Close to 40,000 Americans perish due to traffic collisions each year. And nearly 4.5 million citizens are injured because of the same. And vehicular accidents take place without precedence.
But what you can do is to be knowledgeable of and fully aware of what it entails, whether within the confines of the accident itself or the legal events that are to present themselves after. Here are expert pointers on what you should do if you or your loved ones find yourselves in a vehicular accident, and how you can find the best legal adviser to represent you.
What to Do in A Traffic Collision
1. Injury Checking
This may sound like an obvious tip to follow. It is, however, frequently disregarded as accidents tend to muddle victims’ sense of bearing. Hence, proactively get your mind out of trepidation and immediately check yourself for any injury and contact a personal injury lawyer if required.
Next, inspect the other passengers in your car. See if they, too, have or have not incurred wounds and/or trauma. Be sure to remember these details as they will help you inform emergency personnel when they arrive. It is also a way to have a rough understanding of said injuries for claim filing. The latter is crucial information you can cross-check with medical statements/bills as well.
2. Call for Help
Just as urgent as the first is that you are to call for help without delay. Contact 911. Or if you are too injured to move, ask the rest of the less injured passengers to do so. This will let medical professionals reach the scene and tend to injured passengers quickly.
Besides the fact that urgency in such situations saves lives, it is a safety measure within the context of legal filing. Delays in seeking medical attention are a typical cause for why claims are either turned down or their value decreased significantly.
Defendants and their legal representatives may utilize this piece of information against you. They may suggest that the delay in calling for assistance was done on purpose to worsen wounds and/or trauma. Due to this, a higher stake can be falsely claimed.
3. Call Law Enforcement Authorities
In many states, this is instructed as a separate guideline from contacting 911. Many times, the police arrive on the scene late, making their job of inspecting the area with much efficiency.
This is because the wasted period may have pieces of evidence tampered with. And by the time they arrive, it will be more difficult for them to retrace the cause of the accident. That, along with legally collating information regarding how to weigh claims once they are set in motion by the plaintiff.
4. Turn on Traffic Warnings
Turn hazard lights on to warn oncoming vehicles to slow down or prepare for a minor reroute around the collided vehicles. On a different note, doing so can signal said approaching automobiles to also give emergency hotlines also reach out to emergency hotlines and have their representatives reach the area promptly.
5. Exchange Contact Information With Passengers of the Other Vehicle
Do not forget to get the contact details of the other driver and/or passengers. This is your way of getting in touch with them to talk about matters surrounding the car crash. You will also have to conduct meetings with them (to be spearheaded and arranged by your lawyer) to discuss matters regarding your car accident claim.
6. Accident Documenting
Although your attorney will aid in collating documentation and evidence of the accident, you are first in line when it comes to properly archive and complete the same. In fact, legal advisors such as those from The Callahan Law Firm highly recommend that this be accomplished with expediency.
Photos, videos, victim, and witness testimonies are crucial in solidifying your claim or case. Names of victims and witnesses, police officers, emergency personnel, medical staff, etc. are to be recorded in detail. Documented statements can be recorded via video for clarity (include date and time stamps).
Take pictures of each portion of the vehicle, and at every angle. This should be supported with photos of the road and/or properties within the vicinity.
7. Copies of Documents and Evidence
Following the collation of documents and evidence is to duplicate them. Make copies of each one. Often, the loss of a piece of document of evidence can easily sway a claim or case away from the plaintiff and towards the favor of the defendant.
You do not have to observe professional protocol in making said copies. Your legal team will handle that aspect of your claim. But it will definitely be an advantage that you secure these vital details for future reference.
8. Talk to Your Lawyer, Then Your Insurer
You must be made aware of the legalities surrounding the car crash. This is indeed an occurrence that has more of an emotional and physical impact on you and your family. But in claim-filing, objective truth is what will move your claim or case forward.
It is also advisable that you have your lawyer/s with you in speaking with your insurer. This way, the claim value can be bannered without having them lower it simply because of technicalities. Technicalities that can be resolved through legal consultation and advice.
9. Non-Disclosure to All, Other Than Your Attorney
We know that sharing this traumatic incident with those whom you know is a way of lessening the weight of it over your shoulders. But we recommend that you keep details only between you and the attorneys in charge of your claim.
Letting the defendant have insight into what you and your legal team are planning in terms of the claim may his or her legal advisors insight into how they can counter it. Moreover, be wary of discussing details with claim representatives as well.
The general and safest approach is to let every conversation on the topic of the collision be in the presence of your lawyer. Supplementing this is to avoid talking about it to anybody else otherwise. At least, until the claim and/or case has been