car accident attorneyA recent and tragic car accident in Illinois highlights the dangers of head-on collisions.  As a car accident attorney can explain, an accident caused by a wrong-way driver can result in substantial damages.  If you or someone you know has been involved in a head-on collision and need help obtaining the damages to which the victims may be entitled, contact a car accident attorney.

SUV collides with USPS Semi in head-on collision

A “wrong-way driver” collision occurred on Route 83 in Illinois on August 3, 2016.   The crash involved a United States Postal Service (USPS) semi tractor-trailer which collided with a SUV that had crossed into the opposing lane of traffic.  Unfortunately, the driver of the SUV needed to be extricated from the vehicle, which took 40 minutes.  The driver was in critical condition and flown to a nearby hospital for treatment.  The driver of the USPS semi was also taken to a hospital for but he was in good condition.

Damages in Car Accident Cases

Regardless of how minor your injuries may seem at first, you should always seek medical attention as soon after a car accident as you can.  Remember to tell your doctor that you were involved in a car accident and describe exactly what happened.

How much can you recover for damages?

The amount of compensation you may recover after a car accident depends on the type of damages you suffered.  Each claim is different, both factually and with regard to which laws apply to your claim.  The most important element used in determining the value of a car accident claim is the nature and seriousness of your injuries.

The real purpose of a damages award

 The purpose of a damages award in a personal injury case is to make the victim “whole.”  This basically means compensating the victim for everything was lost as a result of the accident or injury.  The only way to accomplish that is through a monetary award. 

Compensatory Damages

In most car accident cases, the primary component of damages is medical expenses incurred as a result of accident.  Reimbursement for medical treatment basically includes compensation for treatment already received, as well as the estimated costs of any medical care that may be required in the future.  Additionally, the injuries suffered can have a substantial impact on the victim’s ability to return to work, either temporarily or permanently.  In that case, damages may include future income.

Emotional Distress and Pain and Suffering

Another important component of damages in nearly every car accident case is compensation for pain and suffering.  If you suffer pain and severe discomfort at the time of the injury, as well as ongoing pain, that is a separate type of damages for which compensation may be available.  Another thing to consider is the effect of more severe injuries, which often lead to emotional distress damages for the psychological impact of the injuries. 

What will my car insurance pay?

Basically, the purpose of car insurance is to cover you if you become liable for the injuries or damages of someone else, following a car accident.  However, in a hit and run, you don’t know who the responsible party is, much less their automobile insurance information.  In that case, your own insurance will typically be your only source of compensation.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

In some states, insurance carriers are required to offer a minimal amount of Uninsured Motorist Coverage to policy owners.  Some states go so far as to required drivers to carry a certain amount of Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UIM).  You have the option of purchasing more than the minimum coverage required.  You also have the option to purchase Underinsured Motorist Coverage, which is similar to UIM coverage, as it provides compensation when the at-fault driver has insurance, but not sufficient coverage in your case.

Justifying Uninsured Motorist coverage

In a hit and run accident, uninsured motorist coverage would most likely be the primary source of compensation.  Since the other driver cannot be found, it is analogous to the other driver not having insurance.  You need to report the accident to the police and your insurance company, as you would with any other auto accident.  Depending on the law in the state where the accident occurred, you may be required to prove physical contact by another vehicle or, at least, provide an eye-witness other than yourself or your passenger.
If you have questions regarding car accidents, or any other personal injury concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a consultation, either online or by calling us as (888) 433-4861.

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.

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