Foley & Small has years of experience handling automobile accident claims. We have helped injured drivers, passengers and their families during a difficult period of medical treatment and recovery, coordinating insurance and other coverage benefits, dealing with loss of pay claims, issues a permanent impairment and your overall recovery from the difficulties that arise from a motor vehicle accident.
Foley & Small works with a variety of experts. These include accident reconstructionists, civil engineers, safety specialist, human factors experts, doctors and therapists, economists and other damages experts. Investigators are often retained to assist in information gathering.
Foley & Small as experienced attorneys, legal assistants and other staff who work with our clients and their families. We help our clients and their families through what can be a difficult time and assist them to return to a normal life.
In 2008, there were more than 34,000 Americans killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Fortunately, that number has been declining since 2005, when more than 39,000 Americans were killed.
In Indiana in 2008, there was more than 800 traffic fatalities. Of this number, there were 208 fatalities involving alcohol-impaired driving. There were 131 motorcyclist fatalities, and 250 fatalities in accidents involving speeding.
Injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes remain a major public health problem. These injuries cause tremendous human suffering and untold economic costs. They can be prevented, or reduced, but only if we understand their type and severity in relation to the characteristics of the crash, vehicles, and persons involved. Governmental entities, law enforcement, motor vehicle and equipment manufacturers and others have and will continue to make strides in reducing the number and severity of motor vehicle accidents.
Beyond these efforts, however, perhaps the greatest and most immediate steps that can be taken to improve motor vehicle safety is improving the quality of the driving employed by each of us in the operation of our car, truck or motorcycle.
1. Take some deep breaths to get calm. After a crash, a person may feel a wide range of emotions — shock, guilt, fear, nervousness, or anger — all of which are normal. But take a few deep breaths or count to 10 to calm down. The calmer you are, the better prepared you will be to handle the situation. This is the time to take stock of the accident and try to make a judgment about whether it was a serious one.
2. Keep yourself and others safe. If you can't get out of your car — or it's not safe to try — keep your seat belt fastened, turn on your hazard lights, then call 911 if possible and wait for help to arrive. If you can drive your car and are in an unsafe spot or are blocking traffic, find a safe and legal place to park your car (like the shoulder of a highway or a parking lot). If a car cannot be moved, drivers and passengers who cannot exit the vehicle should keep their seatbelts fastened for everyone's safety until help arrives. Those who can safely exit should warn oncoming traffic of the accident. Make sure to turn on hazard lights and set out cones, flares or warning triangles if possible.
3. Call the police/ambulance. If you, a passenger or a passerby has a cell phone, call 911 for the police to respond to the accident and an ambulance, if necessary. An ambulance can be quickly called to the scene to attend to the injured. The police can secure the accident area so other accidents do not occur, attend to injury response, call for a wrecker service and clear the accident scene. A police report will be helpful to everyone in accumulating and documenting what occurred with the collision.
Check on everyone involved in the crash to see if they have any injuries. This includes making sure you don't have any serious injuries. Be extremely cautious — not all injuries can be seen. If you or anyone involved isn't feeling 100%, you should call 911 or any other number your state uses to request emergency assistance on roadways. Be ready to give the dispatcher the following information:
Who? The dispatcher will ask for your name and phone numbers in case the authorities need to get more information from you later.
What? Tell the dispatcher as much as you can about the emergency — for instance, whether there is a fire, traffic hazard, medical emergency, etc.
Where? Let the dispatcher know exactly where the emergency is taking place. Give the city, road name, road number, mile markings, direction of travel, traffic signs, and anything else you can think of to help them know how to find you.
Make sure you stay on the line until the dispatcher says it's OK to hang up.
4. Exchange Information. After the accident, exchange name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver license number and license plate number for the driver and the owner of each vehicle. If the driver's name is different from the name of the insured, establish what the relationship is and take down the name and address for each individual. Also make a written description of each car, including year, make, model and color.
5. Photograph and Document the Accident. Use your camera to photograph the accident scene and the vehicles. The more pictures the better. If there were witnesses, try to get their contact information; they may be able to help you if the other drivers dispute your version of what happened.
6. File An Accident Report. Although law enforcement officers in many locations may not respond to accidents unless there are injuries, drivers should file a state vehicle accident report, which is available at police stations.
7. Know What Your Insurance Covers. The whole insurance process will be easier following your accident if you know the details of your coverage. For example, don't wait until after an accident to find out that your policy doesn't automatically cover costs for towing or a replacement rental car. Generally, for only a dollar or two extra each month, you can add coverage for rental car reimbursement, which provides a rental car for little or no money while your car is in the repair shop or if it is stolen. Also check with your agent to ensure your have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. You also should evaluate your coverage amounts and cost. Increased coverage can often be obtained without a significant increase in your premium. Check your policy and with your agent for specifics.
8. Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Glove Compartment. Drivers should carry a cell phone, as well as pen and paper for taking notes, a disposable camera to take photos of the vehicles at the scene, and a card with information about medical allergies or conditions that may require special attention if there are serious injuries. Also, keep a list of contact numbers for law enforcement agencies handy.
9. Contact Foley & Small. If you or a family member has been injured in an accident due to the fault of an another you have available to you the right to assert a claim to have your medical bills paid, to pay your lost wages and income and to recover for the pain, suffering and related losses resulting from your injuries, including recovery for any permanent injury. Let the attorneys and staff of Foley & Small use their experience and expertise to help you and your family. Clicking on the link at the top right of this page for a live chat with a member of our staff or email us from our Contact page. You can also call us at 800-276-2525.
10. Accident Aftermath. While the crash itself can be tragic and upsetting, dealing with the aftermath can be too. In the hours or days following a collision, some people may still be emotionally shaken. They may be beating themselves up over what happened — especially if they feel the crash was avoidable. Sometimes, people close to those who were involved (like families and best friends) can experience some emotional problems too. These feelings are normal and usually improve with time.
In some cases, however, these feelings can get stronger or last for longer periods of time, keeping a person from living a normal life. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur when a person has experienced a devastating event that injured or threatened to injure someone. Signs of PTSD may show up immediately following the crash, or weeks or even months after. Not everyone who experiences stress after a trauma has PTSD. But here are some symptoms to look out for:
If you notice any of these symptoms after you've been in a car crash, check with your doctor, counselor or psychologist, as they should be able to help.
Foley & Small can help if you or a family member have been in Auto Accident. Please contact us for a free case evaluation and consultation. Click on the link at the top right of this page for a live chat with a member of our staff or email us from our Contact page. You can also call us at 800-276-2525.