Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

Should I go to the hospital after my car or truck accident in Wichita, Kansas during COVID-19 and the pandemic?

Covid Delays give insurance companies an advantage

What is, and who uses the Special Investigating Unit

Most car accident victims do not understand how the SIU or Special Investigative Unit offices of the major insurance carriers like State Farm, Allstate, Farmers and American Family all created SIU units to fight having to pay out any money on legitimate car accident claims. Surprising? Maybe to some, but not to insurance industry experts. In 1994, the top 12 plus insurance companies hired a company to do the Insurance Research Council study for 1994. What they concluded was of high interest. If you do not take an ambulance, you score 25 plus points. If you do not go to the hospital emergency room the first day you get 25 points and for every day after the accident that you do not go to the hospital you get more points. If you hit 100 points, you are deemed to be a case worth fighting by the entire insurance industry.

Introducing risk to a legitimate case due to delays caused by COVID fears

Since many people are scared of Covid as of January of 2021, this becomes a recurrent problem for lawyers handling car accident and truck accident cases. When you are too scared to go to the hospital you create a defense that implies you were not hurt. Thus, you need to go to the hospital if you are truly hurt and if not, then you should not complain later because you got nothing or very little for your car accident injury claim. You caused your own problem by being afraid of hospitals and no great lawyer can fix that problem.

Most experts predicted that with nationwide and statewide lock downs beginning last spring that there would be a sharp decrease in traffic accidents and fatalities from the east and west coasts to Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri and all across the Midwest. People were supposed to be at home and not driving around. Most schools in the country, just like in Wichita, were being held by remote learning and restaurants were limited to carry-only or outside dining. With car accidents, everyone freaked out about going to the hospital. While we know Covid is real, we know that masks are supposed to protect you, so wear your mask to the hospital and get quality medical care to evaluate your injuries.

NHTSA tracking motor vehicle fatalities

While the overall number of traffic accidents and fatalities have decreased the number of fatalities per mile increased drastically. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which tracks motor vehicle fatalities there were 16,650 road deaths from January to June of 2020. During the same period in 2020, there were 16,988 road deaths. This is a two percent drop in deaths, but the traffic volume fell significantly more than two percent. In other words, there are more significant accidents occurring now that everyone is driving with their speed increased. As speed increases so do deaths. As people have accidents, they get hurt and need to go to the hospital, but so many are hesitant out of fear of Covid, that it has a reverse effect on the value of injury cases.

A thirty-one percent Increase in death's per mile

The NHTSA’s data shows that fatalities occurred at a rate of 1.25 per million miles traveled in the first six months of 2020 compared to 1.06 during the same period in 2019. This shows a thirty one percent increase in deaths per mile during the pandemic which experts have called “striking.” These wrongful death cases do not get an opportunity to go to the hospital because of dying at the scene of the accident.

Inrix, a private company headquartered in Kirkland, Washington specializes in providing location-based data and analytics, such as traffic accidents and fatalities to cities and road authorities, has been analyzing this data since the beginning of the pandemic to determine the increased death rate. The evidence suggests that the open roads have created an opportunity for increased speeding. Police have reduced traffic enforcement due to reduced driving and to avoid exposure to COVID for minor traffic offenses. Another theory is the increase use in drugs and alcohol linked to the pandemic due to stress, boredom and the lack of a regular schedule. One governmental survey found that 65% of people killed in crashed in the first four months of the pandemic tested positive for at least one drug. Also, the percentage of people testing positive for opioids in a crash doubled from 7% to 14%. In essence, people are at home getting intoxicated and when they go out, they are a danger. If you get injured by one of these intoxicated drivers it is absolutely essential that you get emergency treatment in a legitimate hospital triage emergency setting to prove that you are hurt.

Please keep in mind that even though traffic may be light during the pandemic, the dangers are still there. Studies have also shown the most dangerous roads right now seem to be rural roads similar to those you find just outside cities in Kansas such as Liberal, Garden City, Salina, Goodland and Hutchinson. A study in Texas found that even a small increase in speed can result in a huge increase in impact in resulting injuries especially when it involves semi-trucks or fleet vehicles operating at highway speeds. No matter where you are located, seek an ambulance and the nearest major trauma hospital to protect you and evaluate you from a medical standpoint. Being afraid of Covid does not help you or your case. You need to seek high quality emergency room evaluation after your accident.

Forecasting danger after the COVID pandemic

Governmental researchers also expect these statistics to continue even after the pandemic is gone. This is extremely possible if employees continue to work-from-home, ending the traditional rush hours and leaving the roads less crowded. As a result, it a dangerous time to be driving on our nation’s highways and even the county roads, so people should always drive defensively, wear their seatbelts and use the utmost caution to protect the lives of themselves and their families. In the unfortunate event that you are injured in a truck or car accident, do not forsake the ambulance. Go to the hospital, get evaluated and protect your life. You are more likely to die from the accident than from Covid and irrational fear of Covid is preventing many car accident victims from getting a fair settlement after their accident.

Contact Brad Pistotnik Law at 1-800-241-BRAD or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400. Brad Pistotnik is a traumatic brain injury attorney in Kansas who represents construction workers, car accident victims, and others who suffer head injuries in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and Texas. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can reach Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237.