Car Accidents: The Definitive Guide
Car accidents happen. They really do.
You can’t undo the inevitable but what can you do after the car accidents including hit-and-run and traffic collision. How can you claim injury claims? This article is all about this. Let’s get straight to the topic.
I was involved in a car accident. What should I do?
After being involved in a car accident, it’s difficult to imagine things ever being the same again — fear not, as everything will return to normal eventually, you just have to give it some time.
You will only truly be able to get your life back on track, however, if you resolve to move forward from your incident in the right way.
Above all else, this means finding a way to let go of what has happened and then resolving to devote all of your time and effort to your recovery going forward.
To find out what you need to do in the aftermath of a car accident to ensure that you move forward from it in the best and healthiest way possible, make sure to read on.
You aren’t going to move forward from your incident if you don’t allow anybody to help you out in the aftermath of it.
Quite simply, you need to swallow your pride and accept assistance whenever it is offered.
The assistance that you accept can come in many different shapes and sizes. It could come from your loved ones, for example, or it could come from an external professional entity.
The point is, no matter who offers to help you out, be sure to let them. By doing so, you will free up more of your time, which can then be devoted to your recovery.
One kind of help that you should definitely be open to accept is that which is offered by a car accident attorney.
By having such a professional by your side, you will stand a better chance of earning the compensation that you deserve.
More importantly, as the lawyer that you choose to align yourself with will take it upon themselves to fight your case for you, you will have more time to focus on getting better.
Try not to dwell on what has happened
More than likely, you’ll re-live the accident over and over again as flashes of it appear in your mind’s eye — this is your natural psychological reaction to such trauma, so do not fear if this is, in fact, the case.
You need not allow this kind of thinking to take over and impact your recovery, however, as there are ways to stop yourself from dwelling on the event.
In your bid to stop dwelling on what has happened, you should try:
- Imagining what the absolute worst case scenario would be like, and then counting your blessings that that didn’t happen.
- Finding what triggers negative thoughts and flashbacks so you can avoid them at all costs.
- Focusing on something else for as little as ten minutes, as that will be sure to ease your anxiety.
- Practicing mindfulness, as that will help you to accept your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations.
Should you ever be unfortunate enough to be involved in a car accident, you need resolve to move forward from it in the healthiest way possible. To do that, you need to put the above advice into practice.
I hit somebody and ran-away. What to do?
Hit and run cases are a notorious yet often noticed car accident cases.
The idea of being in a hit-and-run accident can be terrifying, regardless of which end you’re on.
If you’re the victim, your property is hit, or you’re the perpetrator, hit-and-run accidents are scary, but it’s important to remember, if you’re the one who hits a person or property, it doesn’t have to turn into a hit-and-run.
What is a Hit-and-Run?
We often think of the most dramatic instances and circumstances when we initially think of hit-and-runs.
For example, you might think of someone running a red light and hitting a pedestrian, and this is the most severe type of a hit-and-run.
That’s fairly rare, however.
What’s more common is to hit an object and leave the scene—such as hitting a mailbox or another car.
In these instances, there is no bodily injury, but it’s still illegal.
Anytime you hit something in a motor vehicle without leaving your information, and then leave the scene, it’s considered a hit-and-run.
However, if there is no one around you leave your information and then file a police report, it wouldn’t be considered a hit-and-run, even though you leave before you talk to someone.
What If I Hit Something in a Parking Lot?
One of the most common ways a hit-and-run occurs is in a parking lot or area where there are other cars, but their drivers aren’t around. In these cases, what should you do to avoid hit-and-run charges?
First, you should stop and take a look at the damage. Make sure you don’t spot the owner or can’t find them anywhere, and then take pictures of the damage and the entire scene. Write down the license plate, make and model of the car or if it’s property, the address and location.
Add a note to what you damaged with your name, contact information and license plate number, and file a police report. It may be wise to file a report with your insurance provider as well.
