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Car accidents: No Witness, No Recourse

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Jodi Cornelius, from Oneida Wisconsin, stopped at an intersection. When she regained consciousness in the ambulance, Jodi remembered getting hit by a Mac truck. "If anybody was to get a ticket, it should have been him," she says.

"On Dec 12, 2005, I was driving west to east and came to a stop at the crossroad. The truck driver was barreling down the road, north to south, well over the 55 mph speed limit [which was later confirmed by a police officer]. I proceeded through the intersection and this big Mac truck just kept going - it was like he came out of nowhere. If he saw me, he could have swerved into the other lane; there was plenty of room. But he just ran me over.

"The truck was full of gravel and he shoved me off the road into someone's front yard. I was knocked out and don't remember the impact. My car, a 1996 Ford Taurus LX, was totaled.

"I had a CAT scan and morphine at the hospital. The doctor told me that I must have hit the steering wheel three times. The airbags didn't deploy; I guess it must have been the way I was hit. My face was swollen and badly bruised, it was black and blue. I looked like a monster. My parents came to get me; my Mom is calm about everything but when she saw me lying there in emergency, she was concerned.

"Three days after the accident, I got a ticket in the mail, charging me $150 and four points off my driver's license. I disputed the ticket and met with the Judge and District Attorney at my pre-trial. The ticket was dismissed, but I was told that I couldn't sue the driver because I got this ticket."

Talk about a Catch-22! By dismissing this ticket, the judge determined that the accident was not Jodi's fault. Why can't she sue the truck driver?

Because she is one woman against insurance companies and the judicial system. "Even though the judge dismissed the ticket, at the pre-trial. I would have to prove the truck driver is at fault," she says.

Jodi's insurance company paid out $800 to the truck driver's insurance company to get his bumper fixed. "I still don't know if my insurance rate will increase because of this claim," she says.

"I am still off work with bad headaches and vertigo. I have been seeing a neurologist and opthamologist on a regular basis. So far I have had two CAT scans, an MRI, chest xrays, EEG, EKG - I have run the gamut. And I am taking medication for my headaches which sometimes last all day. My right eye is still swollen and the right side of my head is numb. I also have short-term memory loss.

"I am native American so my medical bills are paid for but it doesn't compensate for what I am going through. I have short-term disability. If I didn't have this insurance, I would be paying forever. My disability insurance is only about 60 percent of my regular wages, so it has been a real hardship having to live on $228 per week. And I am a single Mom with two daughters, aged six and 15. It hasn't been easy.

"I haven't been able to drive because of the vertigo and dizziness, and I have limited vision in my right eye. My doctor is monitoring my progress and I hope that when I go back for another checkup mid April, I will be able to go back to work and drive again. Right now I have to rely on my parents for everything, they come over to my house and pick me up - I can't even get the groceries on my own.

"I am so frustrated. I want to pursue this guy. He was going over the speed limit. His insurance company called me one day and I told them that he hit me. Somebody was supposed to call me back but nobody ever did. Nobody wants to hear my side of the story."



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