Car Wrecks - Accident? Injury?
Nobody plans to get hurt or be involved in a wreck. Yet, car “accidents” in Fayetteville NC and the resulting injuries can happen to even very safe drivers.
All the caution in the world can’t stop one of life’s curve balls from affecting your life. We believe it’s a good idea to know what to do when and if a wreck occurs:
- Protect yourself and your loved ones
- Protect others injured as a result of the wreck
- Get any necessary medical care and treatment
- Protect your legal interests
- Gather and record information and evidence, just in case
If you have been hurt due to the carelessness or negligence of another driver, we’d like to help.The “Accident” and Injury
Negligence is not an “accident.” While we often call car wrecks “accidents,” the truth is someone made a choice to do or not do something. The negligent driver failed to consider the rights and safety of others.
Negligence claims in NC may involve allegations of speeding or not paying attention or even drunk driving. Negligence claims regularly assert failing to keep a proper lookout, the inability to stop a vehicle to avoid a collision, and things like running a red light or stop sign.
Few people consider drunk driving that results in a serious injury or even a fatality an “accident.” A choice was made. The driver had too much to drink and, putting others’ lives in peril, chose to get behind the wheel.
The resulting collision was not an “accident.” It was predictable. It was unavoidable. And that’s one reason why motorists in North Carolina do not tolerate impaired driving.
That’s true also for speeding or running a red light or reckless driving. Failure to follow the rules of the law, speeding, swerving in and out of traffic, not paying attention, those too result harm. That type of driving also has a predictable end result. Collisions resulting in careless driving are not “accidents.”
Breaking a traffic law or rule of the road does not necessarily make the guilty or responsible driver a bad person. At the same time, to call such bad driving “accidents” is unfair to their victims who often go through painful injuries, medical care, and possibly long term physical harm.
Make no mistake, “accidents” change lives. If you’re out of work, laid up in bed and going through physical therapy, you likely have a different perspective on whether a wreck or collision is truly an “accident.”
Big insurance companies purposely refer to wrecks as accidents. When defending against a claim for injuries, it’s easier to soften what actually happened by using words like “accident” or “fender bender” or “bump up” or minor impact, soft tissue injuries.The Trauma of a Car Wreck – Violent Collision
A wreck can be a traumatizing experience. That’s true whether it involves cars or motorcycles or a 50,000 pound 18-Wheeler trucking “accident.” There is the possibility of bodily injuries, mental and emotional stress and trauma, and the damage to property - both to your vehicle and personal property.
When a wreck happens in North Carolina, an officer is often called to the scene and prepares a report that is unfortunately often referred to as an “accident report.” A lot depends on the individual nature of the wreck, the circumstances and extent of the damages and injuries, and whether someone is seriously hurt or killed.
Police reports can be incredibly important and helpful pieces of information in making a claim for damages and in litigation, if that becomes necessary in the event the insurance company will not properly settle the claim for damages.
Luckily, collision reports in Fayetteville (and throughout North Carolina) are ordinarily obtained with relative ease.
To be clear, police reports and wreck documentation are created by humans. They are not always perfect. There can be mistakes. Witness statements and observations may vary. The stress of observing a wreck can affect recollections of what took place, even immediately after the collision.
We think it’s a good idea to take note of anything going on at the scene of the wreck to the best of your abilities. That may involve taking pictures with your cell phone or camera, calling 911 for help, exchanging personal information, driver’s license numbers, and even video-recording things as they develop.
It is not rude to pull out your phone and start documenting the wreck, especially if you think the person who hit you is drunk or is acting aggressively or inappropriately. The first rule of accidents is to protect yourself and others from further injuries and danger.
In recording the collision field, ask yourself:
- What is the weather like?
- Is it raining or clear?
- Is dark outside or sunny?
- Are there any obstructions to anyone’s vision or line-of-sight?
- How were all the drivers involved behaving?
- Are there independent witnesses to the accident?
- Do you know them? Have they offered to stay until police arrive?
- Do you have witness information including name, telephone number, home address, and email addresses?
Plaintiff’s lawyers (lawyers who help people with accident cases) believe these sorts of things are best written down or recorded as soon as it is safe to do so. That way, when discussing the case with your attorney, you’ll be able to more accurately and thoroughly recall the conditions and describe what caused the wreck.
Otherwise, between the stress and any intervening amount of time, memories can fade. Lawyers in NC often refer to that as “present recollection recorded.” It is a Rule of Evidence in North Carolina and may become very important at a trial, again if one is necessary if the insurance carrier won’t offer a fair settlement.
We think it is a really good idea to write down whatever may be pertinent and as many details as possible. That way, the likelihood of preserving something of value or importance increases significantly.Attend to Medical Needs and Trauma
The decision to seek medical attention is not a legal one. Nothing is more important than your safety and health. If you, or a responding medical professional (EMT – Emergency Medical Technician), believes treatment or further medical assessment is necessary and appropriate, it is best to follow that advice.
Don’t discount professional advice. Put simply, if they think you should go to the hospital, go to the hospital. It is very easy to not fully understand the full extent of your injuries immediately following a collision.
Nothing is more important than protecting your health and preventing further injury. Medical bills can be discussed and negotiated after the fact by your attorney at an appropriate time.Fayetteville NC Personal Injury Lawyers – Beaver Courie Law Firm
The “accident” lawyers at Beaver Courie are experienced litigators and advocates for justice. If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of a careless or unsafe driver, we are here to help.
Call Beaver Courie now to schedule a consultation. For “accidents,” collisions, wrecks, car crashes, motorcycle accidents, and trucking accidents, we do not charge a consultation fee. Speak with a lawyer immediately. Determine your legal rights. Protect yourself. Do what is best for you and your family.
We are here to help!