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I Was Hurt in a Car Crash on State Route 747. What Do I Do Next?

Princeton-Glendale Road (aka State Route 747) is an almost arrow-straight highway that connects Glendale and Monroe. Straight roads encourage fatigue and speeding. Therefore, they are much more dangerous than curved roads. In a few cases, unsafe freeway design, or improper maintenance, substantially causes car wrecks. But in most cases, design/maintenance issues are a contributing cause. Driver error causes over 95% of the vehicle collisions on State Road 747.

Vehicle collisions usually cause severe injuries that in many cases, are permanent. A broken leg bone is a good example. Since car crashes usually shatter bones, doctors normally use metal pins, rods, and other parts to surgically reconstruct them. The longer recovery time means more muscle loss and longer physical therapy. The most dedicated physical therapist usually cannot completely restore these broken bones. In fact, these victims usually cannot walk unassisted ever again.

A Butler County personal injury lawyer can obtain compensation for medical bills and other economic losses. Compensation for pain and suffering and other noneconomic losses is available as well. However, insurance companies are very stingy and these cases are very complex. Insurance company lawyers often use legal loopholes to deny liability (legal responsibility) or reduce damages (amount of compensation). Furthermore, a third party, such as an employer, is often financially responsible for these damages.

Watch What You Say

Immediately after a car crash on State Route 747, many victims do, or do not do, some things that compromise their legal claims later.

Many people apologize to express their sympathy. When a family member dies, friends usually say “I’m sorry,” even though they had nothing to do with the person’s demise.

In a court of law, apologies have different meanings. They could be liability admissions. So, do not apologize to the other driver. Or, better yet, don’t say anything at all.

This point does not come up very often in straight-highway collisions. Generally, these victims are so seriously injured they are in no condition to speak to anyone. But State Highway 747 also has some signaled intersections.

Low-speed wreck victims often do not know how badly they are hurt. The sad story of Allman Brothers bass player Berry Oakley is a good example.

In 1972, Oakley was in a low-speed motorcycle wreck in Georgia. He refused medical treatment at the scene and got a ride home with a friend. A day later, an undiagnosed and untreated head injury killed him.

Ironically, Oakley’s fatal accident happened about a block away from the spot where bandmate Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle crash in 1971. Allman’s wreck happened almost a year to the day before Oakley’s crash.

Additionally, crash victims should limit their contact with insurance company adjusters. Frequently, adjusters appear in hospital rooms or even at the crash scene and offer quick settlements.

Companies train insurance adjusters to act compassionate and affable during these times. Companies also train their adjusters to extract damaging admissions from victims during these times. Many victims are still dealing with head injuries and are not thinking clearly, making the job of an adjuster even easier.

A Wilmington personal injury lawyer can overcome these problems and obtain maximum compensation. But it is always much harder to win the game if the other team builds a solid lead.

See a Doctor

So, the takeaway is clear. A Butler County personal injury lawyer can properly evaluate your case, as outlined below. Similarly, only a doctor can determine how badly a victim is or is not hurt.

Legally, preliminary fault determinations are different from final liability determinations. Medically, a general practice or Emergency Room doctor’s diagnosis is only preliminary. However, these physicians can stabilize victims and prevent their injuries from getting worse. This preliminary treatment is especially important in remote area wrecks. Early treatment often means a more successful medical outcome.

See a Lawyer

Investigators, usually insurance investigators, assess fault based solely on the immediately available evidence. Furthermore, these investigators are usually biased toward the policyholder.

Attorneys fully evaluate State Route 747 wrecks. This full evaluation includes all available evidence as well as applicable legal doctrines.

Electronic evidence often changes fault determinations. A car or truck’s Event Data Recorder is a good example. This onboard computer measures and records steering angle, vehicle speed, and other operational data.

Electronic evidence often contradicts the narrative section of the police report. That is especially true if the victim died. If that happened, before emergency responders prepared reports, they only heard the drivers’ side of the story.

