According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes kill an average of 102 people in the United States every day. We are seeing a slight downward trend, as auto crash fatalities spiked in 2016 and decreased slightly in 2017. Most of these collisions are caused by drunk driving, speeding, distracted driving, failing to yield the right-of-way, or aggressive maneuvers, like hitting the gas to “make” a yellow light.
Bad drivers wouldn’t be so problematic if they were the only ones affected by their decisions. But, in our time as personal injury lawyers in the Boulder area, we’ve seen countless others—good and cautious drivers!—who are forced to bear the brunt of these crashes.
If you ever experience a collision with another vehicle, we want to share with you these seven things you should never do.
- Do not run from the accident. Call 911 and wait for the authorities to arrive. The fact is, if you leave the scene, there is reason for law enforcement to believe you are guilty—and fleeing the scene of a crash is a crime. The repercussions may be very serious, including criminal prosecution, jail time, fines, and possibly the loss of your license.
- Do not leave your car in the middle of a busy road. If you can, and the accident is minor, move your vehicle to the side of the road to avoid creating a traffic nightmare. This will make it faster for the police and first responders to get to you, and help avoid the creation of a secondary accident.
- Do not resist any offer to be examined for injuries. Many times, people who have been in car accidents look fine at the time but collapse hours later from internal bleeding, shock, or a traumatic brain injury. While you can decline to be put into an ambulance and sent to the emergency room if you’re not in serious, immediate danger, it is vital that you seek medical attention as soon as possible after the crash.
- Do not admit to fault. You may think you are at fault for the accident, but it is best to keep it to yourself until after you have talked to a lawyer. There are almost always extenuating circumstances that could have caused the wreck, and you don’t yet have a full picture of what happened. However, do cooperate with the police on the scene.
- Do not lie about what happened. Avoid embellishing the truth or speculating about what happened. Just stick to the facts and if you’re unsure, then say, “I’m not sure what happened” or “I’m a little confused.” The police will understand because they know the effects of trauma and physical shock.
- Do not agree to a quick settlement with the at-fault driver. The other person, if at fault, will want to get to you when you are most vulnerable, which is immediately after the accident. Do not allow yourself to be swayed, but do get their contact details and insurance policy number, record everything (using your mobile phone, if necessary), and promise to get in touch with them as soon as possible. People who don’t want to go through their insurance company usually have a record of accidents, and you need to protect yourself.
- Do not give a written (or recorded) statement to an insurance representative without first speaking to a lawyer. Insurance providers prefer paying the lowest possible amount and will use anything they can get from you to support their decision. Scheduling a quick consultation with a local attorney before agreeing to anything should help you in the long wrong, and give you a much better idea of what you’re entitled to.
After a collision with mild injuries, follow the steps above and you should be able to handle the case yourself. But if you suffer severe injuries that require an ambulance, a hospital stay, or missed work, you cannot afford to leave your future to chance. Call us and let us handle it from there.
The Tenge Law Firm, LLC, will make sure you are taken care of. If you are the victim of an auto accident in Boulder, Fort Collins, or Denver and have sustained serious injuries, we can help you. Keep our phone number—(303) 665-2929—handy in your mobile device, and contact us as soon as you are able.
2017 Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview