Sadly, over 35,000 people die in road crashes annually and these crashes also leave over two million people injured or disabled. If you or your loved ones have been affected by a car accident, you know how terrifying and painful the experience can be, especially if a loved one has died wrongfully at the hands of another driver. Indeed, a car crash is the main cause of death from traumatic brain injury and those rates are highest for those between 20-24 years of age. There are certain steps you should always take when in a car accident and afterwards to make sure that the appropriate legal steps are being followed, especially if there was a death or serious injury. You may want to consult a legal professional, such as an attorney or lawyer, regardless of which side of the crash you were on.
If You’re the Driver In a Car Crash…
- You should never drive away from the scene of the accident. There can be even more serious consequences for a hit-and-run type of accident than for a regular accident, even if you were under the influence at the time.
- Call 911 and the Police. A report will need to be filed — both for legal reasons, but also for insurance purposes. Try and stay calm. It can be difficult to do after a traumatic event, but simply give them the facts as they happened. Try to not admit guilt, as whatever you say could be used against you at a later date.
- Take down records of what happened and information. Swap information — personal and insurance related — with the other party (or parties) involved if possible. Take photos of the accident and of the police officer’s badge and name. Don’t get rid of any paperwork — you never know what might come in handy later on down the line.
If You’re the Victim of a Car Crash…
- The same rules apply as for the driver, above. However, if you are hurt, you should immediately go see a physician to get checked out. Shock can often numb injuries until later, so it’s important to make sure that there are no internal injuries or anything more serious than what’s on the surface. This can also help your case with insurance.
- You should also seek out a personal injury lawyer before starting insurance paperwork. Make sure you keep good track of any expenses accrued as a result of your accident, as you may be able to recoup those with your lawyer’s help.
- Take action immediately if you’re filing a personal injury suit, to avoid tangling with your state’s statute of limitations.
How Do I Find a Good Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you know others who have been in a similar situation, talk to them. Did they retain a lawyer? Can they recommend a lawyer to you? What were their experiences like? Personal recommendation is always one of the strongest ways to get a good lawyer that you’ll be satisfied with.
Your state’s bar association should also have some recommendations for you if necessary and you should be able to research more lawyers and their firms online. In some cases, notable lawyers in their field might already be known to you, and you can reach out to their offices.
Don’t be afraid to add a personal note — give them a call or set up a meeting to see who you think might be the best fit for your case. In person meetings can often be important, as you’ll see how you’ll work together.
A car crash can have serious consequences for both parties and is not something to be taken lightly. Know what to do in the event of a car crash ahead of time and be prepared. Remember that driving under the influence can have serious repercussions legally and personally. Even if you stay safe and follow the rules of the road, you should always be prepared for those who don’t.