First, it is important to keep in mind that 95% or more accidents are not personally witnessed by the investigating police officer and, while they generally do a good job with the information they have available at the time, their decision is not always correct and is not binding on the insurance carrier. As you may have experienced or could imagine, many drivers either intentionally lie or are truthfully mistaken about their role in an automobile accident in an effort to avoid the consequences of their actions. In unclear or close calls, the officer may actually place both parties at fault. If you do find that you are placed at fault or you and other driver(s) are placed at-fault on the initial accident report (referred to as an “FR-10,” which you should receive on the scene or at the hospital), but believe the finding is incorrect, please immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney. At Coastal Carolina Injury Law Group, our attorneys have successfully had incorrect liability (fault) decisions reversed by insurance carriers on many occasions.
It is also important to keep in mind that, as an accident victim, you may feel as if you have no control, there actually are several steps you can take early on to assist your attorney. First, we suggest you take pictures of both vehicles at the scene. Why both vehicles? Many times the damage to one car looks much different than the damage to the other vehicle. If the damage to your vehicle looks minor, while the other vehicle appears to be totaled, a photograph of the other vehicle can be extremely helpful for your attorney to demonstrate to an insurance company or a jury, the severity of the collision. Second, fully explain your side to the officer and obtain names and numbers of any witnesses. Upon being retained, our firm assists clients who are wrongfully blamed for an accident in numerous ways. These include assisting the client in a recorded statement to the insurance company and obtaining or preserving video evidence of the accident from sources such as traffic cameras, business video surveillance, and/or residential security systems. Additionally, we review all photographs, contact and attempt to obtain sworn statements from helpful witnesses and, if possible, obtain the “black box” from the vehicle.
If you find yourself wrongfully blamed for an accident you did not cause or even if you are not sure you caused, it is imperative that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Do NOT discuss anything with the insurance company before contacting a personal injury attorney. At Coastal Carolina Injury Law Group, we truly understand that a serious accident can have a devastating effect on you and your family’s life. Therefore, we offer a free case evaluation to accident victims and are happy to come to visit you at the hospital or your home, whether during or outside or normal business hours. Finally, you never pay us anything unless we assist you in recovering money for your injuries.