Broken Arm, PED-MVA, irritated by well-meaning 'lawyer up' advice
December 14, 2017 7:32 AM   Subscribe

I was hit in as a pedestrian in a crosswalk recently by an (apparently!) inattentive driver. Online or in person, about 30% of the well-intended remarks by people whi hear this news either congratulate me on an aticipated settlement or advise me to get a lawyer. My medical insurance is excellent, and I do not expect to pay a penny. I hate lawyers and while I understand they are needed in certain situations, can't see how this is one. I'm not missing work or permanently disabled, and feel more anger at this set of well-intended advice interactions than the driver. What the hell? Do rhey live in a different culture than me? How can I get them to shut the fuck up? Additionally, are they right? Like, a million bucks is worth two days hanging out with lawyers. Five grand ain't.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (38 answers total)
Maybe they live in a culture or society where the only way to hold drivers accountable for negligence - which some people consider important given the fact that 35,000 people in the USA are killed by car drivers every year, and "failure to yield," "driver inattention," and "excess speed" are the most commonly-identified causes of collisions that result in injury and death - is via lawsuits or insurance settlements, since law enforcement just considers everything a regrettable and unavoidable accident unless a driver has been drinking.

If you don't want to pursue that, just say "no thanks" or something to them.

But they might be right. I'd assume that the driver's insurance company could/should reimburse your insurer.

personally, if I were hit (again) by an inattentive driver I'd definitely want to be compensated for my injury, because fuck people who think they can drive their damn cars into areas where people should be able to walk safely, injury people, and not have any damn repercussions.
posted by entropone at 7:44 AM on December 14, 2017 [30 favorites]

I had the same thing happen to me some years ago, settled with the driver for what seemed like a reasonable amount, and let the matter go. I also had to tell a lot of people that it was a small matter and that taking it to court wasn't worth the trouble. Meh, people get excited about all sorts of things that shouldn't excite them. The only thing I would caution you about is the possibility of future medical problems. You might want to at least go to a doctor, tell them what happened, and get thoroughly checked out.
posted by ubiquity at 7:46 AM on December 14, 2017 [5 favorites]

I can’t speak to the US legal environment but I can speak to injury and until you are 6 months down the road I would be careful about assuming it is going to mend 100%. Of course it’s likely to but there are no guarantees, esp if you were to have a second injury on top of this one.

I broke my wrist years ago in a bike path-off-leash dog situation and had no interest in any lawsuit but at one point I was having enough trouble that I was worried.
posted by warriorqueen at 7:47 AM on December 14, 2017 [13 favorites]

Most people probably have to pay co-pays and deductibles on their health insurance and exist in circumstances where they would out a, maybe not inconsiderable, amount of money in these circumstances.

Or where they recognize that strange and often annoying things can happen when multiple forms of insurance are involved. Your insurance company may not end up being happy about paying for an accident caused by a third party and your failure to do things may come back to bite you. You may not expect to pay a penny but unless you’re an insurance expert there are probably eventualities you haven’t thought about.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 7:53 AM on December 14, 2017 [8 favorites]

Additionally, are they right?

I mean, I think so. That driver literally HIT a pedestrian with their CAR. Think about that for a second. I am a pretty mediocre driver, but have never once hit a human being while driving. In my opinion, that driver deserves to be punished to the greatest extent possible, including with a lawsuit, to hopefully impress upon them the importance of never fucking doing this again. You could be saving a life by pursuing this further.

...feel more anger at this set of well-intended advice interactions than the driver

I know un-asked-for advice can be annoying, but they are trying to help. The driver could literally have killed you. I think you need to reassess and reallocate your frustration here.

How can I get them to shut the fuck up?

I would say something like "Yeah, I'm thinking about it!" with a devilish grin when asked about lawsuits, and then change the subject. If they press, you can follow up with, "Sorry, I'm not supposed to talk about it while things are still up in the air."
posted by schroedingersgirl at 7:53 AM on December 14, 2017 [25 favorites]

"Lawyer up!" is the "it's raining cats and dogs out there, huh?" of personal injury small talk; for every person who thinks they're offering you specific, serious legal advice there's a dozen people who are just kinda reaching for the obvious conversational thing when they find out a thing happened to you that (a) caused you an injury and (b) wasn't your fault. It's annoying, but it's also just people being people and isn't something you're going to be able to like preemptively shut down any more than you can get folks to not comment on the weather. Just let yourself be annoyed for a moment, roll your eyes inwardly, and move on with the conversation.

