Q: How do I swear out a complaint on a person who hit me with her car? In August we were hit as pedestrians by a woman driving a car. We want to press charges on her, the police originally told me he was doing it. Now I find out she was only given traffic violations. The fact is she left the scene and should be charged, how do I go about that?
A: There is a difference in what the State does- the criminal case- and any claims you have for injuries or damages- the civil case. You have no control on the criminal case but can sue for damages for him hitting you.
The value of every civil claim is chiefly based on what injuries/losses you have and how we prove them. Value of injury claims is based on medical bills, nature of permanent injury, and/or surgery, whereas property damage is based on replacement or market value of the item. These days the amount you can recover is also governed by the amount of insurance someone has and the amount of insurance you have because that a judgment over insurance proceeds rarely nets you anything they cannot bankrupt out of.
Essentially, insurance carriers try to negotiate every dollar they can, because every $100 means millions in the end to the Board of Directors. My recommendation is let an attorney handle this. I spent 8 years working for insurance companies and over a year working for the largest personal injury firm in the country before setting out to give clients personal service and help them fight these fights.
Even in soft tissue injuries, those tissues stretch and scar, or cause corresponding pressure on nerves in the spinal cord, leaving behind permanent problems for some. I have had clients need surgeries years later because of a bulging disk and have their entire world collapse for what seemed inconsequential at the time. Insurance companies want you to settle as soon as possible and treat as little as possible. Attorneys matter. They change their gameplan when a lawyer is involved.
For that reason – and the misinformation by TV lawyers and referral services- is why people should consult lawyers who take the time like on sites like this. Because of the economy, more lawyers are jumping into personal injury and should stick to what they know. Personal injury law REQUIRES knowledge about medical science and biomechanics (the forces on a body in a wreck) far greater and more specific than you’d think. The other side has doctors and millions on their side to say nothing is wrong or fight the claim. If you have any further questions, feel free to email me- firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out our website- knowthelawyer.com. We’d love to help you. Our number is 800-6-know-law. We are here to help.