Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What Do I Do If I'm In An Accident?

Getting into an accident is traumatic in and of itself. The shock of collision happening, the concern for your health and that of your passengers, the loss of a vehicle, so on and so on. This is a list of considerations that will help you face that difficult time:

1. Health: Your health is always a first priority: Seek immediate medical attention. Car accidents can be very traumatic and startling events. The excitement and shock of the moment will often mask symptoms of a neck, back or other injury that will last much longer than the accident's initial shock.

2. Do not admit fault: While you may be partially at fault, that does not preclude the fact that other circumstances, drivers or conditions contributed to the harm or made the accident more dangerous than it otherwise would have been. Therefore, until the accident can be evaluated in it’s entirety, it is best to not admit any wrongdoing up front.

3. Witnesses: Write down names, addresses and phone numbers of all available witnesses. In seeking justice, it is essential to paint an accurate picture of the circumstances surrounding the incident. The more facts available, the better.

4. Police: Call for the police and ask officers to write an accident report. Often one or both parties will suggest that you “take care of it yourselves." Too often, the story will all of the sudden dramatically change once the insurance companies are involved, or at a minimum, memories of the accident will slowly begin to fade or change. Protect yourself. Have the police get it down on paper.

5. Leave the cars where they end up: Try not to move cars until the police arrive, unless the vehicles impede traffic, create a dangerous situation, or you are required to by law.

6. Other drivers’ information: Ask for other drivers’ names, addresses, and insurance information. Does the name on the insurance car match the name of the driver? If not, what is their relationship?

7. License plates: Write down all relevant license plate numbers.

8. Call your insurance company: Inform your insurance carrier. Even if you are not at fault, your insurance carrier will be interested in ensuring that the responsible insurance company covers the cost of your vehicle and necessary medical expenses. This is one of the most effective ways to ensure a quick insurance company response from the responsible party.

9. Take photos: Use your cell-phone camera (or other camera) to photograph injuries, damage, skid marks, and other relevant images.

10. Social Networking Sites: Make all of your social network media sites ‘private’ and do no allow new ‘friends.’ It is wise to cease using these sites altogether until any dispute is resolved. A recent phenomena in the insurance and legal community is to use online postings regarding events just prior to or after the accident against you in subsequent proceedings. In an attempt to limit that exposure, it is better to control who might have access to those sites. Again, the most effective method is to take them down completely.

11. Contact Attorney Adam Barlow before you give any statements to the insurance company.

Adam W. Barlow, Esq.
Adam Barlow Law, P.C.
480-461-0533 (Fax)

I've never used a Personal Injury Lawyer

"I’ve never used a personal injury lawyer, the last thing I want is an ambulance chaser!"

After most car accidents, the most pressing concern for a majority of people is getting their car fixed or replaced. After all, life comes to a screeching halt the moment that you can no longer get to work, run the kids to day care, or get any place that life’s demands require of you.

Once the bumper is replaced, the frame is straightened out, or the shiny new car is in the driveway, most car accident victims are satisfied that all is well. Sure there might be an uncomfortable tightness in the neck, or a new twinge in the lower back, but you've experienced worse...right? After all, this new headache won't last forever.

TV shows and late night personal injury commercials depict gruesome images of catastrophic forty car pileups with bodies strewn about the road. As a society we are led to believe that these are the only injuries that matter, the only injuries that merit the involvement of a lawyer. While certainly those situations would merit the involvement of a personal injury attorney, a small pain in the lower back, the neck or injuries involving the spine can have long term and lasting effects when proper treatment is neglected.

Consider these excerpts from WebMD:

“Surprisingly, the speed of the cars involved in the accident or the amount of physical damage to the car may not relate to the intensity of neck injury. Speeds as low as 15 miles per hour can produce enough energy to cause whiplash in a passenger in your car, whether or not they are wearing a seat belt.”

“These signs and symptoms may occur immediately or minutes to hours after the initial injury. The sooner after the injury that symptoms develop, the greater the chance of serious damage: neck pain, neck swelling, tenderness along the back of your neck, muscle spasms (in the side or back of your neck), difficulty moving your neck around, headache, pain shooting from your neck into either shoulder or arm.”

Often the victim is concerned about being able to pay the doctor's fee. Rather than having to hassle with co-pays and medical insurance coverage, the victim would rather take their chances with healing on their own. This is a risk that a victim should not be faced with. A personal injury attorney can help you avoid taking such a risk.

Consider the situation where you find yourself in an accident, and the other party was “at-fault.” We can all agree that in an ideal world, the just and correct thing to do would be to put you in a position as though the accident had never occurred. Unfortunately, we cannot turn back the clock. We cannot take away the pain, give you back your missed days of work, or make sure your kids made it to soccer practice. The only legitimate resource we have to attempt to make it close to equal is money. It sounds callous, almost greedy. But the reality is that we simply cannot restore any party to a pre-accident condition. No one pretends to believe, the legal profession included, that money will magically make you whole. However it will help to soften the blow; it does make it possible for you to cover the costs of medical bills you have or will have and allow for you to be compensated for any injuries you would not have otherwise sustained.

Do not let the cost of treating a neck or back injury deter you from being properly cared for. Life is too long and too valuable to spend future years in pain because of what seemed to be a minor injury at the time.

As a personal injury attorney, I do not charge for my services until I recover for you. I aggressively work on your behalf. I want you to be as close as possible to your pre-accident condition, and I will fight to get you there.

Attorney Adam Barlow
602-688-4LAW (4529)