Most people won't insist on pursuing it, and the odd person who does you can just say "hey, I appreciate the intent but I've got it handled."

The actual insurance side of it is its own thing; depending on the circumstances, your insurance company may decide itself to pursue compensation from the driver's insurance regardless of your interest, which wouldn't necessarily involve you other than adding some wrinkles/delays/confusion to your own claims process. So that's something to be aware of.
posted by cortex at 8:06 AM on December 14, 2017 [6 favorites]

IANAL. Regarding risk:reward re time spent with lawyers... something like this (but broken leg) happened to a family member and very little time in the presence of attorneys netted him a tidy sum in the low six figures. The facts weren't really in dispute (police report, hospital records) so there wasn't any deposition. The initial consultation was maybe 2 hours. Then the attorneys wrote the perpetrator's insurance company and received the initial "go away" offer. The family member was inclined to take it, but the lawyers said it was worth upping the ante a little by responding forcefully that the offer was insufficient. Talking through this decision took maybe another hour. This salvo produced the accepted offer and the attorneys took their cut. Total elapsed time was, i think, about three-four months starting after the end of his various medical treatments (including having pins inserted and removed). It was all very cut-and-dried.

Whether you think that this is outrageous and you don't want to contribute to our litigious society and higher insurance premiums is a different matter, but the actual process was easy.

Interestingly, this relative went on to attend law school and represent insurance companies as an attorney himself. Relative says that the insurance companies devote the most legal attention to discouraging fraud because they don't want criminals seeing them as easy marks; they've paid him many times the value of, say, a house that burned, to fight the claim if they think arson was in play. When it's obvious that fraud isn't a factor and the exposure level isn't astronomical, they pay out reasonably quickly, to save money on fees. That said, you'll do better if you're represented by someone who knows the pertinent dance steps.

For you, it's a life event that raises all sorts of philosophical and personal matters. For the insurance companies, it's just a cost of doing business.
posted by carmicha at 8:08 AM on December 14, 2017 [19 favorites]

One thing to check is if your health insurance will require you to file a claim against the driver (I am presuming the driver stopped and you or the police have their contact information) so they may be reimbursed for your medical care.

I advise this because when I was hit by a car (and was injured enough I was not able to work for a few weeks so I did get a lawyer to navigate the process of filing claim against the driver's auto insurance and then because I had more underinsured coverage that the driver had coverage, my own auto insurance) my healthcare company demanded to be reimbursed for my medical costs out of the settlement.
posted by CoffeeHikeNapWine at 8:31 AM on December 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

When I was hit by an inattentive motorist, lots of people said "you should sue!". My standard response was "life is too short." That said, I did have a lawyer to negotiate with the motorist's insurance company, and I was glad I did—I would have been out of pocket myself for medical bills if I had accepted the first (or second, or third…) offer, and my injury had potential consequences as much as five years down the road. I'm glad you're not facing anything like that.

You probably will not get a million-dollar settlement, with or without a lawyer. Probably not a tenth that. A lot of this has to do with jurisdiction and the expected award if the case did go to trial. But I would make absolutely certain that my insurance company had things handled so that I wouldn't be out of pocket for what's already known, and I would check with my doctor that there weren't any potential medical repercussions in the future for which I should seek compensation now (because the insurance company will want to close the books on this now, not then).
posted by adamrice at 8:31 AM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

Lawyers are needed to teach this driver a lesson so they don't drive inattentively and kill someone the next time.

Similarly, if this were, say a fall caused by a pothole or debris left on the sidewalk by a construction company, the lawsuit would force the offenders to clean up their act so other people don't get injured.

