If an individual is involved in an automobile accident with injuries or property damages, they need to immediately inform law enforcement and their insurance company. It is important to remain at the accident scene, as fleeing may result in a hit and run charge and criminal penalties. If an individual needs to seek medical attention because they sustained injuries, they should call for medical assistance right away.
Contacting law enforcement will help accurately record all of the information from the accident scene. An individual can later request a police report with this information.
It is also helpful to exchange information regarding the other driver’s insurance and license plates. This information will be useful when filing a car accident claim.
Determining which party is at fault for the accident and will be required to pay for the damages varies by jurisdiction and depends on the type of insurance an individual’s state requires. In some states, there are at-fault laws and in others there are no-fault laws for automobile accident insurance claims.
There are a few states which provide the policyholder with a choice between the two. It is essential for the individual to inform their insurance company and provide as much accurate information as possible.
It is important to be careful not to admit fault even when another party insists on it. An individual’s obligation is to report the accident. Many states require this obligation under the law.
What are Some Automobile Accident Statistics?
Automobile accidents occur every day. Even a minor accident may result in severe injuries and high repair costs.
Discussed below are some helpful statistics regarding automobile accidents that can help you stay informed regarding the danger and seriousness of an accident.
What Does it Take for There to be an Accident?
Studies show that an individual may suffer a neck injury from an accident which occurs when a vehicle is going as slow as 5 miles per hour (mph). Although an individual can suffer an injury at this speed, other studies have shown that most vehicles will be damaged in an accident where they are traveling 10 mph or faster.
Are Injuries Prevalent Right Away?
No, injuries are not prevalent right away. In other words, symptoms of the injury may develop at a later time. Although symptoms may be delayed, an injury may still be severe. Studies have shown that symptoms may remain with an individual long after an accident, sometimes for months or even years.
What are Some Numbers about Auto Accidents?
There are numerous statistics related to automobile accidents. Some of the most important include:
- According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), there were approximately 6,560,680 automobile accidents in 2019;
- These automobile accidents resulted in 36,096 fatalities;
- There were 27.4 million individuals who were injured in these automobile accidents;
- Seatbelts were not worn in 53% of the fatalities;
- 10,142 of the fatalities were alcohol related;
- Statistically speaking, every driver will be involved in 1 automobile accident in their lifetime;
- The cost of automobile accidents per year is in the hundreds of billions; and
- Studies have found that 10% of all automobile accident victims become disabled as a result of the accident.
Can Anything be Done to Reduce the Likelihood of an Automobile Accident?
Yes, there are many things which can be done to reduce the likelihood of an automobile accident. The majority of accidents occur when a driver is tired, distracted, or intoxicated.
The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration has reported the following statistics for how often a driver is distracted by various activities:
- 81% – talking to passengers;
- 66% – playing with the radio or CD player;
- 49% – eating or drinking; and
- 25% – on a cellular phone.
What Information Do I Need After an Accident Has Occurred?
In general, the majority of states have their own car accident forms available at the local DMV or police department. The purpose of this form is to gather all of the necessary information which is needed to report the car accident.
It may be helpful to review a form and collect the necessary information in case an individual is involved in an automobile accident. Information which is required to file a proper insurance claim includes:
- Information about what happened;
- Information about the driver, including their:
- address; and
- contact information; and
- Information for insurance.
Important information which needs to be collected after a car accident includes:
- The date and time of the accident;
- The address of the accident;
- The direction the individual’s car was traveling and the direction of the other car;
- Photographs of the accident scene for record purposes;
- Writing exactly happened before and during the collision and try to record as many details as possible to ensure that all the accurate information is recorded;
- The driving visibility and the weather;
- The names and contact information of any witnesses;
- Information about the passengers in the vehicles, including their contact information; and
- The contact information of the law enforcement officer who is dispatched at the accident scene.
What are Some Common Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries?
Injuries which are sustained from a motor vehicle accident are often very specific. For example, whiplash is one of the most common injuries which individuals involved in car accidents suffer. Symptoms may persist for up to several weeks following an accident.
Whiplash is a term for ligament, tendon, or muscle injuries which are caused by the severe jerk of the head and neck. There are also other common types of injuries an individual may sustain in an automobile accident, including:
- Scrapes, cuts, and lacerations;
- Head and neck injuries;
- Internal bleeding;
- Back pain or herniated discs;
- Sprains, fractures, and broken bones; and
- Psychological or emotional pain, such as:
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
- flashbacks; and
survivor’s remorse or guilt.
An individual who is injured in a vehicle accident should ensure they keep an organized record of any information related to the accident. For example, if the individual had to go to the hospital to be treated for injuries immediately following the accident, they should request a copy of their hospital records as well as any related bills or receipts. This information may be used as evidence if the individual decides to file a lawsuit.
It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible, as they will have expert witnesses who are trained medical professionals that can appear on an individual’s behalf to testify regarding their injuries. A medical professional can also determine if the injuries stemmed from the accident or were pre-existing, which may be used as a defense if an individual is being sued as a result of an accident.
I Have Been Involved in an Automobile Accident, Do I Need a Lawyer?
It is essential to contact a personal injury lawyer if you have been involved in an automobile accident. An automobile accident can be a draining experience, both emotionally and financially.
You will have to deal with your insurance company and medical facilities, in some cases, while you are still recovering from your injuries. There are also numerous strict procedural requirements which must be met and various laws you must follow to avoid having your claim barred.
An experienced car accident lawyer can relieve some of your burden and assist you with all legal aspects of the accident. Your lawyer can inform you of your rights and advise you regarding whether or not you should file a lawsuit against the other driver.
Your lawyer can also advise you of your options for legal recourse and the potential remedies you may receive based on what option you choose. If you have to go to court for a lawsuit, your lawyer will represent you. If a settlement is possible, your lawyer will represent you during negotiations and ensure you receive an appropriate amount of damages to compensate you for your injuries and losses.