man said if I use MY med pay my own insurance can go up. (I. Have no accidents and great rates.) The lawyer said not to let anyone use it although their Q&A says to use it. It's all so confusing to know what to do. 


And I am in pain and really,  don't have the umph to call tons of lawyers and figure out who is good etc.  I can't just pay out of pocket. MRI probably etc. I don't want to be trying to figure out who needs to be paid back for what and what liens and etc. 


Do most people feel forced to hire a lawyer? I just want to be out of pain and be done. It was just a small fender bender.  Sorry if I sound whiney, I think I need some advice? Many of you seem to really know what you are talking about. 


Thoughts?  The attorney must think the case is worth something for them to even be interested right? Damage to my car: $1250. (2009 Nissan Cube.) 


Not that it matters now,  but it took her insurance company two days to talk to her.  Their adjuster told me she was not returning their phone calls and she never reported the accident to them. Something was hinky.  I wish now I had asked them to test her for alcohol. She never ever stepped out of the car. I guess why she hit me doesn't matter except maybe she should not be on the road anymore. 


Sorry this got long. I tried to edit but it just gets longer.  ? It's late,  I hurt and the lawyer will be here in 12 hours. 


Thoughts? Advice? Thanks.  Be. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Initial thoughts:


By declining medical care you have failed to mitigate your damages. Your medpay is in place for exactly this type of circumstance.  You should see an orthopedic surgeon and avoid chiropractors unless you are referred to the chiro by an MD for physical therapy. Your choice to decline appropriate treatment may cost you thousands of dollars since any recovery will, in some part, depend on the extent and cost of your treatment.  Using your med pay will probably increase your premiums by a few dollars a year.  This is true because the collision (not accident) was not charged to you.  Failure to treat your injury may also continue your recovery for no legitimate reason and reduce any claim you make for pain and suffering since you have chosen to suffer.


No one can tell you whether the attorney group you are considering is a good choice without experience with that group.  I don't think any lawyers from NC correspond with this board.  It sounds as if your experience with any attorney is going to, at least initially, be unpleasant.  You say you hate lawyers and apparently have had unpleasant experiences with lawyers previously.  I suspect this may not turn out well.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

One possibly helpful comment.  You mentioned that a physician was unwilling to accept your suggestion that you could receive treatment and put a lien on the insurance proceeds.  The physician declined.  If you had an attorney he or she could have you sign an assignment that would bind the attorney to pay the physician out of any recovery.  I have never had a physician decline to provide treatment when I presented such an assignment.  So, by retaining an attorney you can receive treatment for the injury without paying at the time of the treatment.  The physician is willing to rely on a professional who risks disciplinary action by the licensing authority if he or she does not make the payment.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi and thanks for responding. I didn't decline treatment unless you mean I didn't go to the er after the accident.  I wasn't hurting worth for an er visit (via ambulance) at the time but did go to the er the next day. That doctor suggested massage but my history with the prior accident was insurance doesn't pay for massage.  I ended up paying out of pocket before.


I have always used a chiro as I am always in pain - in my back,  not my neck. I can't go to pt under my own insurance as it's $40 per visit. Even using my bcbs,  I will have copay ($50/visit and 30% of any tests done.) which I know I would get reimbursed for but if I don't have it. I don't have it.


My bad taste is from a workers comp case in the 80s. A lawyer came hours after surgery and had me sign something I didn't even understand. Pain meds/anesthesia after back surgery. Even tho I moved back home (2000 miles) after,  and he did nothing nothing,  his name stayed on the case and he got 10%. A second lawyer was a schmuck so in the end,  the lawyer who did all the work had to split his fee 3 ways. So he didn't work so hard. Just know to be careful now.


Ill listen to this guy today and not sign right away. If he has doctors in town willing to see people,  and won't tell me who,  I'll call the orthopods I know are good and see if i find someone. (I'm a retired nurse)


Its not about a large settlement,  although I wouldn't turn it down,  it's more about keeping track of it all so I don't end up owing more at the end in liens than I get. And lawyers are better at that part and they will do the keeping track.


I like your idea of getting a letter regarding payment. I kind of also believe if someone is unwilling to see you,  they are probably the wrong person anyway.


Thanks for your response. The lawyer said as long as I was seeing a chiro from day one,  I have proven continuous treatment and well docent melted continuity of care and pain.  I'm a chronic pain person and tend to not make a big deal of it - but with the now headaches and life-interfering pain,  I'll see someone.


Sometimes,  since I'm allergic to most pain meds,  it doesn't matter much if I am diagnosed but I know in this case,  it would. And of course,  I will need to cancel my shoulder surgery if my neck shows a disk as wearing a sling wood be a nightmare.


It just ends up overwhelming when everything becomes difficult and I can't get straight answers from my own people.  I dislike that we are forced,  in a way,  to hire an attorney,  then get seen as less credible almost esp with a neck injury.  I am not a gold digger. 


I just want to keep everything ethical which is not always easy when lawyers are involved.


Why do you think this won't turn out well? Because I sound biased against lawyers? A good one is a good one. It's just buyer-beware in that industry. Just read the horror stories here even.


Again,  thanks. Be.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh,  the doc says she doesn't want to wait for payment. So a letter wouldn't matter.  Btw,  I just found out the law group was just sending a courier to sign papers,  so I cancelled.  It was just an intake person I spoke to yesterday and don't even know her credentials.  I won't sign today till I do more research. Thanks. (they say they come to you but apparently not. She didn't tell me yesterday it would only be a courier but lead me to believe I could get more information. Probably not a good sign.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...