Lastly, I believe that you deserve to be compensated for your pain and suffering, and that the drivers' insurance policy could covers it. In fact, your own medical insurance could be sending you a "subrogation" letter inquiring whether this injury was due to an accident so they can collect from insurance. Getting your injury covered by insurance isn't something distasteful or yucky - it's literally why insurance exists. [edited to add: this is not legal advice, consult your attorney. HA!]
posted by yarly at 8:33 AM on December 14, 2017 [5 favorites]

In this day and age being the victim of an accident means you should get some cash. They're happy for you because you should have some cash coming your way. Most people aren't in a position to turn that down. You may be getting mad because you keep having the same conversation over and over even though you don't want the cash (?) but that isn't their fault. They're holding up their end of the conversational bargain. This is one of those pre-programmed conversations that only have outcome. If you don't want to have this conversation anymore then stop starting it.
posted by bleep at 8:52 AM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

Once upon a time, I didn't sue someone who caused an injury for similar reasons as yours, and I ended up regretting it. The party at fault was considerably more negligent than I'd initially believed, and the injury had longer lasting effects, and if I had it to do over again, I would absolutely sue both for compensatory and punitive reasons (that is, whether the damages would have been categorized that way or not).

That's what PI law is for. It's for times when someone's actions hurt you, it gives you a legal means to hold them accountable for what they've done. I'm not getting how that's so offensive, unless you've bought into this whole tort reform narrative where it's a big ridiculous jackpot when you get injured. Maybe some of the people who say this to you believe it, but in a lot of places, thanks to the litigation culture narrative that insurance lobbies have propagated, tort reform can limit even the amount of your actual expenses you can recover in court.

If you don't want to sue, don't sue, but if your sole motivation not to is that you're buying the narrative that lawyers are all unethical hucksters, that's maybe something you should examine. Or not.

But what really is your question? You want ideas for snarky things to say to people who suggest it? Do you just want to fulminate about lawyers? Just PI lawyers? Funny how they're always the guys who get the hate, when their job is to represent individuals in lawsuits against insurance companies. Yeah, their advertising is often hokey and some of them, of course, can come across kind of sleazy, but they're on the side of the people.

In your shoes, I'd go talk to one before making up my mind.
posted by ernielundquist at 8:53 AM on December 14, 2017 [16 favorites]

I get the same thing all the time, constantly. And I am a lawyer. The problem is caused largely by one thing: Conservatives have been quite successful at convincing most people that the system is basically a lottery where people who suffer minor injuries walk into a courtroom wearing a fake neck brace and get huge payouts. Um, no. That’s just wrong I’m so many levels I don’t know where to begin.

Once, a 15-year-old (approximately) on a skateboard hit me and knocked me off my bike and I broke my hand; I was in a full cast for six weeks. I cannot tell you how many “Ka-ching!” comments I heard. Sure, I was going to sue a 15-year-old kid for my broken hand. Uh HUH. (I was also one struck lightly by an inattentive driver, and suffered no injury. Got the same “ka-ching” comments. Again, sure, I’m going to sue someone when I wasn’t even slightly injured.)

I usually just handle it by laughing and saying if I were my own client, I would advise me that it was a complete waste of time to sue anyone and that puts an end to it. I don’t so much blame people; it’s not that they’re stupid or malicious, but that people really do not understand the tort system.
posted by holborne at 8:56 AM on December 14, 2017 [21 favorites]

Essentially what holborne said: people do not understand that these lawsuits cost time and energy and are not an automatic payout, so they have problems understanding why you’re turning down “free money”, not getting the opportunity cost.

If you want to quiet them down, a simple “I don’t believe in that” should be sufficient for each, but it’s not going to stop new people.
posted by corb at 9:26 AM on December 14, 2017

A lot of people are just greedy and see this as a way to get free money. They wouldn't think twice about suing for compensation.

I got hit by a car when I was four, and had a broken leg and broken arm. It was in the stone age, so I was in the hospital in traction for six weeks. The guy who hit me had no license, it had been revoked because he had a stroke. His family owned a car dealership.

My parents settled for medical expenses, and it makes me love them more. I had another serious accident years later, not my fault, I was a passenger,. The insurance company sent an agent to my house to make sure I wasn't going to sue them. I settled for medical expenses then too, but I remember this guy saying to me, "Are you sure you aren't going to want to run for Miss America at some point?" I mean, what a line! I still laugh about it.
posted by chocolatetiara at 9:34 AM on December 14, 2017

Do you know any lawyers? Personal injury lawyers will go for a maximum settlement and take 1/3 of it, maybe more, and that system is pretty ick. You could ask a lawyer to help you submit a claim for pain and suffering and likely get a modest settlement for the actual pain, suffering and inconvenience you have experienced.
posted by theora55 at 9:35 AM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

I’m also going to add that I’m pretty amused at a lot of the responses here that are completely ignoring your totally well-taken points and telling you that you’re wrong not to sue. Look out, here comes the recursion bus!

