Remembering Debbie Helton’s Tragic Death Following a Fender Bender – Last year, right around this time now, a story broke about a Las Vegas woman by the name of Debbie Helton being involved in what seemed to be a minor fender bender only to suddenly die hours later.
Besides being an unsettling and tragic story about her loss of life, the fact remains Helton was killed in a wreck where the property damage looked minor, which means we have a lot to learn from this story. The damage depicted from the wreck depicts what seems to be a minor accident and leads one to believe that the involved parties walked away unscathed. That just simply not the case here. The force of one vehicle smashing into another is incomparable to other forces we experience on a daily basis.
Too often people are turned away by juries in our civil justice system because of the fact insurance defense lawyers hide how bad things really are. In the trial, insurance company lawyers hold up photos of the lack of visible property damage to a vehicle in front of a jury. The lawyer will argue that there is no way someone could get hurt. Just look at the photos! But a recent study (Dr. Arthur Croft’s Man vs. Machine testing) debunked this concept with his studies at the San Diego Spinal Institute. However, insurance companies like Geico insurance have “biomechanics engineers” that it pays on a regular basis here in Las Vegas to say that a car wreck is like a jostle in a crowd or plopping on one’s seat. These battles are hard-fought in the courtroom. And sadly these tactics by the defense work most of the time.
During this post-recession era, corporations have deeper pockets than ever before in our history. These mega auto insurance corporations have changed their business practices to transfer all “no to little visible damage” crashes into their fraud unit. People get severely injured and sometimes people like Debbie are killed in crashes like these. When a machine weighing thousands of pounds rams into the back of another’s vehicle, the injuries to a spine are typically permanent. They are typically permanent because small microscopic tears in ligaments heal, leaving scar tissue. The scar tissue makes the ligament not as strong as it once was causing joint instability. Joint instability over time causes arthritic conditions. It is not fair to American consumers for these corporations to clog our court system with cases that should settle.
Our condolences and love go out to the Helton family for their loss. Debbie’s life is an example that you should give someone the benefit of the doubt. The auto insurance companies’ tough position on low visible damage collisions is wrong.