Articles Tagged with catastrophic injury

highway-crashThis weekend’s fatal crashes on I-35 show the need for increased safety measures

North Texas highways are unfortunately the scene of many serious injury and fatal car and truck crashes. Just in the past two days, a tragic Fort Worth accident took the life of a woman on I-35 near Rosedale Street on Friday night. And last night, a Dallas crash sadly took the life of a woman who was not able to avoid hitting a disabled SUV on I-35 near Medical District Drive north of downtown. This weekend reinforced why drivers should try to avoid driving on interstates if possible, especially at night.

Since all of our local highways are more jammed than ever with cars, trucks and 18-wheelers due to our region’s explosive growth, the only possible answer for why I-35 is so dangerous is increased trade due to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As a result, we have more and more commercial trucks driving up and down the the highway to deliver goods from Mexico. And we have more trucks because of increased deliveries from purchases from Amazon and other online merchants. Plus it seems that I-35 is always under construction, at least here in Fort Worth where we have been in the midst of a frustrating widening for the past five years.

Adding to these perils, tractor trailers and other large commercial trucks drive with relative impunity. We see them tailgating and trying to run drivers off the road, speeding, failing to stay in their lanes – presumably because the driver is texting while driving or at least using his cell phone in violation of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations – and driving while being exhausted. You rarely seem them pulled over for doing this. I call on Texas law enforcement to increase the number of patrol officers and other traffic safety techniques to make truck drivers obey traffic laws.

I also urge our state legislators to fix these problems. The Texas Tribune described several proposed laws that would help remedy this embarrassing title. None of these bills is apparently going to pass in the legislature days from concluding its biennial session.

Dallas interstates are especially dangerous and lead to far too many wrongful deaths. Most were listed in the top 100 deadliest highways list, with I-35 being one of the highest in the country at #13 and I-45 right behind it at #14.

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Southlake man learns how astronomical air ambulance bill can be

A helicopter flying a critically injured patient to a hospital can save his life, but when he finds out what the air ambulance bill is, he might have a heart attack. The average cost for the ride is now over $40,000. A med evac invoice is the poster child of our skyrocketing health care costs.

On Monday an article in the Dallas Morning News showed how enormous a bill can be. A young doctor in Southlake was severely injured and was rushed by ground ambulance to a local hospital in Wichita Falls. He had to be immediately flown 100 miles to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, the closest level one trauma center.

Sadly, after eight operations, the doctor had to have his arm amputated. A few days later as he was recovering in the hospital, he received the first of many demanding calls from the company wanting him to pay a stunning $56,603. Yes, you read that correctly.

The doctor’s health insurance company only paid about $12,000 — and only after being forced to do so since the ambulance company was out-of-network with his Blue Cross Blue Shield plan. Right after his crash, he was obviously not in a condition to verify whether the ambulance company was in-network and demand a different helicopter.

Most of these companies choose not to be in-network. If they are, they refuse to bill health insurance plans, instead billing the patient for the full amount. Or sometimes they bill Aetna or Blue Cross, which pays what it considers to be the reasonable cost of the ride. The patient is stuck with the balance, like here. The helicopter company then hires aggressive bill collectors and attorneys to file lawsuits when the exorbitant expense is not paid in full. Medical bills are the leading cause for people to file bankruptcies that ruin their credit.

The man still owed a shocking balance of $44,631. This is in addition to other inflated hospital and doctor bills he has to pay. This is a serious problem for many people after they are in a car or truck collision.

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