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Should I get a lawyer?

Asked by user in Maryland.

I was turning right from MD route 414 to route 458 on the hairpin turn at the intersection between Silver Hill Rd and Saint Barnabas Rd, directly adjacent to the BP gas station at 3600 Saint Barnabas Rd, Suitland, MD. During the turn I noticed the yield sign, I instinctively turned to look through the driver-side window, from which there was oncoming traffic (light just turned green), at which point I came to a complete stop just ahead of the yield sign before merging. I was rear-ended a moment later. I immediately pulled into the gas station just ahead. I gave the man my phone number, which he called with his phone to give me his. I texted him my GEICO policy number, and he texted me what he claimed to be his Allstate policy number. I also took a picture of his rear plate. He didn’t want to wait for the police, but an officer from PG county police took my statement and gave me a card with a written case number. After driving home, I called Allstate, only to be told that they can’t locate a policy holder with that limited information (phone number, incomplete/inaccurate policy number, license plate). I then called GEICO and filed a claim with them so they could search the tag and file a claim on my behalf. I told GEICO I was having some back strain, and I was told I would be contacted by a GEICO medical adjustor tomorrow (3/29/2021). I don’t have any healthcare and I’ve never been through a process like this before, so I’d appreciate some professional advice on if or when exactly I should involve a lawyer.

Answered by Enjuris Editors:

I’m so sorry to hear that this happened to you.

It sounds like you did all the right things by sharing your information with the other driver, obtaining what information you could from him, and calling for a police report. It would seem as though the license plate number would be enough for an insurance company to locate the policyholder, even if the policy number is incorrect. If they can’t, it’s possible that Allstate isn’t actually his insurance company. It sounds as though you’re on the right track with filing a claim with GEICO and allowing them to track him down with the information you provided.

You mentioned some back pain. It’s important that you get a medical examination right away. Sometimes, more serious symptoms don’t appear immediately — it could take days or weeks for some conditions to become apparent after an accident. You need to get documentation from a medical professional of your condition. If the back pain leads to anything that requires treatment (medication, surgery, etc.), or if it requires you to take time off from work or affects your life in other ways, you’ll want to be compensated for that. An accurate medical record is crucial to receiving the compensation you deserve.

You asked when is the time to involve a lawyer… it sounds like the time is now. There are a few reasons for this: The first is that you’re having some trouble tracking down an insurance policy for the other driver and he wasn’t entirely cooperative. GEICO might be able to resolve this, but maybe not. It’s always good to have a lawyer in your corner when one party is uncooperative.

The second reason is that you’re beginning to experience some physical injury as a result of the accident. You might not know yet the extent of the injury or treatment, but medical bills can accumulate fast. Also, you want your lawyer to review any settlement offered by the insurance company in order to make sure that the amount will cover the full extent of your injury and treatment. If you will require future medical treatment resulting from the accident, you can’t go back to the insurance company and request more after you’ve agreed to a settlement. Your lawyer can advise on whether an offered settlement will be enough.

Please feel free to use the Enjuris law firm directory to find a Maryland personal injury lawyer who can help. Best of luck and I hope you feel better!

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