A simple accident can easily create a chain of complex legal situations and questions no one wants to ask. Of course, you don’t want to be involved in such a life-changing experience. Even so, automobile accidents in the US are a frequent source of life-threatening injuries and you should be prepared for the consequences if you find yourself in one such mess. If the accident was minor but you suffered an injury when you were rear-ended after the vehicle behind you was also hit, you do have legal options.
What caused my accident?
The high speeds of highway driving can result in multi-vehicle pileups because of weather, intoxication, drowsiness, falling asleep at the wheel, texting, speeding, or just plain old reckless driving. Before you can make an insurance claim or file a personal injury lawsuit, the authorities will need to ensure that your own driving was not the cause of the accident.
This is rarely the case, and the cars behind you are most often tailgating. Still, as a driver you have a “duty of care” that places the responsibility of safe driving squarely on your own shoulders. If you were not following safe standards of driving, then your chances of a successful claim can be reduced. To prevent this outcome, it is imperative that you quickly find an experienced personal injury attorney to help you wade through the details of your case. This attorney will also help you sort through evidence and communicate with law enforcement and insurance adjusters prior to a potential lawsuit.
What do I do when I’m rear-ended?
As with any accident, there are certain procedures you should always follow if you were rear-ended after the person behind you was hit.
- Call the police. Inform any authorities at the scene that you would like to speak with your attorney when interviewed, and limit the information you provide beforehand. Even though you may not be suspected of any wrongdoing, you still have the right to remain silent. Because the shock of an automobile accident can result in a great deal of misinformation, it is often best if you take advantage of this right. Your lawyer will guide you through the process of providing accurate information.
- Photograph the vehicles involved. The police will do the same during their investigation, and their photographs may be used in court if criminal charges are levied against the individual or individuals who caused the accident. Your lawyer will want to analyze your photographs and theirs to ensure that all the stories match up.
- Trade insurance information if it is safe to do so. The police will help make sure this process goes smoothly and safely, and in the event it does not, or someone is unwilling or unable to provide insurance information, then your attorney will work with your insurance company to ensure compensation.
- Photograph your injuries. Use a folder to create a visual timeline or your injuries. Try to take pictures at the scene, after you receive medical attention, and in the days following the accident. This will help your attorney if you file a personal injury lawsuit. Don’t forget to keep track of your state of mind. Your mental distress is as much a factor in liability claims as is your physical well-being.
There are nearly six million vehicular accidents each year, or one every sixty seconds. Roughly a third of these involve more than one vehicle. These are more deadly, and the survivors often incur greater injuries. That’s why it’s so important to know what to do when you’re in a car accident, especially if that accident involves more than two drivers and can result in more than one driver accused of being at least partially at fault. Either way, do what’s best for you, and find a personal injury attorney to handle your claim!
About The Author: Randall F. Rogers is a personal injury lawyer that practices in the small suburb of Marietta, outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Originally working at a large firm, he left to work on his own, so he could work closely with individuals and help them seek justice. When not walking to and from the court house, he can be seen discussing gardening with the community or reading a book from his favorite author Henry David Thoreau.