The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute reports a total of 37,133 fatalities for 2017. The three states with the highest number of fatalities were California, Texas, and Florida. A higher percentage of fatal crashes involved a single vehicle than multiple vehicles. Many of the car accidents involving fatalities involve a drunk driver.
The reality is that every time you get in your car, there is a chance you could be in a crash. There’s also that chance that the crash you’re in could involve fatalities. If you or a loved one is in a fatal car accident, you need to know what to do.
Focus on Your Health and Safety First
A car crash involving fatalities will be serious. There’s a high chance that you’ll have injuries. For this reason, it’s best to stay in your car if possible and wait for paramedics to arrive. Don’t risk causing additional injuries by trying to get out of your car. Stay in your seat belt and let the paramedics remove it for you and assess you.
Listen to the paramedics’ advice. If they recommend you take their ambulance ride to the hospital do it. If they think you’re okay to go with a friend or family member to your doctor, do that. Just make sure that a doctor examines you. You may feel fine but have a concussion or brain injury that could worsen. Your head doesn’t have to have hit the windshield or metal framing in order to have a brain injury. The force of your head whipping forward and back to the headrest is enough to shake the brain up.
Back at home, follow the doctor’s orders. If you’re told to keep your leg iced and elevated for the next 48 hours, don’t stop doing it after a day. Keep all of the instructions and follow them. If you have questions, ask them.
What If You’re Okay?
If you’re okay and EMTs have cleared you, you’ll spend time talking to the police. We do still recommend going to the hospital to get checked out, as if the accident was severe enough to serious injure or kill someone else, you may have hidden injuries that you are unaware of. Get as many photos as you can of the scene. Exchange information with the other driver if possible. You’ll also want to get witness names and contact information. It’s unlikely your car will be in any shape to drive it, so you’ll need to call someone to give you a ride home or to a rental agency to rent a car until yours is replaced or repaired.
Call Your Insurance Agent
Get a claim started as soon as possible. Your insurance agent may offer to call the other driver’s insurance company for you. If not, you’ll take this step. They will ask for your account of what happened. You’ll be instructed on where to send medical bills and what to expect next. You’ll need to inform the agent if you’re missing work or school due to the accident. An insurance adjuster will go to the place your car is and see what it would cost to repair it or what it’s replacement value would be.
Ask for the Police Report
The police will take your information at the scene or in the hospital if you were seriously injured. This information goes into a police report. You may have to fill out your own account of what happened. The police will instruct you. You should get a copy of the police report mailed to your home. If you haven’t gotten one by the end of a week, call and ask.
Seek Expert Legal Advice
There are two options when it comes to claims following a fatal car accident. If you were involved in the crash and survived, your car is probably damaged or totaled. If another driver was negligent, you need to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance. You should also consider a personal injury claim to cover the time you’ll miss from work, your medical bills, the emotional trauma of being in a serious accident. If your passenger/s were killed in the accident but you lived, the emotional trauma will not be easily overcome.
If your loved one died in a fatal injury, you’ll struggle with grief. There are funeral expenses, lost income, and a major change to your family’s lifestyle. If this happens, a wrongful death claim can help spouses/domestic partners, children, and sometimes siblings or parents with the financial strain they’re feeling in addition to the grief.
Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley won $45 million for the children whose mother was killed by a drunk driver. They also won close to $15 million for the family of a farmer who was killed in a crash. CRZ Law is your strongest advocate after a car accident involving fatalities. It’s their goal to help you focus on what’s fair to you and not what the insurance company offers. Consultations are free. Call or chat now.