Life in the Fast Lane – Unique Tech Savvy
Things To Know If You Are In A Car
By: Jason Neufeld, Esq., Personal injury
attorney with Neufeld, Kleinberg, and Pinkiert, P.A.
Sunny South Florida - the land of Ferrari’s, convertibles,
cruising down A1A or I-95; coupled with tourists and ‘snowbirds’. However, according to the
most recent report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, every time you get behind the wheel,
you are at risk of being involved in a car accident. According to the latest statistics in Florida, there were 235,778 traffic
crashes in 2009 alone. That means that, on average, there were 646 crashes each day. Knowing how to minimize
the chaos if you or a loved is ever in an accident is important and leveraging the abundance of technology at our disposal
A car accident is
one of the most common ways in which people are injured, with the potential to inflict a great deal of emotional, physical
and financial pain. An experienced personal-injury attorney, however, can help you recover any financial loss associated with
an injury sustained in a car accident, as well as navigate the ‘red tape’ involved with insurance companies. Obviously,
the advice provided below applies to those who are not seriously injured or immobilized. Read on for key points to know about
how to react to a car accident how technology can help when an accident occurs:
1. Get to a Safe Location and Report the Car Accident
As soon as the airbag has deflated, and if practicable, turn on your hazard
lights and locate your cell phone to dial 911 – or your emergency assistance equivalent. After contacting emergency
assistance, stay at the scene of the accident until the police have reviewed and investigated the incident. Make sure to write
down the police officer’s name, phone number and incident or police report number. You or your lawyer will want to request
a copy of the police report at a later date.
Drivers involved in minor accidents with no serious injuries should carefully move cars to the side of the
road and out of the way of oncoming traffic. Leaving cars parked in the middle of the road or busy intersections can result
in additional accidents and injuries. Make sure to turn on hazard lights and set out cones, flares or warning triangles if
possible. If practicable, carefully assist those who are more injured than you.
Helpful i-Phone, Blackberry, or Android Application:
legendary roadside assistance is available easily through the AAA Roadside application. Select the type of breakdown and AAA
assures your information is delivered to a local roadside problem-solving technician for a quick response. The application
also confirms your request and provides information on nearby locations of AAA approved auto repair shops.(Price = free with
AAA membership)- iFirstAidLite –
this app contains voice instructions, a CPR timer and includes essential first aid information pertaining to CPR, bleeding,
burns, choking and more. (cost = free)
- Emergency – change
default numbers in this app to directly dial your local police, fire department or ambulance service. Also lets you send an
emergency text message, including your latitude and longitude. (cost = free)
2. Exchange Car Insurance and Driver Details
After an accident,
always exchange driver details and take some accident notes. Be sure to gather the following information:
•name (make sure the drivers
license matches the name of the insurance holder, if they are different, be sure to obtain the name of the insured)
company and policy number
•a description of the vehicle, including the make, model, and color. Helpful
i-Phone, Blackberry, or Android Applications:
-An excellent iPhone application to
gather the essential information is C.A.R. C.A.R. assists you to collect all necessary information through
an innovative built-in multi-media interface. C.A.R. also links into Google Maps so that you can tag the accident scene using
the embedded Google Map kit. (cost = free)
iWrecked is a full-featured accident resource for easily logging all details and information
after being involved in an accident. It assists in taking photographs of the accident scene and generates a detailed, professional-looking
accident report to assist with an insurance claim. It can also assist in locating a nearby taxi and/or towing company. (cost
– It is important to be able to speak numerous languages living in South Florida. In the event you are in an
accident and are unable to communicate with the other party, iTranslator can help you properly communication to obtain the
necessary information. (cost = free)
3. Locate Any Witnesses
Determine whether there are witnesses to the accident and try to obtain their name and number. If the accident
occurs on the highway, it is best to stay inside the vehicle (provided it is on the shoulder of the road) and let the police
conduct the appropriate paperwork. If you don’t have pen and paper to write down a witness’s information or comments,
send yourself an email or text message(s) or use your PDA’s note taking feature to memorialize any pertinent conversations
and relevant information obtained from 3rd parties.
4. Do Not Admit Fault
When you come face-to-face
with the driver of the other vehicle, try not to assign blame or admit fault or liability, even if you think you made the
mistake. Let your attorney, the police and insurance companies do their jobs and use their tools to come to a conclusion.
You do not want to admit to something in a state of shock.
5. Do Not Discuss Injury Concerns While at the
Do not discuss the accident with the other parties involved in the accident.
If someone asks, “How are you doing?” keep a low profile by saying, “I’m shaken up.” It is difficult
to properly determine any injuries at the early stages immediately following an accident (as some injuries will not become
symptomatic for days). Additionally, you want to avoid making any statements, while in your state of alarm, which you later
have to refute following obtaining proper medical attention.
6. Photograph and Document the Accident
Phones are a great
tool to assist in documenting the accident by utilizing the phone’s camera or video camera features. Assuming you are
in a safe location, take photographs of the damage to your car, the other driver’s car, and the entire accident scene
to give perspective of the event. Take wide shots of tire skid markings to show vehicle travel paths.
7. Seek Medical Attention
As small as an injury
might seem at the time, go to the emergency room, be sure to document all health and pain-related concerns as soon as possible.
This may help make your claim to the insurance company.
Your Accident to a Personal Injury Lawyer
As soon as your nerves have settled and you have gone to the doctor to get checked over, call a reputable
personal-injury attorney so that they can properly handle the maneuvering of insurance issues.
Make sure that your attorney is aware of every piece of mail, email, or phone call that comes from the insurance company.
Often insurance companies will try to get you to release “any and all claims” and lead you to believe that you
are only settling the property damage portion of your case. Before you sign anything, check with your attorney. General
Car Safety Applications and Websites:
- A recent study from Virginia Tech Transportation
Institute showed that cell phones were the most common driver distraction. It also found that the risk of a crash or near
crash was 23.2 times more likely when texting. Textecution is a user-friendly application that completely
disables texting while driving. Once Textecution recognizes that the phone is traveling faster than 10mph, Textecution disables
the phone's texting feature so text messages cannot be sent or received. Once the phone is at rest, or traveling at a speed
slower than 10mph, the texting feature becomes available for use. (Cost = $29.99 one time)
- To avoid a congested highway or busy road,
use Beat the Traffic to provide real-time traffic flow on every major roadway around the world. It also provides
predictive traffic so you can plan the best and safest course of travel. (Price = free for two week trial, then $19.95 for
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (www.nhtsa.gov)
Department of Transportation – Auto Safety Hotline (www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq).
Kleinberg & Pinkiert P.A. serves their injured clients statewide with offices in South and Central Florida. The
firm’s attorneys specialize in personal-injury cases, including high-profile automobile negligence and defective design
cases. NK&P’s practice area include automobile and motorcycle accidents; medical malpractice; premises liability;
defective products; brain injury; and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).
more information, visit www.nkplaw.com.