Car accidents are always unexpected, and it’s difficult to be prepared when one occurs. If it happens to you it may be physically, financially and psychologically devastating. Resulting injuries, pain and suffering, and lack of understanding of the laws can be frustrating and overwhelming at a time when you are most vulnerable. You’ll want someone to looking out for you and your best interests. Our team of experienced car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for your rights and make sure you are treated justly.
Automobile accidents occur for a variety of reasons. Driving too fast, intoxication from alcohol or drugs, driver exhaustion, poor weather, mechanical problems and distracted drivers are only some examples of many possibilities. The stats are scary and the effects life altering. Don’t let your or your family’s lives be ruined by the carelessness of another person.
Tens of thousands of individuals are killed in car accidents annually. Many more are hurt. The trauma is often severe and too often deadly. Surgical procedures, hospital stays and rehab treatments lead to tremendous financial costs. With the growing amount of cars on the roads every year, car and truck accidents are sadly becoming far too frequent.
The US averages six million car and truck accidents every single year. Over three million individuals get hurt, and over two million of these injuries end up permanent. We receive calls every day from people who’ve endured pain and suffering because of the negligence of another person. The Anzalone Law Offices believe that if motorists drive more responsibly, the vast majority of these accidents could be prevented.
Causes of Car Accidents
There are many reasons car accidents occur ranging from driver error to defective car parts. Defective brakes, tires, steering columns, and other manufacturing defects have caused many accidents. Other accidents are caused by drunk driving, tired drivers, distracted drivers, or just irresponsible drivers ignoring the laws of the roads. Incomprehensible street signs, roads in poor condition, and roadway obstacles also cause many car and truck accidents. A car accident lawyer can determine if another person is responsible for your accident and can provide further knowledge of the various causes of accidents and how they may affect your case.
Some examples of car accident causes include:
- Cell Phones & Texting Accidents
- Dangerous Road Hazards Accidents
- Drunk Driving Accidents
- Product Defects
- Semi-Truck / Tractor Trailers
- Teen Drivers
- Winter Weather Conditions
- Work Zone Accidents
What to Do After a Car Accident
If you have been in an automobile accident you undoubtedly know it can be a confusing, trying time. Also, it’s difficult to know what to do first. We’ve put together a checklist outlining important steps to take right after an accident occurs. This will help you be better prepared. Please do not hesitate to print these pages out and keep it in your car for easy access in the case an unfortunate accident does occur.
- Stay right where you are. Remain at the scene of the accident, even if your car can still be driven. Certain state regulations demand that all involved parties stay at the location of the accident until law enforcement arrives. That said, you are allowed to move your vehicle if it is blocking the road or obstructing traffic in any way. If you are seriously injured, stay in your vehicle until help arrives!
- Call the Police & Get Medical Help. Immediately call the police or dial 911 for help if anyone is injured and needs medical assistance. Be sure to inform the police if any involved parties appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even if there are no injuries in the accident, a police report usually needs to be filed before an insurance company will consider covering accident claims, so you should always call the police. When everyone is out of harm’s way, you can then get any other information you’ll need.
In the case of a serious injury, you’ll be immediately transported to a hospital’s emergency room. Even if you are not seriously injured, be aware that you may still have an injury that has yet to manifest symptoms. Injuries like whiplash often don’t become evident until later on. Other internal injuries are similar. Notify your doctor if you begin to notice any injury symptoms after the crash. You’ll want to make sure you get checked out and receive any appropriate follow-up care and instructions.
If you experience any pain or sudden symptoms hours after an accident, alert your doctor immediately. Some injuries do not present themselves for 24-36 hours after incident, and not getting medical care can have serious consequences. For example, a serious back injury may start out as a twinge or a minor ache. Such an injury left untreated can become a serious health problem as it progresses. Insurance companies require evidence that your injuries were related to the accident, so it is important these injuries are diagnosed promptly and treated as soon as possible.
- Talk to witnesses at the scene. Witnesses may leave the scene of an accident without penalty because laws don’t require them to stay. Nonetheless, try to speak to any present witnesses and get their phone number(s). If necessary, this can help provide a 3rd party point of view of what happened. If you file a lawsuit, an additional confirmation of your story may make an impact in the outcome of the case. When medical workers and/or any police officers arrive at the scene, retrieve their names and a form of identification such as a badge number.
- Ask Questions and Retrieve Information:
- Get the full names, phone numbers, and addresses of all involved parties. This includes drivers, passengers, and any witnesses or involved pedestrians.
- Find out if anyone else is injured, and take note of anyone that says they are uninjured or says “I am fine” or “I am OK”.
- Take notes about the accident itself. How was the weather? How was the lighting? Are vehicles damaged? Were any vehicles already damaged before the accident took place? Did any of the vehicles have non-functional brake lights, headlights, tail lights, etc.? Are any of the involved vehicles owned by a company?If other vehicles are involved, get relevant information such as make, model, color, license plate, and state of registration.
- Be sure to get the names, phone number, and address of any involved vehicles’ registered owner(s). Also be sure to get insurance information from all drivers involved.
- Note if anyone takes blame for the accident at the scene. (Important: Never take blame for the accident at the scene even if you believe it to be your fault! This is not your determination to make.
