What to Do If You Are Injured In A Vehicle Crash Caused By Another Driver
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on November 12th, 2012
Car crashes happen every day when drivers least expect them.
But knowing what to do if you, your passengers and your vehicle are struck by a distracted, drunk, inattentive or dangerous driver piloting another vehicle is critical.
Just last week, five people were injured, including three seriously, when a speeding car ran through a stop sign in Des Moines, Wash., and plowed into another car, according to a story by KOMO News.
“All five occupants of the car that was hit were injured, including the 25-year-old female driver, who sustained potential life-threatening injuries,” the story reported. Two others in the car, a 14-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl, also sustained very serious injuries and were rushed to a local hospital. The 19-year-old driver of the car that ran the stop sign sustained minor injuries and was taken into police custody and booked with four counts of vehicular assault.
In Chico, Calif., an 18-year-old driver was “looking at another car crash, saw the small car in front of him too late, and couldn’t stop before he allegedly rammed into it, causing major injuries to two teen passengers,” according to a story in the Chico Enterprise-Record. One of the passengers suffered a broken jaw.
And in Janesville, Wis., a woman was arrested on a tentative charge of causing injury by drunken driving after she crashed into a bridge early Sunday morning, injuring herself and a passenger, according to a story in The Wisconsin State Journal.
The driver’s vehicle “was traveling at high speed on West Milwaukee Street when she jumped the south side curb, went into the sidewalk and struck the bridge railing,” according to the story. “The vehicle then spun around with the rear striking the railing before it came to rest facing northbound on the sidewalk. The vehicle and railing were severely damaged.”
If you are involved in a vehicle crash like these, caused by another driver whose vehicle strikes your vehicle while you are operating it, then there are several things for you to keep in mind while you wait for law enforcement officials to respond to the crash.
Staying calm and aware of the situation is one of the best steps you can take, according to a list of tips provided by the American Automobile Association (AAA).
Drivers should follow some basic procedures after an accident, Dr. William Van Tassel, manager of AAA Driver Training Programs, said in a statement. “It does not matter who is at fault, the most important thing to do first is make sure everyone is OK, then seek medical and law enforcement help and know what to do to protect yourself from legal or financial problems down the road.”
First, be prepared by having a pen and paper, disposable camera or cell phone camera, and a copy of your insurance card easily accessible to minimize your stress if an accident occurs, according to AAA.
If anyone is injured due to the crash, you should call 9-1-1 immediately. If medical attention is not needed, make sure your vehicle and any other vehicles are out of the way or are moved out of the way of other motorists who are driving nearby to prevent other vehicles from being involved in the crash.
Use your vehicle’s hazard lights and set out warning flares or reflective triangles to let other drivers know to use caution near the scene. Wait in a safe area until police arrive.
Definitely call the police and file a report, regardless of what other drivers say, according to AAA. “If the police do not come to the scene to open an investigation, you can file a report by visiting a local police department or automobile insurance agency in the days after a crash,” AAA recommends. “Having a report on file may help later if a liability claim is filed.”
Be sure to exchange and write down all identifying information for all other drivers, as well as from any witnesses. This information will be needed for insurance claims and any legal actions. Make sure you write down all names, addresses, email addresses, vehicle information including makes, models and years for all cars involved, vehicle identification and license plate numbers for all vehicles and the driver’s license numbers for all involved operators. Also be sure to get the names of all insurance companies of other drivers, as well as their insurance policy numbers. It’s also important to use your cellphone camera or another camera to take photos of the location, people involved and of the damaged vehicles to document the crash, if you are able to do so.
After the accident has been documented with police and you have recorded information for other drivers, be sure to report the incident to your insurance company to begin a claim. Many insurance companies today have staff available 24/7 and can assist immediately. Have your agent’s phone number in your cellphone for such emergencies.
Obviously, if you have been seriously injured you won’t be able to take the steps listed above. Most of that information will be available later through police reports and insurance documents.
Knowing what to do ahead of time, however, can make the post-crash process simpler later.
We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle accident caused by another driver anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.
Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.
When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.