Did you know that approximately six million collisions happen in the United States each year? Damage to the vehicle is common, but one in three accidents also involve personal injuries, and two out of ten car accidents lead to fatalities. However, many people have no idea where to begin after a collision, especially after hours.
If you find yourself in an unavoidable car accident at night, The Law Offices of Sadaka Associates recommends a few tips to protect yourself, other passengers, and your legal interests.
How to Avoid Car Accidents After Dark
Driving at night is more dangerous; that is not a myth. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, collisions are three times more likely to happen at night compared to daytime travel. Here are five tips that could help lower that risk on your next trip:
#1 Be Cautious on Wet Roads
When roads are slippery, it is easy to lose control of a vehicle. Instead of slamming on the brakes, lower your speed and be careful when turning left and right. Advanced driving courses help tremendously in mastering these kinds of skills.
#2 Take Breaks on Long Trips
Driving long distances is difficult on the body, and it is easy to lose focus or fall asleep at the wheel. If it is dark and the heating is on, this risk is much higher. Be sure to take plenty of breaks and stop every two hours to rest.
Heavy meals also make you sleepy, so it is better to eat light snacks during the journey while drinking plenty of water.
#3 Check the Rearview Mirror Often
Stopping on a highway is very dangerous, and an oncoming vehicle could easily slam into the back of your vehicle if you do not indicate or take precautions to move out of the way. You might not be held responsible for the accident, but injuries can still arise. Always check the rearview mirror to ensure the traffic is clear, and double-check your blind spot before pulling over or stopping.
#4 Respect the Speed Limits
The state speed limits are non-negotiable. If it is foggy or the roads are wet, you should also slow down to avoid accidents. Some sources quote the top speed that anyone should drive under bad weather conditions at thirty miles per hour.
#5 Always Wear Your Seatbelt
Accidents may still happen, even if you are driving carefully at night. Reduce the possibility of an injury by buckling your seatbelt before you pull off and ensuring your passengers also have their seatbelts clicked into place. It’s a habit that may save your life (or someone else’s).
What to Do After a Collision at Night
Car accidents happen in seconds. The few minutes after the collision may need you to answer several questions and decisions, but aftershock quickly clouds your thinking. It is even more true at night and when the accident involves another vehicle or a pedestrian.
Here are a few pieces of advice for what to do after a car accident at night:
Stop Your Vehicle and Assist the Injured Party
The first thing you should do is stop, but make sure you are not blocking the traffic flow. Refusing to stop after a car accident is not only potentially immoral but may result in hefty criminal penalties under a charge.
- If there are any traffic hazards, warn the other vehicles by setting traffic flares.
- At night, keep the car lights on, or you may be liable for accidents by approaching automobiles.
Call an Ambulance
If someone presents with injuries, you should call an ambulance while trying to stop the bleeding and provide first aid. Remember, do not move a seriously injured passenger unless necessary; movement can exacerbate an injury.
Contact the Police
You should always call the police for a vehicle accident, even if there are no apparent injuries among those involved. The responsible driver should not remove their vehicle from the crime scene. If you believe the other vehicle driver has been under the influence of alcohol or drugs, inform the attending police officer.
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, contact the local police station and notify them immediately. You will need the police report to file a case with your insurance company and cover your damage.
Write Down Important Information
Details matter in any legal proceeding or insurance claim. Make a note of names, numbers, addresses, and license plate numbers, and gather information from any witnesses. The drivers must show valid identification and driver’s license information. Copy these details and take pictures of the vehicle and any visible damage if possible.
The Law Offices of Sadaka Associates has seen many clients who thought they would remember all the information but then could not recall details when the shock dissipated. In stressful situations, do not trust your memory; start writing.
Notify Your Insurance Company
After the official reporting and medical checks finish, contact your insurance company. Fast reporting and cooperation might make the difference in the insurance company approving your claim. Talk to your insurance agent about your medical benefits to find out what your insurance covers (you may need to submit medical bills to receive coverage for you or your passengers).
Seek Medical Help
A minor accident still requires immediate medical attention. Some injuries are hidden, and checking yourself with necessary medical testing and attention from a doctor might keep you out of the hospital or operating theater later. Drivers and passengers can sustain a permanent injury to the spinal cord with only a minor impact, not to mention concussion or cognitive changes in the days following the collision.
Protect Your Legal Rights
Another important thing to do after a car accident at night is to call a lawyer like The Law Offices of Sadaka Associates. Insurance companies often request official statements after the collision, and it is better to go into this with our legal advice before you say something that could compromise your policy. Reliable legal representation also helps you seek suitable medical treatment and compensation for injuries with our personal injury lawyer, who can discuss your case options.
What Happens to Your Vehicle After a Car Accident at Night?
After exchanging information, notifying the police, and contacting your insurance company, the next step is to wait for an agent to appraise the vehicle damage. You can only take your vehicle to the auto repair shop once you have this report in hand. If the collision is major, your vehicle will probably be undrivable and need a tow service.
Bear in mind that law enforcement may obligate you to tow a damaged vehicle as a matter of public safety, and you will then need to find new transportation. Car repairs can be one of the biggest headaches in an already stressful situation, so work closely with insurance to compare estimates and policy coverage. If you have to wait until the case is over, you could repair the vehicle and seek reimbursement later.
Factors That Determine Legal ‘Fault’ in a Car Accident
Nighttime accidents make an already complicated process of determining fault in a collision even more challenging. You will have to prove your case, provide pictures, and wait for clarity. The Law Offices of Sadaka Associates typically sees the following factors determining fault in accidents:
Written accounts are essential after an accident. The police reports can often miss information or make mistakes. If the police officers have not uncovered the correct information, your case might be missing some important facts. The police do not always show up for minor collisions, and it is your responsibility to gather the information and pass these details on to your lawyer.
Insurance companies take police reports seriously, giving them a lot of weight in allocating blame or ‘fault.’ At the scene, check that the officer has the right facts and includes details. Ask for a copy of the police report to give to your lawyer so that we can start building a case.
If the details on the accident report are in order, insurance company matters will run smoothly. Large and complex collisions have insurance companies trying to protect their interests, which means they will do anything they can to deny a claim on technicalities. An experienced lawyer like ours can negotiate on your behalf so that your insurance company offers better terms.
Work with a Reliable and Experienced Attorney
Are you in the middle of vehicle damage, medical bills, emotional pain, and suffering after a vehicle accident? Consult with the professional lawyers at The Law Offices of Sadaka Associates for support on personal injury law and a chance to build a strong case. We help collision victims and their loved ones navigate the challenges of the legal journey, including handling insurance negotiations, multiple collision cases, and other difficulties that require robust legal knowledge and experience.
Contact us today at 1-800-810-3457 to schedule a free consultation with one of our reliable personal injury lawyers to discuss your options.