Doctors said Danni Lou West would probably be paralyzed following a horrific car crash. But after over a month in the hospital, she is showing signs of improvement.
Jamie West says her 4-year-old daughter was pinned to the dashboard until first responders eventually freed her. After weeks of no lying motionless in a hospital bed, Danni Lou began moving her extremities, displaying emotion, and attempting verbal communication. Her mother said her doctors were “astounded” at the child’s progress.
There is yet a long way to go. Danni Lou is still attached to a ventilator. But Jamie is extremely optimistic. “She’s gonna walk again,” she predicted.
Car Wreck Injuries
Each year, vehicle collisions kill or seriously injure millions of Americans. Some of these injuries, like lacerations and broken bones, are immediately apparent. Other injuries are harder to see.
Head injuries are a good example. Many victims do not experience signature head injury symptoms, such as unconsciousness and vomiting. Additionally, adrenaline often masks head injury pain. So, many victims tell doctors they “feel fine,” even though they are seriously injured.
Making matters even more complicated, X-rays and other traditional diagnosis tools are unable to detect many head injuries.
So, the head injury misdiagnosis rate is rather high. Unfortunately, by the time doctors properly identify their injuries, many of these victims have reached a more advanced stage. At this point, head injuries are much more difficult to treat.
The takeaway here is obvious. If you were hurt in a crash, always have a doctor examine you. Additionally, that doctor should be a physician who specializes in car crash injuries as opposed to a well-meaning yet inexperienced general practice doctor. There is no other way to tell how serious your injuries might, or might not, be.
Immediate Post-Crash Concerns
Many health insurance companies refuse to cover crash-related bills, for liability purposes. Fortunately, a Lexington personal injury attorney can connect victims with doctors, even if the victim has no insurance or money. Attorneys send letters of protection to medical providers. Since these letters guarantee payment when the case is resolved, the doctor usually defers billing until the end of the case.
There’s more. As mentioned, car crash victims should see car crash physicians. If your back hurts, you do not go see a dentist. Most attorneys have professional relationships with car crash doctors who know how to diagnose and treat whiplash and other soft tissue injuries.
There’s even more. Attorneys are good negotiators as well as good litigators. As a result, they are often able to reduce the final medical bill. That means victims get to hold onto more of their settlement money.
Attorneys do the same thing in other arenas. Vehicle replacement is a good example. The insurance company usually offers the cheapest available alternative in terms of a rental car and a permanent replacement. Attorneys make the same arrangements with many of these providers as they make with doctors. So, families get the substitute transportation they need, and not just the transportation the insurance company is willing to pay for.
All these bills come due eventually, which is why an attorney must build a successful claim for damages.
Since the victim/plaintiff has the burden of proof, all such claims are based on evidence. Some evidence in car wreck claims includes:
- Medical Records: These documents always include nuts-and-bolts diagnosis, prognosis, and pricing information. Additionally, medical records usually include treatment notes which establish things like pain levels.
- Eyewitness Statements: Something almost mystical happens when people with nothing to lose or gain take the stand and share their stories. Sometimes, the eyewitness is a traffic or other camera instead of a person. This kind of evidence is admissible as well.
- Event Data Recorder: Almost every vehicle has an EDR, which is a lot like a commercial jet’s black box flight recorder. EDRs measure and record things like vehicle speed and steering angle in the moments before a crash.
- Police Accident Report: Emergency responders examine physical evidence and talk to witnesses before they prepare official reports. These reports are not always 100 percent accurate, but they are often an essential element of a case.
At a minimum, there must be enough evidence to establish liability by a preponderance of the proof (more likely than not). That’s the lowest standard of evidence in Kentucky law. Additionally, there is usually a direct relationship between the amount of evidence the victim/plaintiff presents and the amount of damages a jury awards.
These damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Vehicle collisions often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. We routinely handle matters in Fayette County and nearby jurisdictions.