Legal doctrines include comparative fault. This legal rule shifts responsibility from one driver to the other.

Assume Lisa had been drinking. She crashed into Brenda, who was driving recklessly. The impact killed Brenda and there were no other witnesses. Insurance company investigators would almost immediately conclude that Lisa was at fault for the crash. But a Wilmington personal injury lawyer could use Brenda’s EDR to prove she was partially at fault.

In these cases, jurors must divide fault on a percentage basis. This division usually results in a proportional division of damages. So, even if an investigator says you were at fault, you may still be entitled to compensation.

Get a Second Opinion

We mentioned head injuries in low-speed wrecks above. These collisions often cause whiplash, a specific kind of head-neck injury. This soft tissue injury normally does not show up on X-ray tests and other common diagnostic tests. Experienced car crash physicians can easily spot the difference between whiplash and accident soreness or accident shock.

Usually, head injuries require aggressive treatment. These injuries are degenerative, especially if doctors do not immediately diagnose them. Car crash physicians know what techniques work and what techniques do not work.

Aggressive medical treatment is expensive, and most group health insurance plans exclude injury-related costs. Attorneys connect victims with doctors who not only focus on injury-related conditions. Normally, these doctors charge nothing upfront for their professional services.

As a bonus, a Wilmington personal injury lawyer often convinces doctors to reduce their fees. As a result, the victim could keep more settlement money, under Ohio’s complex collateral source rule.

Assume Phil accrued $100,000 in medical bills. If Phil’s lawyer reduces this bill to $80,000, Phil might be entitled to the remaining $20,000. Victims should not be financially punished because they have good lawyers.

Most lawyers do not have the skills to successfully handle personal injury cases.

  • Experience: The old saying is usually true. In most cases, experience is the best teacher. Experienced lawyers know what works, and perhaps more importantly, what does not work. Experienced lawyers are also fully familiar with the written and unwritten rules of evidence and procedure.
  • Dedication: This quality is almost as important as experience. Experienced yet undedicated lawyers often look for a quick settlement or an easy way put, so they can move on to something else. Dedicated lawyers do not quit until they obtain maximum compensation.
  • Accessibility: Ohio is one of the largest states in the country. Traveling across town just to see the lawyer becomes very tiresome very quickly. Lawyers should be professionally accessible, as well.

Look for a lawyer thoroughly, but also look quickly. As mentioned, a good lawyer is critical to successful medical treatment. Furthermore, victims have a limited amount of time to act.

Expect Results

Some clients have pie-in-the-sky expectations, mostly because they, or someone in their social circle, went to court over a personal injury in the 1990s or early 2000s. Back then, the plaintiffs’ winning percentage was about 70%. Therefore, victims usually got what they wanted, and they got it quickly.

Today, this winning percentage has dropped to about 30%. The tables have completely turned. So, while there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, a pot of silver is available, if a Wilmington personal injury lawyer, as well as the lawyer’s client, follows these steps.

In the 1990s, many State Route 747 crashes settled almost immediately. Today, insurance companies usually make low-ball, take-it-or-leave-it offers, at least initially.

Many clients accept these offers, especially if a health insurance company pays the bulk of the medical bills. These individuals must understand that, in all likelihood, they are settling for less. Additionally, if the group health insurance plan excludes injury-related costs, which it probably does, the company might demand reimbursement for those payments.

Insurance companies cannot make low-ball, take-it-or-leave-it offers during mediation. A third-party mediator ensures that both sides negotiate in good faith. The insurance company cannot go through the motions. Instead, it must be all-in on the idea of an out-of-court settlement. Additionally, its lawyers must compromise, if that is what it takes to settle the case.

A legal action is like a race. Only runners who finish are eligible for the prize. Only victims who stay the course until the end are eligible for maximum compensation.

Count on a Thorough Butler County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Butler County, contact Kruger & Hodges, Attorneys at Law by going online or calling 513-894-3333.

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