Understanding Your Rights and Next Steps After an Auto Wreck: A Guide by Maher & Maher Law
“At Maher & Maher Law our primary function, at the end of the day, is to comprehensively relieve the burden of contending with all of the competing interests in an auto wreck, and then give you a check at the end of the process that makes you as whole as possible.”
It is common to be overcome by confusion and stress immediately following an auto wreck. Most auto wrecks start with someone acting negligent or worse while they’re driving. People text and drive, talk and drive, speed and drive, drink and drive, you name it, people do it. Although the rules of the road protect most of us, it is common for those rules to be broken and for innocent people to suffer consequences. Immediately upon impact with another vehicle, you will likely feel something you have never experienced before. You will likely experience a tremendous amount of force that shocks your entire system, sending you into a state of panic. Your adrenaline kicks in, and you enter survival mode. You may feel anger, fear, pain, and confusion. There are a few things you should know when you find yourself in this circumstance to help you cope and come out the other side as intact as possible:
- Call Law Enforcement and Follow Their Instructions – Many people hesitate to do this. Calling law enforcement feels like an escalation of turmoil, and when you’ve just been in an auto wreck, the prospect of more turmoil is daunting. Nonetheless, call them. Law Enforcement is charged with monitoring the safety of the community, and it is a crime to drive carelessly in the state of Colorado, and it’s important to the long-term safety of the roads that folks are held accountable for if they cause an auto wreck. Some may find this heavy-handed, but you must keep in mind that anytime you press down on the accelerator of a vehicle, you are causing thousands of pounds of the strongest metals in the world to hurl down roads at unnatural speeds. Also, keep in mind that our laws regarding careless driving are enforced commensurate with the crime. If the auto wreck is genuinely an accident, generally speaking, nobody is picking up a felony or going to jail. Most people will have a consequence on their driver’s license, do community service, and pay fines and restitution. In calling law enforcement, you are also creating a record and establishing a third-party witness to the collision. Law enforcement will observe the scene, take statements, and make a general determination on fault.You pay taxes so law enforcement can do their job: call them when a wreck happens and lean on their investigatory resources. If you don’t have a report from law enforcement, you are leaving the insurance company to create their own report, free of the accountability brought by an uninterested witness, and weave it in any manner they see fit.
- Say Yes to Medical Treatment – Many folks are hesitant to engage with an ambulance, hospital or otherwise when in an auto wreck. People worry about expense, and people believe they can tough it out. People are right to worry about expense but you should always consider what is at stake. We have never handed a check to a client and heard them say “Man, I’m so glad I got hurt.” Your health should always be treated with the utmost care. Immediately following a collision, your body is generating massive amounts of adrenaline and, to the extent you feel anything at all, it is greatly diminished. Saying yes to an ambulance and yes to an emergency room will help you see behind that and determine whether there is a major issue. Head injuries come to mind. When someone suffers a head injury in an auto wreck, they are diminished even further from a cognitive perspective. After a wreck people will explain feeling fuzzy or not remembering. People may have slurred speech or act lethargic. The vast majority of people suffering from these symptoms are unaware of their situation and may decline treatment, only to find out later that they had a brain bleed, a fracture, or a spinal injury that needed immediate attention.
- Call Maher & Maher Law – When you’re hurt in an auto wreck there are many more things to juggle than people expect. There of course is the criminal process involving law enforcement and prosecutors. There is the medical process involving doctors and billing departments. There is the insurance process involving auto insurance, health insurance, liability coverages, under/uninsured motorist coverages. This is just to name some of the pins that need juggling. Law enforcement will want you to participate in their process of testifying and providing sentencing considerations. The medical process is generally trying to get paid as much money as possible and will turn a health-related transaction into a black hole of coverage determinations, refusals to bill entities as directed, and ultimately, engagement in collection agencies. Then there is the insurance side, trying to pay everyone impacted by an auto wreck as little money as possible.
Simply stated: everyone wants your participation, as much of your money as possible, and insurance wants to give you as little money as possible. It can feel like a vice that squeezes you from all angles. At Maher & Maher Law, our primary function, at the end of the day, is to comprehensively relieve the burden of contending with all of the competing interests in an auto wreck, and then give you a check at the end of the process that makes you as whole as possible. We are your advocate and are fully focused on getting you the best outcome possible.