Our client, a 75-year old man, was seriously injured in a head-on collision caused by a drunk driver in Tempe, Arizona. Despite the benefit of both a seatbelt and an air bag, our client suffered a closed head injury and multiple cracked ribs. His wife, who was driving the vehicle, suffered only minor injuries in the collision.
Immediately after the crash, the drunk driver fled the scene on foot. A passenger in his vehicle admitted that both he and the driver were extremely intoxicated at the time of the collision. The passenger, who was apparently a friend of the drunk driver, claimed that he only knew the driver’s first name and did not know where the driver lived or worked. As a result, the drunk driver was never positively identified and, therefore, escaped prosecution. However, we were able through public records to identify the owner of the vehicle. We were also able to ascertain insurance coverage on the vehicle. The paramedics called to the scene noted an 8-10 inch intrusion into the passenger side of the vehicle where our client was sitting. After being extricated from the vehicle by the paramedics, he was transported to a local hospital by ambulance where he underwent a full trauma evaluation. He was diagnosed as having suffered a facial puncture wound, a closed head injury, a chest wall contusion, and blunt abdominal pain. After spending a night in the hospital, he was discharged home to his family.
Three days after the accident, our client returned to the emergency room for increased chest pain, and he underwent a CAT scan of his chest. The CAT scan revealed that he had also suffered multiple rib fractures in the collision.
After our client concluded his medical treatment, we settled his bodily injury claim for policy limits of $115,000 (combined policy limits available under the owner’s policy and our client’s underinsured policy).
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