On June 3, 2013 there was a fatal car accident involving Kristina McGraw who was driving a motorcycle on State Route 101 at the intersection of Superior Street in Margaretta Township, Ohio. Ms. McGraw had the right of way but was struck by a vehicle operated by teenaged driver who was attempting to turn left onto Superior Street. She was taken to Firelands Regional Medical Center but did not survive the wreck.
In the United States, about 40,000 people are killed in auto accidents each year, with another 3 million people being injured. Of the 3 million injures, 2 million of those end up being permanent. There are more than 6 million car accidents in the United States every year.
Legal Issues Arising From This Accident
Several questions arise from accidents such as this motorcycle collision that clearly resulted in a wrongful death. In these types of cases, the estate representative must begin to cope not only with the loss, but also attempt to understand the overwhelming amount of legal issues associated with the incident. Some issues involved with this tragic accident are as follows.
First, no statements should be given to any insurance companies until after estate representatives have spoken with an attorney. Insurance company representatives will sound sympathetic, polite, helpful, and friendly on the phone, but they are not an advocate for the families of those harmed or killed in an accident. In fact, the adjuster’s goal is to use written or recorded statements in an effort to pay the least amount of money possible. Some insurance companies even give adjusters bonuses based on how little money they pay out on claims – especially potential high value wrongful death claims.
Second, the estate representatives should not sign any authorization for any insurance company until the representative has spoken with an attorney. Signing authorizations will give the insurance company a “free pass” to obtain any and all information regarding confidential and private past medical records as well as other information that they should not be entitled to. They will then attempt to use this information against the decedent’s estate.
Third, the estate representative will have to determine the best way to pay medical bills prior to settlement, whether through health insurance, the medical payments provision of an auto policy, direct payment to providers, or other methods that are available in some cases. Choosing the wrong option could literally cost the surviving family members tens of thousands of dollars.
These are just some of the legal issues that arise when there is an accident of this type. Unfortunately there are many more, and the situation can often seem hopelessly complicated and be a huge burden on a grieving family. This is where a knowledgeable and experienced attorney can make all the difference and lighten the load on a family who just lost a loved one.
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If you have questions about any of the legal issues raised in this blog, contact Dodosh Law Offices, LLC at (440) 298-2344. Or, you can fill out a contact form and Attorney Dodosh will get in touch with you.