Whether you’ve been at the wheel during or been a passenger during a car crash, or have never experienced one, chances are you’ll have to deal with the repercussions of a collision at some point in your life. An article by Safety America titled “100+ Car Accident Statistics for 2019” paints a vivid picture of the risks of driving in America. The article doesn’t include solutions or advice for those who have been affected by auto collisions, so I decided to focus on five of the statistics and provide some resources.
“In 2010, the cost of medical care and productivity losses due to injuries from car accidents was more than $99 billion – nearly $500 for each licensed US driver.”
A car crash impacts the lives of drivers, passengers, anyone whose property is damaged, and anyone nearby who is injured. These impacts can be in the form of personal injuries, trauma (both physical and emotional), loss of work productivity, and property damages. Through the help of a personal injury lawyer, many of these damages can be recovered. This process can be long and painful, but there are steps you can take immediately after experiencing a collision to improve your chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit:
- Call the police. Having an official record of what happened as early as possible and from your point of view will help to keep your story straight as you deal with the shock of being in a collision.
- Collect the contact and insurance information for any other drivers involved. If you have suffered damages, their insurance is more likely to provide compensation than the drivers themselves. If the driver refuses to provide their insurance, write down their license plate number and details about their car in case they decide to leave before the police arrive.
- Record what happened as quickly as possible. Take photos and videos of the damages and surrounding conditions.
- Talk with witnesses at the scene. Get their contact information and ask if they’re ok answering questions from your insurance company or a personal injury lawyer. Witnesses can provide vital outside interpretations of the situation and details the drivers may have missed.
- While the police are collecting your statement, make sure to be honest, but do not admit fault. If a lawsuit is filed, you can read the police report and help you identify who was at fault. If you admit fault in the police report, you or your insurance may be forced to pay damages to the other party, even if they were actually further in the wrong than you.
- Avoid speaking with any insurance company other than your own, and never give a statement without first consulting your lawyer or insurance company. The other insurance company wants to minimize their payment to you, and a misunderstood question or statement can be the difference between receiving compensation and having to pay it.
Seeking compensation is complicated from any position within a vehicle accident lawsuit, and things get even more complicated when factors such as family, lack of insurance, or rideshares are involved. Contact a personal injury lawyer if you require further information or support regarding your vehicle accident lawsuit.
“On average, about two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.”
Drunk driving, or driving while under the influence of drugs, is a danger to everyone. In 2016, 30 percent of drivers involved in a fatal night-time crash was drunk. Whether you were under the influence or the other driver was, or even if you were the passenger during a DUI, you should know how to respond in the case of a collision.
If you were not the one under the influence when the collision occurred, you are eligible for compensation. To get that compensation, you have to file a personal injury lawsuit, which is a completely separate process from the accused driver’s DUI prosecution. Both cases will require such pieces of evidence like police reports, breathalyzer/blood/sobriety tests, and witness testimony.
As a passenger, you are sometimes expected to be aware and responsible when the driver is drunk. If you allow your friend, family member, or the person driving to continue to drive despite them being drunk you might face legal repercussions. Laws vary state to state, so research your local laws and try to avoid being a passenger during a DUI.
If you have been caught driving drunk, you’re going to need help. Either you were unfairly slapped with a DUI charge, or you really were driving while under the influence, but either way you could use a good DUI lawyer. A good lawyer can help explain the penalties of your state and how to avoid a conviction that will hurt you more than it helps anyone else.
“It takes only 3 seconds after a driver has been distracted for a crash to occur.”
Driving is an activity that requires one’s full attention, but the statistics show that drivers are not always focused. Mobile phones are often cited as the reason drivers are so distracted these days, but things other than the road have been catching the attention of drivers since long before even the car-phone was invented. Conversation, navigation, eating, and adjusting music all play their roles in distracted driving. Ways to avoid distracted driving include:
- Pulling over in a safe area to take phone calls, eat meals, have arguments, and do things you can’t do while driving
- Having a designated passenger to change the music, provide navigation, and answer texts
- Installing a voice-command system in your car so that you can remain hands-free when interacting with your car and/or devices
If you have been in an accident as a result of distracted driving, whether the other driver, you, or both of you were distracted, you can receive compensation for any injury or damages you may have experienced. Depending on where you are, you can receive compensation for damages even if you were partially at fault. Some states have a “comparative fault” doctrine, in which the plaintiff can receive compensation even if they are found partially at fault. Their damage pay-out may be reduced the judge and jury present. A personal injury lawyer is the best person to talk to to learn your options in a distracted driving lawsuit.
“The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16-19-year-olds than among any other age group In 2015, teens ages 16-19 in the United States accounted for 2,333 fatalities and 233,845 injuries due to car accidents.”
Young and inexperienced drivers have yet to gain the skills and experience seasoned drivers use to keep themselves safe while on the roads. The lack of skills paired with a general tendency towards reckless behavior makes teenage drivers at the highest risk of being involved in a crash than any other driving group.
If you are a teenager and/or have been involved in an accident with a teenager, you can file for compensation for damages done to you and your property. This can make car insurance a bit pricey for teenage drivers, but the statistics say it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If you are a teenager who enjoys drinking, look into your state’s “Underage DUI (UDD)” laws. If your state has such laws, you may be arrested for drunk driving while having a blood alcohol content lower than the legal limit for adults. It also means you will get points on your driving record, pay fines, and possible license suspension. The easiest way to avoid getting an underage DUI charge is not to participate in underage drinking, and if you do then don’t drive.
“Repeat offenders account for about one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol.”
If this isn’t your first time being pulled over for a DUI, you will see stricter charges than before. One-third of drivers arrested or convicted for DUIs are repeat offenders. If that describes you, you’ll really need a good DUI lawyer. One of your best options might be a deferred prosecution, in which charges are kept off your permanent record as you go through intensive therapy to treat alcoholism and alcoholic behaviors. It serves as a chance for recovery while also avoiding charges that could cripple the rest of your life.
Talk to a DUI lawyer to see if deferred prosecution is an option for you. Penalties only increase with repeat offenses, with states implementing ankle monitors and ignition interlock devices on your vehicles. These are only the consequences for you, not to mention the danger you are putting on those around you when you drive drunk.
Every collision has the potential for resolution and/or compensation. Talk to a lawyer to see if you have a case with your situation, and remember to drive safely!