What If I Leave the Crime Scene?
If you do leave the scene of any kind of hit-and-run accident, the criminal penalties vary depending on the state where you live. In some cases, it can be a misdemeanor or a felony, and it usually depends on the specific circumstances.
A felony hit and run is usually what someone is charged with if there is bodily injury to another person.
This includes if the person is a pedestrian, or they’re in a vehicle. In the US, if a driver hits someone who’s a pedestrian or who’s in a car and leaves the scene, the felony charge can include a fine ranging from USD5,000 to USD20,000 depending on the state, and there is also the potential for jail time.
Many hit-and-runs involving bodily injury can be punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Even with a misdemeanor, while it sounds less severe than a felony, there can be a fine of up to USD5,000 and up to a year in jail.
What Should You Do If You Hit Someone?
If you hit a pedestrian, it can be terrifying. For many people, it’s a nightmare-like situation, but there is a right and a wrong way to handle it. First, never leave. Leaving is the worst thing you can do.
You should try to stay calm, and stay with the person at the scene. Call the police emergency number and then wait for the police.
If you do hit someone and leave or don’t take action and it leads to more severe injuries for the victim, the charges can be worse as well.
For example, it could lead to a vehicular manslaughter charge. If you are the cause of an injury, you are required to help the person if you can.
If you temporarily leave the scene to get help but then return, typically it’s not considered a hit-and-run.
Finally, another situation you may wonder about is hitting an animal. If you hit an animal and don’t stop, unless it’s a bird or a small wild animal, and you don’t stop most states will consider it a hit-and-run. This can be especially true if you hit a pet, and charges can include animal cruelty or failure to report.
In California, as an example, hitting a pet, horse or livestock animal without stopping and reporting it is a misdemeanor. Pets are considered property in California and some other states.
Car Accident Claims
How Long Do You Have to Make a Personal Injury Claim?
This is an important question.
Have you suffered an injury because of someone’s negligence? Whether this is a car accident, an injury at work, an animal attack or even a slip, trip or fall, you could be entitled to compensation.
These injuries can be life-changing and stop you from working or leading your day-to-day life, as well as cause psychological damage that can be difficult to recover from.
Although compensation will not heal your injury, it can make a difference to your quality of life and ensure that those responsible have to pay for their actions.
Even if you have been injured in the past, you may still be able to make a claim.
Making A Car Accident Claim
It is best to make a claim as soon as possible after the injury has been sustained.
Doing so gives you the opportunity to gather evidence such as photographs of the injury and accident site and obtain witness reports. In fact, the earlier, the better you obtain these reports so that it is fresh in their mind.
Of course, not all injuries occur directly after the event and sometimes people do not decide to make a claim until a later date.
In most cases, the injury must have been sustained in the last three years in order to make a successful claim.
If the damage is psychological, this can sometimes take a while to show, so you still have a while to make a successful claim in this case.
There will be exceptions to this three-year timeframe. If you were a child when the injury was sustained, then you may have a longer time to make a claim as you did not want to go through the process at a young age.
Another example of an exception is if you have been a victim of industrial disease as these can take longer than three years to impact your life.
A few examples of industrial diseases that you can make a claim for include asbestosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and industrial deafness.
How To Make A Claim
If you are unsure whether or not you can make a claim, the best thing to do would be to get in touch with a personal injury specialist for a non-obligation consultation.
They will very quickly be able to determine whether or not you can make a claim and get the ball rolling if you wish to proceed.
It is then a matter of collating evidence, building a case and notifying the negligent party that you are making a claim.
Your personal injury solicitor will handle all of the negotiations for you, and in many cases, there will be a no win no fee guarantee.
Personal injury claims are best made as soon as possible so that it is fresh in everyone’s minds, but sometimes it is not possible whether the injury has taken a while to develop or if you have only just decided to make a claim.
In most cases, you have three years to make a claim, but there are always exceptions to this rule too.