Posted on December 4th, 2013 by Zane Cagle
A multi-vehicle crash on Highway 100 in far west St. Louis County closed down the highway for several hours on Sunday afternoon. Highway 100 was closed between Highway 109 and Taylor Road while clean-up of the three cars involved was completed. Four people were involved in the three car accident and emergency crews had to extract one of the victims and one was air lifted to a hospital.
According to reports, police said the accident happened when a car that was heading eastbound on Highway 100 crossed the median and hit two other cars. As of yet, officials do not know what caused the car to cross into oncoming traffic and the accident is still under investigation. Multi-vehicle accidents are often more complicated than a single or two car auto accident. When there are multiple vehicles, there can be multiple causes and disagreements over liability. Sorting through liability issues with insurance companies can get complicated regarding coverage of injuries.
Auto accidents are dangerous regardless of the speed or angle in which they occur, however, this accident reads as though there was a head on collision. When a car traveling in one direction comes into contact with one or more objects going the opposite direction, the consequences and injuries can be severe and often fatal. In this accident, authorities stated they expected all victims to be “okay”. What does it mean when authorities say the victims ought to be “okay”? When I read these articles and I hear all victims are “okay”, I understand it to mean that all victims will “live” and that is great news! However, more often than not, when someone is involved in such a crash, they are not “okay”. Emergency crews and officers see auto accidents daily and if the injuries are not immediately “life threatening”, then they classify the victims as “okay” when in fact, many are not okay at all. But it is not the job of authorities to determine medical condition other than determining the type of emergency medical care a victim needs at the crash site. Often, the extent of one’s injuries are not known for several days. Back and neck injuries are injuries that a car accident victim thinks will just go away after a few weeks. In the best case scenario, the pain does go away and the injuries a victim feels are short lived and not serious—just soreness. But, frequently, persisting back or neck pain can be indicative of something more serious.
Most of us have been in a motor vehicle accident at some point in our life and experienced a week or so of stiffness, soreness and pain following the accident. If you are in that situation, I would encourage you to NOT ignore the pain and assume it will go away. Prompt medical attention to your pain symptoms can make the difference between a long and painful recovery or a shorter recovery. Also, of paramount importance………………..do not sign any medical releases with any insurance company until you are sure that you do not have pain or further injuries. Once you accept a settlement from any insurance company (yours or the person who hit you) and you sign a release, you are no longer eligible to receive any compensation even if you discover that you have an injury related or caused by the motor vehicle accident.
If I have health insurance, why is a problem to go ahead and sign a medical release with my car insurance company or the other person’s? Maybe you went to the ER after your accident with shoulder and neck pain and they took an x-ray and told you nothing was broken—this is the typical and welcomed news. But in the weeks and months that follow, the neck or back pain becomes worse so you see a specialist who does additional testing. Maybe they tell you that you have a disc or spine injury that could not be seen through an x-ray and the doctor suggests a course of treatment. The treatment and testing for injuries can become quite costly. If you have signed a medical release with the insurance company, they do not have to cover your treatment for that injury. “So, what’s the big deal, I have health insurance?” But I ask you, why should you or your health insurance company bear all of the costs for an injury that was caused by someone else? Ultimately, the deciding factor of course, is just how bad your injury is and how much are the medical costs. As well, you have deductibles and co-pays with your health insurance and often, it is very difficult to get a fair initial settlement from the other driver’s insurance company for all of your medical bills.
My advice is to not settle with any insurance company until you know the full extent of your injuries and have an idea of the costs of the medical treatment. In some situations, surgery may be a last resort option and can be really expensive.
So, if you’ve been in an auto accident and you are not injured, count yourself blessed. If you are injured or if you have lost a loved one, then you need to know all of your options such as a personal injury claim or a wrongful death claim. You should not be rushed into signing any paperwork or making any decisions where your health is involved. At The Cagle Law Firm, we know how important your health is and how costly it is when someone takes it away from you due to a decision they make while driving. Our attorneys are expert auto accident attorneys. We also understand that you are not trying to “get rich” from an accident claim but simply want what is fair. Each of us has a right to what is fair.
Our attorneys are available seven days a week to visit with you regarding your auto accident, locally (314) 276-1681 or toll free (314) 276-1681
Source: Eisele, E (12/1/13) KMOV.com. West County highway shuts down after multi-vehicle crash.