In fact, it is an absolutely intelligent and rational decision to decide precisely what you have: spending hours upon hours in a lawyer’s office and on phone calls with them, at medical exams, and at depositions isn’t worth what you’d recover. This goes double if, say, you’re a single parent, you run your own business, you’re a caregiver to a sick spouse, or a whole host of other circumstances, etc etc etc.
posted by holborne at 9:37 AM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Additionally, are they right? Like, a million bucks is worth two days hanging out with lawyers. Five grand ain't.

Literally ten minutes on the phone with an actual lawyer is going to tell you what kind of money you could expect. Given you haven't even mentioned what state you are in, nobody here can do that.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 9:54 AM on December 14, 2017 [9 favorites]

Please take seriously the suggestion that you may have further medical complaints in the future from this. Please see a doctor and get checked out before you write off the idea entirely.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:00 AM on December 14, 2017 [5 favorites]

We went through this a few years ago after a car accident. The potential award is based on your medical expenses in part, but at least in my state, the fact that I had good insurance didn't matter. They took the total medical expenses, multiplied it by about 3 in our case for pain and suffering, and that was our settlement. After the lawyers 30%, we made about $10K for a single 60-minute meeting with the lawyer and a few emails back and forth before signing everything.
posted by COD at 10:01 AM on December 14, 2017

I'm not missing work or permanently disabled

surprise! you might not know if you are permanently disabled until much, much later. signed, a multiple car accident victim who never once sought medical attention and is now disabled, permanently, 20 years later.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:21 AM on December 14, 2017 [15 favorites]

Um...the headline of this question is that the person has a broken arm, I'm fairly certain they have "seen a doctor" about that problem!

The only thing I would keep in mind here is that your medical insurance will almost certainly not want to pay the claim and will try to have the driver's car insurance pay it. I was recently in a hit-and-run situation (so no info about/ability to sue the other driver), and still the claim is going through my car insurance first rather than through my medical insurance. I assume you do know who the driver is in your case, since you mention the possibility of suing them. So, just keep in mind it probably won't be as easy as "I'll just have my really great medical coverage pay for my bills" -- at a minimum you'll probably need to deal with insurance adjusters and stuff to get things covered.

That aside, I think the easiest way to deal with the unsolicited/unwanted comments about lawsuits is to make the conversation really really boring for the person on the other side. The more you try to get in a discussion/debate with them, I think the longer things will carry on with them trying to convince you. I have found it is typically easiest to just do a super deadpan "Huh, okay." or "I'll think about that." followed by an abrupt subject change to literally any other topic. Obviously it's not as satisfying as convincing the person they are wrong, but you're probably not going to do that anyway.
posted by rainbowbrite at 10:48 AM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

I've been through this, only in my case the driver caused a disabling injury that took years to recover from, and I will never be the same. I didn't sue. I can't speak to whether or not it would be worth it to you - there are other comments here that have covered that nicely, IMHO. But as to the comments about suing. . . well, this is what I went through, and while you may be feeling different things, this may help you pinpoint what you're feeling/thinking to help your response because I also felt way more irritated, angry even, at such comments. (It's long for that reason, so thanks for reading if you do.)

In my case, my bills were completely covered (on multiple fronts, even - my own full-coverage driving insurance would have covered it even if nothing else had, which was interesting to learn). Once it was pointed out to me that I wouldn't be suing the guy but his insurance company, basically - and trying to personally sue someone who didn't have any real assets or money was a lost cause, with the potential of ruining not just his life but his family's - made the "symbolism" aspect a non-point (to me), and I lost all interest even though I was under a great deal of pressure from others to do so. (And the guy was charged by the police, which to me was a better "judgement" than money was - in that particular instance.) I was angered, yeah, but it was a lot easier for me to think about my own driving mistakes, and the near misses which we all have, and have forgiveness and a little bit of sympathy than it was to dwell on my anger. As much as I like to think I'm not a great driver but at least I've never hit someone, I am aware that we all have our moments of inattentiveness, or even stupidity, driving, and most of the time get away with it, maybe learning a lesson or two along the way or a moment of shaky, adrenaline fueled gratitude something turned out okay - if we are even aware it happened. (It gives me the shivers to think about mistakes I've made that I haven't been aware of and gotten away with.) As careful as I am and as high standards I hold myself to as a driver - which are pretty high, considering I've been hit by a car - I'm not going to pretend I haven't had moments when I've been distracted or made a mistake, as hard as I try not to while driving a death machine. If the driver in my situation had a history of those mistakes (he didn't even have a traffic ticket) or had made intentional, egregious decisions (like deciding to text or drink with the current knowledge of how bad that is) it might have been different, but it was just a mistake at the wrong moment.

