Police have few leads about a vehicle which caused a ping-pong crash on Interstate 75 which injured three people.
The wreck happened near the Scott County/Fayette County line. Investigators believe that a white car sideswiped a concrete median and spun into traffic. A trailing black car braked quickly to avoid the hazard. A trailing truck couldn’t stop, and hit the black car on the driver’s side. That car then burst into flames. Three people were temporarily trapped inside that vehicle.
The white car did not stop, and police are looking for clues.
Car Crash Injuries
Statistically, very few passenger vehicle collisions involve fires. These wrecks are a bit more common among commercial vehicles. Most large trucks carry hundreds of gallons of highly-flammable diesel fuel. They often carry this substance in external tanks.
Nevertheless, car wrecks seriously injure millions of victims every year. Frequently, these injuries are not readily apparent, either to the victims or the doctors who treat them.
Head injuries are a good example. The brain is very adept at hiding its own injuries. Therefore, many head injury victims don’t “feel” hurt. That’s why concussed athletes often beg their coaches to immediately let them back into the game. These players quite honestly “feel fine.”
These wounds are not just hard to feel. They are also hard to diagnose. Many doctors believe that shock and soreness from the accident causes initial symptoms, such as disorientation and mild headaches. Indeed, most of the head injury victims who go to Emergency Rooms are treated and released.
By the time more advanced symptoms develop, such as tinnitus (ringing in the ear), personality changes, persistent severe headaches, and sleeplessness, these injuries are much harder to treat. Therapy alone usually does not help. Instead, doctors must perform brain surgery to reduce swelling. Otherwise, the symptoms will continue to progress.
A Lexington personal injury attorney connects car wreck victims with doctors who focus on such injuries. So, victims get the treatment they need when they need it.
Prompt medical attention is also important for legal reasons. If the victim doesn’t see a doctor straightaway, the insurance company might later contend that the victim’s injuries must not have been very serious.
On a related note, even if a first responder or insurance company employee says you were at fault for the accident, you may not have to pay brain injury and other medical bills out of your own pocket. Compensation might still be available. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical expenses, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
In terms of the criminal justice process, most hit-and-run wrecks like the one in the above story go unsolved. Statistically, law enforcement investigators close fewer than 10 percent of hit-and-run cases with an arrest. There’s simply not enough evidence to go on.
Sometimes, a witness provides a decent description of the vehicle or investigators are able to follow a trail of leaking fluid. Absent such leads, most understaffed law enforcement divisions quickly decide to apply their resources elsewhere. That’s especially true since many law enforcement officers view car crashes as civil disputes.
The high burden of proof in criminal court often comes into play as well. Prosecutors must establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s the highest burden of proof in Kentucky law. Therefore, even if investigators scrape up enough evidence to make an arrest, that arrest might not hold up in court. So, to many investigators, a hit-and-run is simply a dead end.
Investigators do their best with the available evidence at the scene. An attorney, often in partnership with a private investigator, can uncover additional evidence, such as:
- Video Camera Footage: Pretty much every intersection in Lexington is covered by at least one surveillance or traffic camera. If one camera caught a fleeting glimpse of the tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) car and another one caught part of a license plate number, that evidence could hold up in civil court. More on that below.
- Additional Witness Statements: Most people have very busy lives. Furthermore, public opinion of police officers is at an all-time low. For these and other reasons, many people do not loiter at accident scenes so they can give official statements to police officers. However, these people will usually speak to a personal injury attorney, or the attorney’s representative.
- Stakeout: Most hit-and-run accidents occur close to the tortfeasor’s home or work, because most people usually do not venture further than that. So, there is a good chance the tortfeasor will return to the scene of the crime. There is basically a zero chance that police investigators will invest the time necessary for something like a stakeout. But there is a 100 percent chance that a lawyer will go the extra mile.
We mentioned the criminal court burden of proof above. But in civil court, the burden of proof is only a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not.
Assume a witness sees a white sedan at the scene. A few minutes later and a few miles away, a traffic camera records the license plate number of a white sedan. That evidence could hold up in civil court, especially if the vehicle’s owner had no alibi for the time of the collision.
Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. You have a limited amount of time to act. #goodelawyers