Disclaimer: Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.
When the driver responsible for a car accident flees the scene or has no insurance coverage‚ the victim has no other option than to seek compensation from their own auto insurance policy—as was the case with our client.
She was traveling down the Pennsylvania Turnpike on a snowy February day in 2007. As she was driving, there was a tractor-trailer that came to a stop in the middle of the highway. She attempted to change lanes in order to avoid the truck when her car skidded out of control due to the icy road. Her vehicle flew in the air over an embankment before coming to rest. A witness stated that the truck driver came over to see if she was alright before fleeing the scene.
Although there was no impact that caused the accident, it would not have occurred if the tractor-trailer driver was pulled over to the shoulder rather than stopped in the middle of the highway. The witness of the crash also attested that having seen her car fly into the air the way it did, he did not think she survived.
Our client did not immediately seek treatment as she did not realize she had suffered any injury‚ when, in fact, she had sustained a very serious brain injury. It is not uncommon for accident victims to be unaware of injuries such as this as they may not present any symptoms immediately following the crash. Two days following the accident, she went to the emergency room where she was diagnosed with a concussion and brain injury. Her recollection of the specifics of the accident was impaired due to the head trauma she suffered‚ but it appears that when she hit the embankment, she was thrown upwards and struck her head on the roof of her car.
The trauma to her brain resulted in serious memory‚ cognitive‚ and vision problems in addition to severe head pain. One of her treating physicians performed a neurological psyche exam, which revealed that she was significantly impaired by the traumatic brain injury. It was ruled by her physicians that the damage to her brain was likely permanent as two years after the accident she was still experiencing significant cognitive issues.
Since the driver fled the scene and was never found we were able to pursue compensation through her own car insurance policy under her uninsured motorist coverage (used to cover accidents caused by a hit-and-run or by a driver with no insurance)‚ and obtained the full policy limit of $100‚000. While it will never restore her life to the quality, it once was‚ this settlement helped to offset the costs that arose from this accident.