Last year, over thirty-two thousand Americans lost their lives due to automobile accidents. Although advances in vehicle safety have made driving less deadly, the number of car crashes each year continues to rise. It seems drivers in Rhode Island have more distractions than ever before, whether it is checking a Twitter feed, changing XM radio, or eating a drive-through meal as they navigate traffic. Even the advent of new hands-free devices seems to only be used as an excuse to embrace further distractions.
Common Car Accidents
It only takes a few moments of diverted attention for a driver to miss a light blinking all too quickly from green to red. The most common car accidents resulting in injury are rear-end collisions, where a driver fails to stop in time. The driver and passengers of the front vehicle experience are thrown backward and then forward, resulting in whiplash, concussions, and more serious injuries.
Almost equally common are t-bone and merge accidents, where one car strikes another broadside. These accidents can be much more severe, resulting in broken bones, traumatic brain injury, and lengthy recovery.
The most severe accidents occur when one vehicle, often operated by an exhausted or impaired driver, drifts into the same lane as oncoming traffic. Head-on collisions have the highest rate of fatalities and account for the majority of deadly collisions each year, even though they are among the least common types of accidents.
Who is responsible?
When an individual does not halt their vehicle at a Rhode Island stop sign or red light, they are putting numerous lives in jeopardy. Other motorists are the most susceptible to serious injury or even death when people break the law on the road. Even though everyone has lapses in attention and makes momentary mistakes, there is no excuse for the type of failure that results in broken lives.
Insurance companies often pressure car accident victims to use their own coverage or settle for a fraction of their actual damages, so many injured victims choose to look for the best car accident attorney Rhode Island has to offer. As soon as you seek medical attention for your injuries, you should decide what kind of legal representation you need. Automobile insurance companies hire trained professionals, called adjusters, whose sole duty is to settle your case for as low a cost as possible.
What should accident victims do?
While every accident is different, the first few minutes after a collision are critical. DO:
Call law enforcement. Police response to an automobile accident provides an independent source of evidence that can be critical in resolving your case. If the other party does not have automobile insurance, the police report may even be required to have recovery from uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
Collect information. Do not allow the other party to leave the scene without first getting a full name, phone number, address, and insurance information. If possible, take a photograph of the other driver’s insurance card and driver’s license and email them to yourself immediately.
Identify evidence. Take photographs of the damage to your vehicle, the damage to the other vehicle, and the surrounding area. If the accident occurred in an intersection, take photographs that clearly show where your vehicle was before and after the collision.
Find witnesses. It doesn’t help your case to have witnesses without contact information. If anyone else saw the accident, get their name, phone number, and address. A photograph of a driver’s license or other ID can also be helpful, particularly if your attorney needs to compel them to answer.
Mistakes after an accident are common.
Don’t admit fault. You may feel bad for the other driver, but it’s a serious mistake to admit fault or excuse the other driver’s inattention. Anything you say in the minutes after an automobile accident can be used against you.
Don’t leave the scene. You should never leave the scene of an accident until the police have arrived and taken your statement. If you exchange insurance information and then leave, the other party can tell the police whatever they want. You could even end up being blamed for the accident.
Don’t speculate. When you provide a statement to the police, be clear and honest without any added ideas or notions. Don’t try to make excuses for the other driver.
Don’t give a recorded statement. If any insurance company contacts you and asks to hear about what happened, wait until you speak with an attorney first. Insurance companies want to avoid liability, so they will try to use what you say against you. You should never speak to an insurance representative without getting advice from a lawyer.
Find the right attorney
Hiring an attorney to represent you is a vital decision in controlling the outcome of your case. An experienced Rhode Island car accident lawyer will listen to your story, review your evidence, and clearly communicate options. If the attorney believes your case could have value, he may extend a “contingency” contract, which allows him to represent you without charging you an up-front retainer fee.
The law office of Louis W. Grande has handled Rhode Island car accident cases for decades. Consultations are always free and confidential, and you will receive the best possible advice our firm can offer.
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