- Take Pictures & Protect Evidence: Don’t move the cars (unless their position is dangerous) until you take pictures of their positions. These details are very important for the police to complete their accident report. If possible, get a camera or use your cellphone to take as many photos as possible of the accident scene. This includes: other people involved, other vehicles, and anything else which may have influenced the accident. The most valuable photographs are those taken closest to the time of the accident, but be sure to address any injuries first. If you don’t have a camera or cell phone, it may be possible to get a disposable camera at a neighborhood convenience shop. If necessary, consider asking a bystander or other passenger to purchase one for you. Remember to take photographs of the damage to all vehicles. Also take pictures of license plates and any other potentially relevant evidence such as street lights, skid marks, road signs etc.
A lawyer may also be able to help by sending someone to the scene to take pictures. Make sure you also inform your lawyer about any other items you think may be important. Calling a lawyer at this point can be especially helpful as he/she may be able to point out other evidence that requires pictures.
- Consider calling an attorney. You might wish to contact an experienced and qualified car accident lawyer to represent you legally. Most lawyers can answer any of your concerns over the telephone and provide free consultations or perform on a pro bono or contingency basis.
- Call your insurance company to report the accident. Your insurance company can’t get to work on your claim until you let them know what happened; however, consider contacting a personal injury attorney before giving statements to an insurance company. Read on for more reasons why this is so important.
A car accident can be a challenging experience no matter when or where it happens, but if you understand what to do after an accident, you will feel less anxious should one occur. If you would like additional information, or if you have already been in an accident and want to discuss your personal injury case with an attorney, call us today. If we can’t take your case, we’ll work to find you a lawyer that best suits your individual needs.
How to Work with Insurance Companies
When working with another motorist’s automobile insurance company, the most important advice we can give you is: do not say anything, and do not do anything. The other person’s car insurance company will do everything within their power to settle your case for less than it’s worth, regardless of your innocence as a victim. Be assured, they aren’t looking out for your best interests. An insurance company shouldn’t take advantage of you, but it is one of our most commonly heard complaints. Protect your rights by speaking with an attorney first.
It’s sad to say, but you can’t trust another driver’s insurance company. When dealing with an insurance company, you really only get one chance. If you make an erroneous statement, sign the wrong paper, or even use the wrong words, your case can be ruined, even if you were not at fault.
These are reasons why it is so important to consult an attorney before you sign any documents or provide a recorded statement to the car insurance company. They may even make claims like saying your statement being necessary for “accuracy purposes”. These words can be twisted and used against you later on. Don’t say anything. You ought to be mindful of other insurance company tricks of the trade, otherwise you risk losing out on the settlement you deserve. The bottom line is that an insurance company is a business. They have stockholders. They exist to make money. They will try to settle your claim for the lowest amount possible.
Can you trust your car own insurance provider? It is important to discuss an accident with your own insurance company. Your own car insurance company may assist you with rental cars, repairs, and other concerns you may have. Still, be cautious about what you say and certainly what you sign. You will want to speak to an experienced lawyer about what types of things that you should and shouldn’t say to your insurer when notifying them about your accident.
How do I protect my rights?
Your rights can be protected by adhering to these guidelines:
Do not admit blame at the scene of the accident with the police or other motorists. If you do have a potential lawsuit, anything said at the scene can be used against you. Remember your right to remain silent. You are not qualified to determine whether or not the accident was your own fault even if you believe it to be true. It is possible that the other driver was at fault or that you are equally at fault. Be forthcoming with the police at the scene about the facts only. Never offer the opinion that you were at fault.
Do not sign papers nor agree to pay any damages. You pay premiums for insurance coverage. Let the insurance company decide appropriate expenses to pay. Rely on their expertise.
Never say you are OK at the scene and do not downplay the severity of your injuries. Unless you are a doctor, you probably aren’t qualified to diagnose the severity of your injuries. Some injuries can take hours, days, or even longer to manifest. After an accident, you’ll likely experience an adrenaline rush that helps suppress pain. This pain only becomes evident once you’ve calmed down after the crash. It’s much safer to say you aren’t sure about your injuries and that you want to see a doctor. If a police officer or medical personnel at the scene offers to call you an ambulance, consider taking advantage of the offer if you are in any pain, feel faint, or generally unwell.
Do not speak to the other drivers’ insurance company about details – contact an attorney first. The other driver’s insurance company doesn’t have the right to ask detailed questions about the accident or your injuries. They’ll be sure to contact you as soon as possible, preferring to get a statement from you before you hire an attorney. Remember, everything you say can be used against you. It’s best not to say anything until you consult with a lawyer.
Do not accept any sort of financial compensation or settlement before you have finished treatment for your injuries. Decline any compensation offered right away for your injuries. It is possible that in a few weeks or months, your injuries may worsen or new injuries arise thus increasing costs. Once a settlement occurs, there’s no going back for more. The insurance company may try to convince you otherwise.
Avoid hiring a “Family Attorney” for an injury case. You may already have a family attorney that you’ve used for other matters. Lawyers that specialize in real estate, domestic matters, wills, etc., don’t necessarily have the experience necessary to handle a personal injury case. Many lawyers specialize only in injury cases, and their expertise can make a huge difference if your case goes to trial.
Contact us for a free legal evaluation. If you have a car accident case, we’ll make sure the process from start to finish is as easy and painless as possible.
We’ll answer all of your questions and do everything we can to help. If you decide to hire us to represent you after receiving your free legal evaluation, we’ll start working right away. We want to ensure a positive outcome for both you and your family. Every day, people just like you are injured in car or truck accidents. Often, it creates a financial burden with medical bills piling up and days of work missed. Call 888-496-3498 or fill out the form on the top of our web pages and get your free consultation. We’re here to help.