By Anders Blewett
We are well into summer now, and for many of us, summertime is synonymous with road trips. Perhaps you and your family are heading out of town to get one last family vacation in before school starts. Road trips are almost always guaranteed to make lasting memories for you and your families, and hopefully those memories will all be good. However, during the summer months especially when there are more people on the road, the likelihood of car accident injuries is higher.
- Every 14 seconds someone is in the US dies or sustains injuries in a car accident.
- In 2011, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were 29,757 fatal car accidents, resulting in 32,367 deaths.
- Montana is among the top 5 deadliest states for car accidents, with 20.9 people per 100,000 dying as a result of their car accident injuries.
- Montana also has the highest death rates per 100 million vehicle miles traveled at 1.79.
Although these statistics are alarming, technological improvements are making cars and their passengers safer, and the number of people killed in car accidents has been drastically reduced in the last few decades. Product liability lawsuits that have been filed against auto manufacturers over the years regarding defectively designed vehicles have helped spur changes in the auto industry which have resulted in safer vehicles that reduce the risk of serious injury in rollover accidents and other high speed car accidents. Car accidents can be jarring and anxiety inducing; but if you are prepared ahead of time, and know the proper procedures in dealing with one, you can save yourself and your family time, grief, and potential injuries.
What to do in case of a Car Accident or Car Accident Injuries:
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of a car accident, the State Bar of Montana recommends the following steps:
- Stop your car safely. You can be subject to criminal prosecution if you leave the scene of an accident, no matter how small the collision or if it wasn’t your fault. Stop as close to the scene of the accident as possible without obstructing traffic.
- Aid the injured. Under Montana law, any person involved in an accident must render reasonable assistance to injured persons. If you are not trained in first aid, don’t try it, the law requires you only make arrangements for carrying the injured person to get medical help.
- Duty to give information. Under the law, you must provide your full name, address, and vehicle registration number to anyone involved in the accident. The driver must provide his/her driver’s license if requested. If you collide with an unattended vehicle you must try to locate the owner of the vehicle to provide your information to.
- Call the police or highway patrol. Law enforcement officers are trained to deal with these types of situations, so let them take over when they arrive. Their report of the investigation may be helpful to you later if you are required to file suit. Car accident injuries or death must be reported as quickly as possible by law. The legislature recently passed legislation in 2013 which requires that property damage from car accidents exceeding $1,000.00 must also be reported.
- Obtain protective information. You are entitled to receive the same information from other parties involved as you provided to them. You should also try to obtain information from any witnesses.
- See your doctor. If you have any doubts about your health, you must go and visit your doctor. Some car accident injuries take some time to feel, so be aware.
- Consult your lawyer. You need to know your rights and any action you are contemplating regarding an accident should be discussed with a lawyer; especially a personal injury lawyer with experience in car accident injuries. You should speak to your lawyer before giving any interviews or statements.
- Inform your insurance company ASAP. Contact your agent as soon after the accident as you can.
- Damages. If your car is damaged, you are forced to miss work, or other complications arise as the result of an accident, you may be entitled to collect damages from your own insurance or the other party. If you incur damages as a result of a car accident, you should consult a lawyer with experience in car accident injuries.
The information stated above is general information and is not intended as legal advice. If you have suffered injuries in a car accident, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer regarding your specific situation.
Common Car Accidents Injuries That We Can Consult On:
- Brain and Head Injuries
- Neck Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Back Injuries
- Facial Injuries
- Internal Injuries
- Psychological Injuries
In the case of such an emergency, the attorneys at Hoyt & Blewett PLLC are here to help you and your family with any case pertaining to a car accident, or car accident injuries.