The law of averages shows that all Americans will be in a car crash at some point in their adult life. Car crash injuries are among the least understood by the public in general partly because of the stigma of legal ramifications surrounding most accidents. When two or more vehicles are involved in a car accident, there is always the question of fault and liability, and then some type of financial settlement to correct property loss and to cover physical pain and suffering. The pain and suffering is the part that is most highly scrutinized.
As part of my practice, I have served as an expert witness, both hired by the plaintiffs and defendants. My job is to examine records and testimony of those involved, review the history of the car crash including police reports and photographs of the vehicles, and examine those who are injured.
Questions of the extent of injury, necessity of care, and permanent injury are of the most common questions courts want answered. Then the judge and/or jury will rule on how the car crash will affect the injured party’s future and the amount of money it will take to compensate that individual for future needs.
Because of the legal battle that sometimes follows a car crash, there are sometimes monies awarded that seem very high for the amount of injury, and sometimes very low. I’ve seen cases where I have thought so, but all in all, whenever there is permanent injury, my opinion is that there is never enough money to compensate for the ongoing pain that some people are left with. Each one of them would tell you that they would give back the money if they could just feel good again.
So my advice: After you have been injured in a car crash, seek good injury care and be sure you have healed to the fullest extent possible before settling. If you have a permanent injury, make sure you have a second and third (non-surgical) opinion before pursuing surgery, especially a surgery that involves removing body parts or fusing joints (more on this in next blog).