Archive for March, 2013

Why Missouri Intersection Accidents Are So Common

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Intersections pose on of the most dangerous areas of any roadway because cross-traffic must be coordinated in an orderly fashion to prevent traffic collisions.  When drivers are not focused on the roadway, tired or impaired by alcohol, they may fail to stop at stop signs, run red lights or disregard pedestrians in crosswalks.  While most intersection accidents are caused by negligent drivers who disobey traffic laws or basic safe driving practices, the design or maintenance of an intersection may also contribute to a Missouri intersection accident.

At Hubbard & Kurtz, LLP, we work diligently to identify all negligent parties, conduct an investigation that may include use of an accident reconstruction expert and aggressively negotiate to obtain the financial recovery our clients’ are entitled to receive for medical expenses, pain and suffering, diminished earning capacity, vehicle damage, lost income, impaired enjoyment of life and other damages and financial loss.

The most common factor that contributes to intersection crashes in Missouri is unsafe driving practices by inattentive or careless drivers.  These hazardous driving practices include:

  • Failing to reduce one’s speed when approaching an intersection
  • Dividing a motorist’s attention between driving and other tasks like using a cell phone to talk or text
  • Trying to “beat” a stoplight before it turns red
  • Running stop signs because a driver is distracted or intoxicated
  • Unsafe left turns
  • Non-compliance with yield signs
  • Aggressive driving including disregarding right of way rules

While these are just a few of the types of driving behavior that may cause an intersection collisions in Missouri, these types of traffic violations pose an especially serious risk near street corners because car, truck, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians must all cross paths.  The inevitable risk presented by vehicles and pedestrians crossing paths at an intersection is reflected by the fact that 43 percent of all vehicle accidents occur in or near intersections.  Although some presume that intersection crashes generally are low speed collisions that cause minimal injury, crashes where traffic intersects on cross-streets account for 21 percent of all traffic-related fatalities.

Drivers who run red lights at intersections because they are distracted, substance impaired or simply careless account for a significant portion of intersection collisions.  A third of all people in the U.S. know someone who died or was injured in a collision where the negligent driver ran a red light.  There are over 1.9 million intersection crashes annually, and almost 220,000 of these traffic accidents are caused by drivers who run red lights.

Although negligent drivers are the primary cause of intersection accidents, sometimes public entities will design an intersection or time traffic lights in a way that increases the risk.  A public entity may also fail to dispatch police to an intersection where the lights are malfunctioning to direct traffic in a timely manner.  In situations like these, the public entity also may share liability for a fatal Missouri intersection accident.

If you or someone you love is injured or a family member dies in a Missouri intersection accident, we urge you to contact us if you have questions.  Our experienced Missouri intersection car accident attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, LLP work diligently to obtain financial compensation for our clients’ injuries so contact us toll free at (877) 535-1163 to see how we can help!

Why the Lack of Vehicle Damage in a Car Accident Does Not Mean No Serious Injuries

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

If you are involved in a rear-end collision, a minimal amount of vehicle damage may convince you that any injuries you suffered are only minor.  Insurance companies rely on car accident victims that are hit from the rear making this assumption and delaying medical treatment and legal advice.  Because the insurance company for the negligent driver understands that a rear-ender will almost be the fault of the driver who strikes another vehicle from behind, a representative from the other driver’s insurance company might contact you to make a low-ball settlement offer.  A motorist should not settle a rear-end collision claim if the driver has even minor injuries without seeking a full diagnostic exam and legal advice.

It is important to understand that the term “low impact collision” is often a loaded phrase used by insurance adjusters attempting to minimize the values of claims.  Studies analyzing where there is no vehicle damage have found no relationship between a lack of vehicle damage and the extent of injury to vehicle occupants.  The lack of vehicle damage may be more the result of the durability of the vehicle than the lack of impact from the crash.  Bumpers on motor vehicles are designed to protect vehicles from injury, but they do little to protect vehicle occupants.

A vehicle with a chassis like a pickup truck or all-terrain vehicle may be subjected to fairly significant impact but suffer little or no damage to the vehicle.  Vehicles with a bumper to bumper chassis are especially resistant to body damage in a collision.  However, the amount of G force inflicted on vehicle occupants can still cause serious whiplash injuries.  In fact, the stiff body and chassis of the vehicle can intensify and focus the G force experienced on the vehicle occupants in a rear-end collision.  Because of this focused and intensified G force, some studies show that a vehicle occupant may suffer more serious injuries in a collision that does not cause vehicle damage than one where vehicle damage occurs.

The important point to keep in mind is that the insurance company representative for the other driver has only one goal in mind – that goal is not your best interest.  The insurance company representative is looking to reduce the value of your claim under facts that almost assure that its client will be determined to be at-fault.  If the insurance company offers to provide you with a settlement check, it will ask that you execute a general release that will bar future claims for injuries that you may not even have discovered.  The insurance company would not offer a settlement in the first place if it did not feel that the claim was worth substantially more than its offer.

Before speaking with the other driver’s insurance company following a crash that does not result in vehicle damage, you should go to the doctor and report all symptoms no matter how minor they might seem.  Whiplash type injuries may not be immediately evident so you need to obtain a diagnostic analysis before you will know the full extent of your injuries.  Rear-end accident injury victims should also seek prompt legal advice because an experienced Missouri car accident attorney can protect your interest and negotiate toward a settlement for the real value of your claim.

If you or someone you love is injured or a family member dies in a Missouri car accident, we urge you to contact us if you have questions.  Our experienced Missouri auto collision attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, LLP work diligently to obtain financial compensation for our clients’ injuries so contact us toll free at (877) 535-1163 to see how we can help!