Thanks to safety innovations like advanced airbags, motor vehicles are much safer today than they were in the 1990s. Today’s motor vehicles are also much bigger and faster. Additionally, driver impairment, like driver distraction, is much worse today. Therefore, vehicle collisions still kill or seriously injure millions of people every year.
A sudden and unexpected car crash triggers an avalanche of problems. Unpaid bills pile up while victims sit in hospital rooms, rehabilitation centers, or at home. The financial pressure increases their physical pain. So, the recovery process lengthens, more bills pile up, and the situation gets worse.
Some lawyers throw victims a lifeline in these situations. But a determined London, OH car accident lawyer from Kruger & Hodges can turn things around for victims and their families. We roll up our sleeves and approach the legal end of your case. Our hard work on the front end pays off later when we obtain maximum compensation for your serious injuries.
Car Crash Injuries
We mentioned the speed and size of today’s motor vehicles above. The extreme force in a high-speed vehicle collision causes injuries such as:
Head Injuries: The violent motion of a car wreck sends the brain slamming against the inside of the skull, causing bleeding and swelling. Doctors can prevent brain injuries from getting worse, but they cannot reverse the damage. Thus, physical therapists must train uninjured parts of the brain to take over lost functions.
Broken Bones: This force also splinters bones, especially arm and leg bones. Limbs often flail wildly during wrecks. Serious broken bones usually require multiple corrective surgical procedures. As a result, these victims usually experience permanent loss of function, like lost range of motion in a shoulder, elbow, knee, or ankle.
PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is also a brain injury. Stress, as opposed to trauma, causes PTSD. Extreme stress, like the stress of a car wreck, changes the brain’s chemical composition. The resulting symptoms make it impossible to function. For example, PTSD nightmares keep victims awake, so they are drowsy and irritable the next day.
Low-speed wrecks also cause serious injuries, such as whiplash. This head-neck injury, which is almost impossible to see on diagnostic tests, could cause paralysis. Because of this lack of evidence and also because whiplash symptoms mimic accident shock symptoms, many whiplash victims do not get the treatment they need, and their conditions deteriorate.
Car Crash Medical Bills & How a London, OH Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
The economic losses in a serious injury case usually exceed $150,000. Medical bills, in the three categories below, make up most of that cost.
Medical bills begin piling up before victims reach hospitals. Batavia is a small town surrounded by long stretches of mostly empty highways. So, if a serious car wreck happens in this area, the victim usually needs treatment in Cincinnati or another large city.
A helicopter medevac could literally be the difference between life and death in these situations. The difference shows up in the cost. A brief helicopter flight could cost more than $40,000.
Frequently, insurance adjusters argue that surface ambulance transportation would have been sufficient in these cases. Therefore, they refuse to pay for the flight. Adjusters also make the same argument about surface ambulance transportation. They state that the victim could have taken a much cheaper Uber to the hospital.
These things may or may not be true. But the discussion is beside the point. Seriously injured victims are usually unconscious and in no condition to second guess an emergency responder’s choice of transportation. Even if they do have a choice, it’s better to defer to the professionals.
At Kruger & Hodges, we work to ensure that victims receive compensation for their actual expenses and not the expenses an adjuster is willing to pay for.
When victims arrive at hospitals, the serious injuries outlined above demand immediate and strong intervention. There is usually no time to attempt a less invasive procedure that may or may not be effective.
There is also no time to select network or out-of-network facilities. The closest one is always the right one.
The average hospital stay costs about $3,000 a day. Emergency care might cost ten times that much. At these amounts, the medical bills pile up quickly. Attorneys negotiate with doctors and convince them to defer billing until the case is resolved.
Furthermore, a London, OH car accident lawyer can often lower medical costs. For example, a doctor might agree to lower Sarah’s $100,000 medical bill to $80,000. This reduction could enable Sarah to keep more settlement money under Ohio’s complex collateral source rule.
Follow Up Care
Medical expenses do not end after hospitals discharge patients. In fact, in many cases, the medical bills are only just beginning. Physical therapy usually lasts longer than hospital care. Other ancillary costs in this stage include medical devices and prescription drugs.
Brain injury physical therapy is especially long and grueling. As mentioned, physical therapists must train uninjured parts of the brain to assume lost function.
Progress occurs in fits and starts. Head injury victims often plateau for months and then suddenly experience breakthroughs. When progress plateaus, insurance companies often try to pull the financial plug. A London, OH, car accident lawyer fights to ensure that the money keeps flowing.
Many people do not realize how expensive prescription drugs and medical devices can be. Usually, a health insurance company pays most or all of the cost. So, an attorney arranges for victims to get the medical supplies they need at no upfront cost.
Medical and other bills must be paid eventually. Typically, the tortfeasor, or rather the tortfeasor’s insurance company, is financially responsible for these expenses if the tortfeasor was negligent.
Usually, negligence is a lack of ordinary care. A higher duty of care applies in some cases, usually if the tortfeasor was a commercial driver. Other times, a safety law, like the DUI law, independently establishes the standard of care.
If a breach of duty caused injury, and a London, OH, car accident lawyer proves these points by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not), the victim is entitled to compensation, as outlined below.
Several insurance company defenses could apply, such as contributory negligence. Disasters like car crashes often have more than one cause. For example, a tortfeasor might travel too fast on a wet road and lose control of the vehicle. Or, a speeding vehicle might hit a pedestrian who crossed the street without looking both ways.
In such situations, the jury must divide fault on a percentage basis, such as 50-50 or 80-20. Ohio is a modified comparative fault state with a 51% bar. Victims are entitled to a proportionate share of compensation if they were less than 49% responsible for an injury.
Frequently, a London, OH, car accident lawyer uses focus groups to test evidence. Mock juries, like real juries, listen to the evidence and divide fault. Armed with such findings, an attorney is able to negotiate a better resolution during settlement talks.
Compensation Your London, OH Car Accident Lawyer Can Recover
In Ohio, the compensation in a car crash case usually includes money for economic losses and noneconomic losses.
The aforementioned medical bills are usually the largest component of economic losses. Others include property damage and lost wages. Property damage might be difficult to assess. An item like the family car has an emotional value which, in many cases, exceeds its financial value. Victims are entitled to compensation for both losses. Compensation for lost wages could be intricate as well. If Sarah is self-employed and some clients leave because she is unable to work for a few months, she is entitled to compensation for future lost income as well.
To determine a value for pain and suffering and other noneconomic losses, most attorneys multiply the economic losses by two, three, or four, depending on the facts of the case and a few other considerations.
This process helps an attorney determine a claim’s settlement value, which like a new car’s sticker price, is the starting point for financial negotiations.
Informal settlement negotiations usually begin before an attorney files legal paperwork. Sometimes, the evidence is very one-sided, and the insurance company quickly, albeit reluctantly, cuts a check.
Usually, however, obtaining fair compensation is a long process that ends with mediation. A third-party mediator, who is usually an unaffiliated London, OH, car accident lawyer, works with both sides and tries to bring them together on a settlement figure. Both sides have a duty to negotiate in good faith during mediation. Therefore, this process is usually successful.
Reach Out to a Hard-Hitting Madison County Lawyer
Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced London, OH car accident lawyer contact Kruger & Hodges, Attorneys at Law by going online or calling 513-894-3333.