My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: California

Hello. I have a question about compensation for pain and suffering after a moderate traffic incident, and the pros and cons of negotiating with the insurance company alone VS finding a P.I. attorney.

Backstory: ten days ago, I was rear-ended while stopped at a stop light. I was in an older mid-size pickup truck. The driver was in a modern sedan. Estimated speed of impact is between 10-15 MPG. The driver admitted fault and claimed she thought the light had turned green and hit the accelerator (I suspect she was texting).

The sedan hit my truck dead center on its trailer hitch, which is obviously bolted directly to the frame. As you likely know, pickup trucks have no rear crush zones, i.e., the energy of the impact was transferred directly through to the frame, to the cab and into my seat. My head went back, and I felt a twinge. I also felt something happen to my right hip. Police were not called. No airbags deployed.

After the incident, I went home and spent the rest of the day with an ice pack on my neck. I also spent 1.5 hours on the phone with both insurance companies.

The next day I had an evaluation by my chiropractor. He acknowledged that there was injury to my neck and hip. He ordered X-rays and ultrasound (no damage to vertebrae — only soft tissue). I have subsequently had a series of migraine-like headaches that he says are consistent with the neck injury. I am now seeing him every other day for the foreseeable future.

This has been a MASSIVE pain in the rear — figuratively and literally! Ten days later I am still feeling a lot of discomfort in my neck and hip joint, e.g., while sleeping, sitting or driving. I have also been terribly inconvenienced, having to spend a LOT of time driving and communicating to manage: the repair estimate, the insurance claim process, the repair process, the rental car process, chiropractor visits, visits to the clinic for X-rays and ultrasound. Basically, so far, I have lost a week+ of time — obviously there is more to come. FYI, I do not have a 9-5 job, but I have many other important responsibilities that have been neglected.

I want to be compensated for all the pain, anxiety and inconvenience. I have told the other driver’s insurance company this. They acknowledge there will be discussions at the end. No doubt they will low ball me. Thing is, I don’t know what this kind of thing is worth for a counteroffer. So, I am wondering:

  • Is this too trivial to be handled by a P.I. firm?
  • If not, is it good to contact them now, or do I wait?
  • Do they normally work on a contingency basis or retainer?
  • Is there an alternative to a P.I. firm for such issues?

Any advice or opinion in this matter would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you.