Keep Your Wits After A Car Crash

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Given how rare being in an automobile collision is for most people, it’s easy for drivers to make some missteps in the aftermath of a wreck. The Bernard Law Group hopes to help people out by providing tips on what an individual can do after they gather their senses.

... not all drivers are taking the proper steps in the immediate wake of a collision.

Even as cars get safer, traffic collisions still happen. Texting at the wheel is more ubiquitous than ever, traffic jams contribute to poor decisions, and intoxicated driving is still a very real threat.

Understanding crashes requires a closer look at the available statistics, and for that, we have the government of the state of Washington to thank. Their 2012 Washington State Annual Collision Summary, available at this link, shows just how susceptible drivers are to danger. Even in April, the month with the least amount of collisions, there was a daily average of 235 crashes. For the entire year, Washington came in at just under 100,000 incidents.

Given these statistics, drivers have to be prepared for the worst, and that’s where the Bernard Law Group comes in. Having served injured persons for more than 30 years via his position as a Seattle personal injury attorney, Kirk Bernard has been able to take note of a recent dilemma that he wants all drivers to be aware of:

“If you drive for any period of time,” said Mr. Bernard, “the odds are that you’re going to be in a crash. Unfortunately, we’ve begun to notice that not all drivers are taking the proper steps in the immediate wake of a collision. This can prove harmful down the road, when a single miscue can come back to haunt someone trying to secure their rightful compensation in an auto accident lawsuit.”

The Bernard Law Group has compiled tips that all drivers involved in a crash should exercise, no matter how serious the crash.

•Identify Serious Injuries- If the crash is significant, then an immediate call to 911 must be placed, so long as doing so is even possible. Check on the other party to make sure they are alright. If all parties have avoided immediate trauma, then move on to further steps.

•Contact The Police- This is one of the first steps that people miss when they’re in what seems like an insignificant wreck. Every fender bender, no matter how small, should come with an attendant police report. Merely exchanging insurance information isn’t good enough. By getting the cops involved, an accident victim can get an official record that has the backing of a law enforcement entity.

•Document The Damage- While waiting for police, take out a Smartphone or a camera and take photos or video of the damage to both your vehicle and the other vehicles involved. This offers protection if an insurance company later attempts to cast doubt on an accident victim’s claims. When documenting the scene, don’t forget about interior damage, tire tracks in the road, nearby structural damage, and any visible injuries sustained. It is a good idea to carry a disposable camera in your glove box as a backup to your Smartphone or camera in case they are not readily available.

•Avoid Apologetic Statements- It’s human nature to want to say things along the lines of “I’m sorry,” even if the responsibility for the wreck lies with someone else. But when such statements are made, it can wind up undermining future liability claims. When speaking with an insurance agent, they’ll ask a driver if he or she said, “I’m sorry,” and then use that heat-of-the-moment utterance to try and establish fault. It’s best to remain quiet until after a lawyer has been contacted.

•Go To The Doctor- Even persons who feel fine would be wise to visit the doctor as soon as possible. For the same reason that you get the cops involved, you want a medical professional available who can attest to the impact of any injuries. The sooner that happens, the less likely it is that an insurance company or some other party will attempt to dispute the severity or cause of those injuries.

•Get The Vehicle Repaired- Again, the sooner the better, as it’s important to establish that all repairs were the result of the crash in question and not some other incident that could have been covered up. This also allows you to get an estimate that can be turned in with an insurance claim.

•Speak With An Auto Accident Lawyer- Even those who don’t think they’ll need to file a personal injury claim should at least speak with a lawyer. Most practices, including the Bernard Law Group, offer free consultations so that people can get a sense of whether or not a lawsuit would be applicable. Take advantage of this right as an accident victim.

Kirk Bernard has been protecting the rights of Washington personal injury victims for 30 years, achieving landmark court victories and settlements in the process. The Bernard Law Group provides legal representation for those injured in car crashes, bicycle collisions, workplace accidents, medical malpractice situations, defective drug incidents, premises liability cases, and more. Persons interested in a free consultation can click over to Bernard Law’s website to learn more.

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Megan Castello
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