Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on January 14th, 2020,
by Zane Cagle

Head-On Collisions in Missouri

Two Fatal St. Louis Crashes in 12 Hours

Posted on January 14th, 2020 by Zane Cagle

Yesterday and this morning began with two fatal crashes in Missouri, one in Laclede County and in Howell County.  In both of the crash reports (Missouri State Highway Patrol), a driver crossed the center line and struck another car head-on. Generally, we do not have two of these horrible crashes in consecutive mornings.  Tragically, there were four drivers involved in the two different crashes and all four were killed.

Howell County–A 19 year-old driver of Dora, MO driving a Chevrolet 1500 crossed the center line of US 160 and struck a Dodge Journey driven by a 47 year-old Caulfield, Missouri man. The crash occurred around 6:15 a.m. this morning as reported by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and tragically, both drivers were killed.

Laclede County– a 27 year-old Stoutland, MO man was driving a Chevrolet Silverado when it crossed the center line of Highway JJ and struck a Mazda Millenia driven by 26 year-old Stoutland, MO man. The crash occurred at approximately 8 a.m. and both men died at the scene.

In fatal crashes, law enforcement completes an investigation including an accident reconstruction. The accident reconstruction is conducted to attempt to determine how the crash occurred. This information is important as it provides answers for family and friends and attempts to answer questions of liability. Equally important, this information is added to the greater analysis for road safety and car manufacturers.  The data is studied by many experts in an attempt to increase safety, contribute to car manufacturers research in designing safer vehicles and road design safety.  Both of these crashes occurred on one-lane highways which is common.

Common Causes of Head-On Crashes

While no specific information has been provided regarding what caused the two fatal crashes in Missouri this week, we do know some common causes for many head-on collisions.  When we think of the most serious type of crashes in our nightmares, they are head-on collisions. If you’ve ever been faced with a car in your oncoming lane, it is terrifying.  Some of the most common causes of head-on crashes:

  •  Speeding. If someone is driving too fast and subsequently lose control of their vehicle, they can easily travel into oncoming traffic
  •  Drunk driving.  If someone is driving impaired, they can easily lose control of their vehicle, fail to see other traffic or seriously misjudge distances
  •  Improper Passing. This occurs far more often than it should. Drivers can become impatient and attempt to pass on two-lane roadways and result in head on collsions
  •  Distracted Driving-distracted driving can also include inattentive driving.  When drivers fail to attend to attentive driving for even a couple of seconds, a car can drift into oncoming traffic

Head-on collisions are generally the most serious of crashes as two vehicles are impacted with their combined speed and weight. Even when drivers are properly restrained, the force of both vehicles is concentrated on the front seat occupants.

Common Injuries from Head-on Collisions

The injuries that occur as a result of a head-on impact are most often devastating and can include broken bones and traumatic brain injuries.  The recovery process is long, arduous and expensive. Serious injuries impact every aspect of a person’s life from their work and professional life to their family interactions.

Broken Bones-while any car crash can result in broken bones, head on collisions usually result in complex injuries including several broken bones.  It is horrifying the types of injuries that result from this high level trauma

Traumatic Brain Injuries. Because the impact is so severe, victims offer suffer head injuries. Brain injuries can vary a great deal from slight concussion to traumatic brain injury. The brain is unlike many other organs in the body in that it is complex in both diagnosis and treatment.  In critical care situations, clearly a brain injury is life threatening. However, there are many other symptoms that go with any kind of brain injury and can be incredibly difficult to address including memory loss, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, inability to concentrate and emotional fluctuations.

Back & Neck Injuries. Like the brain, there can be a lot of variation in the severity of neck and back injuries from muscle strain to disc injuries to traumatic spine injuries.  Each of these conditions vary greatly in impact and medical treatment.  Assessing injuries can take some time. Each person must absolutely seek the appropriate medical treatment to increase their opportunity for maximum healing.  Seeking medical treatment can feel like a full-time job after a crash and it is overwhelming.

Common Missteps with Insurance

Those with serious injuries or who have lost a family member should absolutely NOT negotiate with insurance carriers on their own. Most people that are injured do not know the full extent of their injuries and certainly do not know how they will heal for many months. An insurance carrier may try to come in right away and offer a settlement before you have a chance to fully know your injuries. This is purposeful by the insurance carrier and it is not in your best interest. Also, if you have been seriously injured or lost a family member, it is traumatic.  Trying to negotiate after such a tragedy is rife with problems. Hiring an expert that specializes in car crashes is crucial.

We know the methods that insurance carriers use to reduce and deny claims. Our attorneys specialize in car crash cases across Missouri and Illinois.   Most people do not make mistakes with an insurance company due to ignorance or lack of honesty.  Most people make the mistake of oversharing with an insurance adjuster because they believe if they are really honest with the insruance company, then the insurance company will be really cooperative. Also, many people blindly trust an adjuster when they say “we will take care of things”.  Unfortunately, that is not accurate. If it was, we would practice in a different area. Thus, these are some common recommendations you should consider in the first few days after a crash:

Do not discuss your injuries. Since the vast majority of crash victims have no idea of the complete extent of their injuries, then trying to describe them to an adjuster is absurd.  Asking you to predict your own medical recovery is ridiculous as well. Do not share your medical records/bills with an insurance agent until you talk to an attorney.  Likewise, you should not sign a medical authorization for them in the first few months.

If taking medication, do not talk to any insurance adjuster.  This may sound logical to most. However, we have had clients that an adjuster is trying to call while in the hospital.  No, no, no.  You should never give statements or discuss anything about your injuries if you are taking any medication that may impact your ability to recall.  If you are in the hopstial after a traumatic car crash, you have taking medication  that will impact your ability to recall. Do not get in a big hurry to “explain” things to the adjuster—again, this is not beneift you in the long run.

Consult our attorneys–free of charge.  We would much rather spend the time talking to you even if you are not going to need us verses you going without the information. We talk with many people every day and not every single person needs us. Talking with an attorney and gaining free information about how to respond in the first few days and weeks can have a huge impact on your cliam.

Car accidents are violent. It is strange.  Since serious car accidents happen almost daily, we grow accustomed to hearing the news about such tragic loss. Yet, if most of us really think about how dangerous it is to be on the roadway, we can become almost paralyzed with fear.  While the statistical odds are that each of us will be in some kind of fender bender, few people really think of what steps they would take should they be in a minor car crash.  According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, there were 866 fatal crashes in 2019. The number has fallen slightly from 2018 with 914 fatalities.  In 2016, fatalities were high of 943. Still, 866 roadway fatalities is too high.

Call our attorneys toll free 1.800.685.3302 or locally 314.276.1681