I recently got into a car accident. It wasn’t my fault — the other driver rolled right through a stop sign — but my insurance company said they were taking care of everything, and I didn’t think it was a big deal at first. But here’s the problem: Lately, my neck has been hurting. Right after the accident, I didn’t think I’d hurt anything, but now I have issues — for instance, trouble getting up in the morning without my neck hurting as I sit up.
My friends have started suggesting that I should sue the other driver. But I’m not sure that I want to be a part of a lawsuit. I was raised up to think that there were too many lawsuits and too many lawyers, and I don’t like the idea of trying win someone else’s money.
What should I do? I’m in California, if that matters.
It’s unfortunate that you were involved in an accident, and it’s even more unfortunate that you’re suffering from an injury that appears to have been caused by that accident. You may have some options for making things right for yourself again, but what you do next is going to be important.
For starters, you need to put your health first. If you feel that you’re hurt, you need to go see a doctor to talk about the issue. Putting off care could give your condition the time that it needs to get worse. And if you haven’t been checked out at all since the accident, you might have other unseen injuries that could be extremely dangerous if left undetected. Push for immediate care.
Seeing a doctor in California will probably not be free (though, hopefully, you can get your insurance to cover most of it). But what you spend may be something that you could get compensated for later, explain the experts at California’s Daniel Kim Law Firm.
Your legal recourse here may indeed be a personal injury lawsuit. While nobody but a lawyer can give you legal advice related to your specific situation, you may benefit from having a better understanding of personal injury law in general — so read on.
The goal of personal injury law is to provide people who have been wronged with a recourse. People who have been injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence can face serious hardships. Medical care is expensive (and so, for that matter, is auto body repair). Injuries can keep professionals away from work, reducing their earning power and, in some cases, costing them jobs and even entire careers. On top of all of this, the pain and mental trauma comes with being the victim of an accident.
All of this is unfortunate and unfair in virtually all circumstances, but it’s particularly galling that people are made to suffer like this by other people. When negligence causes an accident, the negligent person should pay — not the victim. That’s what personal injury law is all about.
So why does personal injury law get a bad rap? One reason is that a lot of myths are out there. Frivolous lawsuits are relatively rare, but can sometimes be amusing enough to generate outsized headlines and just-for-fun listicles. And some lawsuits widely characterized as frivolous or unfair were actually different in reality from what they are understood to be in popular culture. For example, the infamous McDonald’s “hot coffee” lawsuit really did feature coffee served at recklessly high temperatures. McDonald’s coffee could burn through skin and flesh — and, in this case, did.
The reality of personal injury law is that it exists to help people. It’s not necessarily easy to win a personal injury case; you have to actually have a good claim. It seems possible that you do, so your next steps should be holding onto any documentation that you have (including police reports from the accident and bills from your doctor’s visits) and bringing it to an initial consultation with an attorney near you in California who specializes in personal injury law. Good luck!