Few details were available about a collision between an SUV and a semi-truck which seriously injured several people.
The wreck happened near the Glencoe and Verona exits on Interstate 71 shortly before nightfall. Five medevac helicopters came to the scene to airlift victims to area hospitals. Investigators believe that the semi-truck rear-ended the SUV.
Medical Bills in Car Wreck Claims
Usually, the hospital bills are the most expensive medical bill component in a personal injury claim. But if a medevac helicopter is involved, transportation expenses sometimes exceed the hospital bills. If the hospital is less than 50 miles away, the average medevac flight costs about $25,000. The average cost raises to over $40,000 in longer flights.
Hospitals typically cite the high cost of specialty-equipment medevac helicopters to justify this cost. But more likely, the high cost is mostly a money-making thing. Many non-critical patients, like pregnant mothers, take Ubers to hospitals to avoid the high cost of ambulance transportation.
Medical bills don’t end when patients receive their discharge instructions. In fact, in many cases, they are just getting started. Most injury victims must go through several months of physical therapy to regain lost function. These sessions usually cost hundreds of dollars an hour. Generally, insurance companies authorize a flat number of physical therapy visits based on the nature of the injury, like three to five visits for a broken arm. If the victim requires more, which is usually the case, a Lexington personal injury attorney must advocate for the victim to keep the money flowing.
Alternatively, some attorneys send letters of protection to medical providers. These letters guarantee payment when the case is resolved. Therefore, the providers charge nothing upfront for their services.
Moreover, attorneys are good negotiators as well as good litigators. They often convince medical providers to lower their fees. As a result, victims could pay less for their medical bills and pocket more of their settlement money. If Jack’s medical bills were $100,000 and Jack’s lawyer reduces them to $80,000, Jack might get to keep the extra $20,000. Evidence of collateral source payments, like bill reduction or insurance payments, is inadmissible in a Kentucky civil claim.
Truck Wreck Claims and Evidence
Evidence is sometimes a problem in interstate crash claims. There are usually no security or other cameras in the area. Furthermore, many eyewitnesses do not loiter at the scene to speak with police officers, especially if the witness was on the other side of the freeway.
Insurance companies love sparse evidence claims because they are easier to defend in court. The victim/plaintiff has the burden of proof in a negligence claim.
The Safety Maintenance System database report, which is much like a multistate drivers’ license, often provides critical evidence in large truck crash claims. The SMS database includes operator background information like:
- Crash history,
- Vehicle maintenance history,
- Prior citations,
- Substance abuse history,
- Hazardous Materials rules compliance, and
- HOS (Hours of Service) compliance.
Frequently, electronic evidence supplements the SMS evidence. All large trucks have an Electronic Logging Device. This gadget keeps track of the hours that a driver is behind the wheel.
Before the ELD mandate took effect, drivers recorded HOS in paper log books which were easily falsified. But the ELD is a computer attached to the truck’s drivetrain. So, when the truck is in motion, the HOS clock is ticking.
Drowsy driving is a significant problem among long-haul truckers. Driving after eighteen consecutive awake hours, which is the equivalent of a long day behind the wheel, is like driving with a .05 BAC level. That’s above the legal limit for commercial operators in Kentucky. Note that this figure assumes eighteen awake hours, not eighteen working hours. Breaks, unless the driver naps, don’t count.
Third Party Liability
Individual drivers are legally responsible for car crash damages. Frequently, the company which employs them is financially responsible for these damages. The respondeat superior rule if employees are negligent during the course and scope of their employment.
Pretty much any activity which benefits the employer in any way satisfies the course and scope of employment prong. Employers benefit even if drivers are hauling empty trailers or bobtailing (driving without trailers). The cab usually has the company’s name on it, which means the company gets free advertising.
Respondeat superior and other third party liability claims are very important in catastrophic injury cases. Frequently, individual drivers don’t have enough insurance coverage to pay the sky-high medical bills and other damages in these cases.
These damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as lost wages, and noneconomic losses, such as emotional distress.
Truck crash victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases. #goodelawyers