So, while I understand it's not like this for everyone, for me personally "forgiveness" in that instance was a better path for good mental health and recovery than fury, particularly self-righteous fury, and suing was the opposite of forgiveness. (Don't get me wrong, I did deserve to feel some anger, but it was just better to let it go.) Not saying I took the right path or there's only way to think it, but it was right for me - everybody makes different decisions about such things, and that was mine. You may have reached a similar place, for different reasons. You may be still figuring it out (which is why I took the time to put down what I was thinking and feeling).

So like you it drove me up the wall to hear all the responses about suing. I fucking hated it. I went through all kinds of reactions, some rational, some not so much. It felt like not only were people just not *listening* to me and what I was saying, but also trying to encourage living with those negative emotions like anger, as well as invest MORE time, because that's would have been required to go through the process. I had created my own peace with a potentially traumatizing situation, and it felt like people were messing with it, no matter how well intentioned they seemed. And in some cases they were also inquiring about something that was none of their business. (It's human nature to be curious, and with money even more so, so that was a little more tolerable, but sometimes I really wanted to tell people to butt out.) And I have to admit, sometimes it kind of hurt - that some people thought I was the kind of person who would be willing to do that. That I was the kind of person that money would be important to like that, when it was - aside from getting my medical bills paid for - the last thing on my mind. At the time, I just wanted to heal and get back to the things that were important, like working and hiking. And the whole "free/easy money" angle realllllly bothered me too - I was obviously going through some real pain, and money received wasn't "free" or easy in any way, and any money beyond that would be, to me, like. . . stealing. And so on. Anyway. I'm not going to say that's everyone's experience or reaction - no way! - and it's quite probable I would have different reactions now (I might try to see it from their perspective at least), but to sum up: when people asked me about suing, I felt a whole slew of negative emotions, and you may be going through something similar at a time when you're just looking forward to healing and moving on.

And I couldn't get away from it - it was obvious something had happened, or people already knew. Eventually I came to the realization that it was small talk, like cortex said, small talk that revealed more about the person saying it than anything else. It wasn't about me, really - it was about the person saying those things. It was just as revealing as those who said something like "I'll be praying for you!" or "god/guardian angel was really looking out for you that day!" which also drove me batshit. Or maybe it was that some people just like drama, and knowing someone suing someone like that inserted a spot of drama into their lives, etc. etc. Yet again. . . not about me. Or maybe, it was just the only response they could come up with to show they cared - like you said, some good intentions. Ultimately, it said more about the person saying it or what they reached for in the moment when maybe they couldn't think of anything to say. (And y'know, we've all been there too.)

Realizing it was small talk, and what reactions I was having and why, helped me let it go. I couldn't control other people's responses, but I could control my reaction to them. Eventually I learned to smile and say, "That's a personal matter" to people who I wasn't close to (like a stranger) and "I have different priorities right now," to certain people, and "It's a fluid situation at the moment and I'm not talking about it" to others. (Schroedingersgirl and cortex's responses are even better.) A lot of times, I would also close my response to the question of "What happened to you?!" with something along the lines of, "Oh, and please don't mention litigation, I've got it covered," or something similar just to head it off. Once I had a few stock responses, I ceased to really pay attention to those questions, and it didn't bother me as much anymore. But. The people who didn't go there - people who genuinely asked some good, heart-felt, well thought questions, or showed they genuinely cared or were listening to what I was saying, ah - that was always awesome to discover!

But also, as mentioned, give yourself some time before you decide what to do. The comments that it is worth just spending a few minutes talking with a lawyer is good advice, and I'm glad I did do that: you can file it away in case you change your mind or discover something unpleasant. Make sure you don't have any other problems besides the broken arm, and that the broken arm won't cause problems in the future.

