Personal Injury Case Study
In this example dealing with a hit and run accident, a woman is injured after a driver T-boned her car in an intersection. The driver fled the scene and the woman was unable to get his license plate number. We’ll discuss specifics of the auto accident, liability, injuries, negotiations, and the final case resolution.
Jennifer was driving her vehicle, a brand new compact car on a clear day without any driving obstructions. She came to a 4-way intersection in a residential neighborhood and stopped briefly and legally at the stop sign.
As she proceeded through the intersection, a large, white pick-up truck barreled through the intersection and T-boned her on her passenger side. The impact pushed her car across the street and into a light pole. Both automobiles came to a skidding stop, however the white-pick up truck fled the scene immediately.
Due to the sound of the collision, several residents of the neighborhood came outside to see what had occurred. Someone called 9-1-1 and within minutes an ambulance, fire truck and the police were on the scene.
Jennifer was observing the rules of the road and had come to a complete stop at the intersection. When she lawfully proceeded forward, she was struck by the truck who then fled the scene.
In this hit and run accident, the driver of the truck was liable for:
(1) Failure to yield the right of way;
(2) Failure to come to a complete stop at the intersection; and
(3) FELONY hit and run (raised to a felony because Jennifer was injured).
Jennifer was properly seat belted, however the collision caused her head and body to jerk violently within the vehicle causing whiplash, sciatica and three bulging discs. These injuries led to further complications such as tingling and numbing in the legs, severe migraines, lower back and shoulder pain and an inability to sit at her desk job as a travel agent for extended periods of time.
Jennifer was taken by ambulance to the emergency room where she received x-rays and emergency room treatment. Thereafter, she went to her primary care doctor who sent her for an MRI and referred her to a chiropractor and therapist for additional care.
Jennifer missed several hours of work per week to receive chiropractic care for over 4 months. She also had to purchase an ergonomically correct chair, keyboard and back support in order to sit for periods of up to 2 hours at work.
Unfortunately, the police were not able to track down the driver of the pick-up. Jennifer was stunned in the minutes following the hit and run accident and she was unable to observe much identifying information. All she could tell them was that the truck was white and looked to be an older model. She knew nothing of the driver’s description, the license plate number or any other identifiable characteristics.
Therefore, there was no other insurance company against which to submit a personal injury claim. Jennifer was required to submit her claim to her own insurance policy under her “UIM” or Un-Insured Motorist provision.
This allowed her to use her own insurance to pay for her extensive medical bills ($8,400), her wage loss claim ($1,500) and the purchase of ergonomic items for work ($900). She also had to submit a property damage claim for $19,000 sincer her Kia was totaled.
Because this hit and run accident was also considered a crime, Jennifer submitted a claim to the Victims Compensation Fund in her state. She received the $10,000 maximum allowed and was able to pay for the additional treatment she needed.
Jennifer had been a long time customer of her insurance company and was able to settle her UIM claim for $34,000 with little back and forth negotiating. In addition, she received the Victims Compensation money allowed in her state.
- If you are hit by an under-insured or uninsured motorist, you can use your OWN insurance company provided you have applied for UIM coverage.
- Sometimes submitting a claim to your own insurance company will increase your rates.
- If you have been the victim of a crime, many states have Victims Compensation Funds, particularly in California where the constitution has been amended to include many new and enumerated rights for victims.
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