Our legal team at The Pittman Firm works with victims of car accidents in Panama City and throughout the Panhandle region. Our clients include other drivers, pedestrians, and motorcycle/bicycle riders injured by careless drivers on our local roadways. A recent headline reminded our Panama City accident attorney that the victims of careless driving and other roadway dangers can also include other bystanders, some of whom could never imagine the circumstances leading up to their involvement in an accident case. While it was actually a scene on a popular show a few seasons back, no one imagines the moment when a car crashes into a house will actually become a reality.
The Penrod family, spouses Jim and Carol along with Jim's 97-year-old mother Jean, told reporters from WJGH that they were sleeping peacefully during the early morning hours on Tuesday January 8. At around 1:30 A.M., Jean awoke to a loud crash and felt debris falling onto her face. She later learned that a Dodge Ram pick-up truck had crashed through her bedroom wall, passing into a closet and bathroom before coming to rest. It appears the unidentified driver hit the driveway and became airborne before hitting another portion of pavement and taking flight again, this time into the Port St. Joe home.
The impact pinned Jean to her bed, and it took about an hour for firefighters to free her from the wreckage. Her daughter-in-law expressed thanks that she survived, while Jean added a special “thank you” to the firefighters who managed to save a picture from her 1938 wedding day. Jean lost almost all of her other possessions, including items made by her late husband and furniture from her married life.
No one expects to be involved in a serious accident on the roadway, but it is certainly even more unexpected to be involved in a car accident from the comfort of one's home and one's bed. There are a few different scenarios that might give rise to a vehicle crashing into a building. Such a crash may result from any of the following (or a combination thereof): drunk/impaired driving, drowsy driving, dangerous roadway design, hazardous road conditions, or a faulty/defective vehicle or parts. In most of these situations, the victim will have a strong negligence claim supporting a civil suit for monetary damages.
What should you do if faced with such an unexpected event as a car or truck crashing into your home? First and foremost, you should seek medical attention for any injuries. This is important for your health, and prompt medical attention can also be important for getting medical expenses covered by a relevant insurance carrier or in a civil negligence suit. You should also try to collect and preserve evidence by taking pictures of the damage and obtaining copies of any police reports. Additionally, keep copies of any repair estimates and expenses, as well as medical reports, related bills, and other paperwork. You will also want to consult your homeowner's policy to make sure you make them aware of the incident as necessary.
It is also crucial that you contact experienced legal counsel. Costs can pile-up quickly, including medical bills, treatment for emotional distress, repair bills, and even the potential need for short-term housing. Cases like the recent Port St. Joe collision can involve the interplay of multiple insurance policies (including your own and the driver's) and a number of different legal concepts and possible civil defendants. Attorney Pittman can help you explore all potential legal remedies and help you sort out applicable filing deadlines and other requirements.
Every case and every client is unique. Our Panama City car accident law firm has dealt with all manner of accidents, including many out-of-the-ordinary cases. No case is too unusual. We are here to help you sort through the details, and we can apply our knowledge and experience to your unique circumstances.