I wish you luck! You seem like you're on the way to recovery. And feel free to me-mail me if you need to vent.
posted by barchan at 11:13 AM on December 14, 2017 [7 favorites]

I'm immensely glad that I got a lawyer after I was injured due to somebody else's negligence, even though I never had any intention of suing, because he knew how to navigate the insurance and paperwork and I didn't.

For example, the medical release the other party's insurance sent me would have allowed them access to any and all of my medical records, from any time in my life, whether related to the injury or not, possibly including psychological. My lawyer looked at it, said "Nope," and rewrote it to specify that I was allowing them access to information related to the injury and its effects, only.

Another example: my health insurance had placed a lien on any funds I might recover from the other party or their insurance. My lawyer got them to knock $1000 off it, just by asking. I didn't know about liens, much less that they might get waived just by asking about it.

As far as being forced to spend time with lawyers, mine and I never even met in person. We spoke on the phone a couple of times and did everything else by email. It made the post-injury experience, which was painful and depressing and had lasting effects, much smoother and easier than it would have otherwise. Don't underestimate the power of having somebody knowledgeable on your side, whose job is to argue for your best interests and to keep the other people from taking advantage of your lack of experience in these matters.
posted by Lexica at 11:28 AM on December 14, 2017 [8 favorites]

I empathize. I get tired of people asking me this but I also think it's a good idea to contact a lawyer, for poffin boffin's reasons. Feel free to memail if you'd like to hear more details or commiserate.
posted by ferret branca at 11:59 AM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

What the hell? Do they live in a different culture than me?

Did you see this great FPP about how personal injury is handled in New Zealand?

TL;DR New Zealanders gave up the right to sue for personal injury in exchange for a program that takes care of pretty much everything you might possibly need to sue for. It's a very different perspective on injury, fault, responsibility (in a very different environment), also delves a bit into 'could this ever work in the US?'.

My two cents, I wish we lived in a country where you could be gracious about not suing someone's pants off because you knew your bills were covered and that negligent drivers would be held accountable, but if this happened to me I would absolutely be consulting with a lawyer (not out of greed or vindictiveness, but in our legal system that's what you have to do to proactively protect your own interests). I would probably also tell the people who "congratulated" me to fuck off though.
posted by yeahlikethat at 12:01 PM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

I was hit in as a pedestrian in a crosswalk recently by an (apparently!) inattentive driver.

I was hit as a pedestrian by a drunk 10+ years ago and broke my jaw, so I know what you're going through and I sympathize, but I feel like you're mostly trying to avoid conflict with the guy who hit you. Hitting a person with a car with enough force to break their arm is an incredibly negligent act on the part of the driver and they should _absolutely_ be compensating you for it. You may not be missing work but your missing time out of your life and that's worth compensation.

My medical insurance is excellent, and I do not expect to pay a penny

Your expectations are not realistic. You will pay out of pocket and your medical insurance will not magically reverse the damage to your arm.

Like, a million bucks is worth two days hanging out with lawyers. Five grand ain't.

Being hit by car as a pedestrian is worth more than five grand and you may not even need a lawyer. If you have auto insurance, check to see if you are covered and what your policy limits are. I was covered under an uninsured motorist option since I was hit and run and settled with my own insurance company.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 12:26 PM on December 14, 2017 [6 favorites]

it probably won't be as easy as "I'll just have my really great medical coverage pay for my bills"

Good point - my health insurance denied all claims related to the accident until I sent them a police report showing the driver who hit me had no insurance to claim against. If he had had any insurance, everything would have had to go to them instead. If I had car insurance of my own, they would have been involved too. I did not sue the driver, but I did spend at least a full day in the emergency department/doctors offices getting xrays etc and then hours more dealing with paperwork.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:35 PM on December 14, 2017

"I've already had the 'sue the bastard' conversation with about 50 people and I just can't do it again. What I really need is someone to listen to me whine about my injuries and tell me I'm pretty/virile. And I wouldn't say no to medicinal bakery goods or alcohol."
posted by BoscosMom at 12:38 PM on December 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

...and what everyone upthread said. There's some really well thought out advice up there.
posted by BoscosMom at 12:43 PM on December 14, 2017

Whether you consult a lawyer about this or not, please at least make sure there's a police report and contact the driver's insurer. If the driver does this again, there should be a record somewhere that it wasn't an isolated incident, and they at least deserve to have their insurance premiums increased. (In a part of the world where the easiest way to kill someone without consequences is to hit them with a car, this may be the only incentive they have to drive safely.) Your health insurance may well refuse to pay until you can provide the police report, and may require that either your auto insurance (if you have it) or the driver's auto insurance reimburse them for expenses.

The reason people call lawyers in personal injury cases is that they're presented with medical expenses they can't pay, and the injury was someone else's fault. I've done well over a thousand personal injury intake interviews, and only a tiny handful were anything I'd call frivolous. Yours isn't remotely similar to those calls. If your health insurer balks at covering your care, try calling a personal injury lawyer. They're generally pretty good at wrangling insurers for you.

And BoscosMom has a very good line and I'd use that one in conversations about this. Might get you pastries and should get you past the annoying repetitive conversation.
posted by asperity at 12:48 PM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Barchan's comments about forgiveness as a path to healing represents a way that works for some people. Other people, however, find that pursuing and receiving financial compensation makes them feel like less of a victim. Only you can say which is best for you.
posted by carmicha at 12:59 PM on December 14, 2017

That's what PI law is for. It's for times when someone's actions hurt you, it gives you a legal means to hold them accountable for what they've done.

When I was doored as a cyclist (lit up, commuting, wary experienced rider) by someone parked in the middle lane of traffic, this is why I sued. I was angry (partly personal, partly on behalf of all cyclists) that I did not -exist- in the world for that person, and that their ignorance of my existence allowed them to injure me seemingly with abandon.

As for shutting down conversation, the age-old Mefi favorite "It's not possible for me to discuss that" works wonders.
posted by Dashy at 1:07 PM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

What has generally worked for me in dealing with unwanted medical advice is a calm but firm, "I've/We've got it all under control."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:41 PM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nthing that you should lay the groundwork for if the injury ends up not healing properly to the point that you do need coverage for diminished capacity down the line. This probably involves a consultation with an injury lawyer to make sure you're done it correctly.

Most people consider not having use of an arm for an extended period of time a pretty big deal so that's why they're offering the advice. A lot of people have trouble sleeping when there's pain from moving around and that affect everything from work performance to personal relationships.

But I'll also second the Underpants Monster's "under control" line if this is something you don't want to deal with. Or just lie and say your lawyer advised you not to talk about the legal aspects of the case.
posted by Candleman at 2:54 PM on December 14, 2017

Your health insurance will want to be repaid for any costs they incur as part of the accident. Talk to them now before they find out later and make things more difficult for you.
posted by TheAdamist at 4:51 PM on December 14, 2017 [5 favorites]

Yeah, nthing the insurance issue. Your insurance is almost definitely going to be asking how this happened and you will need to sign documentation in order for your treatment to be paid. They won't drop it, either, and you'll have to foot the bill if you don't do the paperwork. I've been in PT for various sports injuries and back problems, and my spouse broke his arm falling (totally his fault) and every time we've needed to sign documentation saying the injury wasn't someone else's responsibility. This is three different insurance companies, at least, over the last ten years, all good insurances. So you may want/need to talk to someone to navigate that.

I hope you heal quickly! Broken arms are PITA. (Totally unsolicited but related advice: when my spouse broke his arm, he asked about upping calcium or anything to help the bone heal, and the orthopedist told him the only thing that would help him heal faster was eating a lot of red meat. He ate meat almost every single day and had the cast off in 4 weeks instead of 6. Worth a shot if you aren't vegetarian!)
posted by john_snow at 6:31 AM on December 15, 2017

When I've had personal injury issues to deal with, I ended up being very glad I had a lawyer. Not because it meant that I got more revenge or more money or anything but because it meant that *I* didn't have to be the person dealing with all the paperwork and getting angry and feeling betrayed and having stress-related issues with my healing - I could just hand it over to the lawyer and they took care of the paperwork and the negotiating and meeting needed deadlines and figuring out what needed to be done. It was such a relief and a gift.

REGARDLESS of that, it is very rude and self-centered for people to treat this like a big payday hurrah. I can only agree with barchan: it's about the inside of their heads, not about you. Someone might be wanting you to have a lawyer because they want you to be protected and they care about you, but "ooh hoo money money!" Is a common and exceptionally shallow reaction.
posted by Lady Li at 5:41 PM on December 15, 2017

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