Ten Steps to Follow After an Auto Accident

HELP! I Was In An Auto Accident, What Do I Do?

This is a question we hear quite often from new clients who recently experienced a car accident. Being involved in an automobile accident can be a very scary experience. In addition to facing personal injuries and property damage, there are often legal authorities, insurance companies, and at-fault drivers to deal with as well. Below are a few things to keep in mind if you are ever involved in an auto accident.Auto Accident Infographic

  1. Be sure to stop if you are involved in an accident. No matter how minor, do not drive away from the scene of an accident without stopping to address the matter appropriately first.
  2. Call the police. It is important to involve the authorities. The police will evaluate the accident, take statements, and write a police report that will later be available to you and others involved.
  3. Be honest and accurate. The police may have questions for you about what happened. It is important to make an accurate record by being honest and accurate to the best of your ability. If there is something you don’t know, indicate that rather than trying to guess.
  4. Be visible. If it is nighttime or visibility to other drivers is a concern, do all you can to make your location and presence known to passing traffic to avoid anyone else hitting your vehicle. Turn on your vehicle lights, place flares if you have them, or use a flashlight.
  5. Take photos. If you or someone you trust is able to do so, take photos of your vehicle and the other vehicles involved, specifically focusing on any vehicle damage and license plates. If it is possible given the circumstances, take photos of your injuries as well.
  6. Exchange auto insurance information with the other driver.
  7. Seek medical attention. If you feel you may need medical attention, get it, right away. Then follow your doctor’s orders.
  8. Call your auto insurance carrier to report this incident. They will likely have several questions for you about what happened. They may at some point ask to take a recorded statement. In many states, you are allowed to decline having your statement recorded.
  9. Keep documents related to the incident in one place. Create a file or an electronic record to keep track of documents related to the accident.
  10. Consider your legal rights. Consult an attorney as soon as possible if you are injured. An attorney could assist in helping you understand your rights.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a car accident, contact the auto accident attorneys at GoldenbergLaw for a free consultation. We will deliver the Gold standard advocacy you deserve.

Uber’s Driverless Car Hits, Kills Arizona Pedestrian

Late last Sunday evening in Tempe, Arizona, a driverless car operated by Uber struck and killed a pedestrian. Uber Technologies Inc. has temporarily pulled all driverless cars from Arizona as a result of the accident. This is the first known fatality caused by an autonomous vehicle, an exciting yet still largely untested technology.

What Happened?

The New York Times reports that the car was going around 40 mph when it struck the pedestrian. The driverless car had a human operator at the wheel to take over in case of emergency. The driver was not impaired, and the weather was dry and clear. Because this is the first death caused by an autonomous vehicle, it may greatly impact the future of driverless vehicles. It was reported that the pedestrian was walking her bicycle outside of a crosswalk. According to BBC, Tempe police reviewed the video of the crash and have not yet determined fault.

Driverless Uber vehicle

How Do Driverless Cars Work?

A driverless car’s operating components include a lidar unit, cameras, a radar sensor, and a computer. The lidar unit is primarily responsible for capturing a 360-degree image of the car’s surroundings; the radar sensor measures the distance(s) between the car and nearby objects; the cameras detect traffic lights and signals as well as moving objects like pedestrians. These technologies send the captured information to the computer, which then analyzes the information, compares it with stored information (like a map of the area), and signals the car to operate. With all of these features working in unison, an autonomous vehicle is designed to safely detect and avoid moving objects like pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vehicles

Who (or What) Could Be Liable?

This accident could play an important role in determining the liability and safety of driverless cars. Volvo manufactures the autonomous vehicles for Uber Technologies Inc. If the technology in the car was defective, there may be a products liability case. Volvo, Uber, and the manufacturer of the driverless technology could all potentially be held liable. If the human operator failed to intervene and take control of the vehicle, the driver could also be held liable. Regardless, this accident certainly calls into question whether driverless technology in its current state is safe enough for everyday use.

According to the Star Tribune, Bryant Walker Smith, a University of South Carolina law professor who studies autonomous vehicles said, “the victim did not come out of nowhere. She’s moving on a dark road, but it’s an open road, so Lidar (laser) and radar should have detected and classified her” as a human. He believes the video of the pedestrian walking across the street “is strongly suggestive of multiple failures of Uber and its system, its automated system, and its safety driver.”

Sam Abuelsmaid, an analyst for Navigant Research, supports Smith’s beliefs. He follows autonomous vehicles and has found that the laser and radar systems can see in the dark better than humans. “It absolutely should have been able to pick her up. From what I see in the video it sure looks like the car is at fault, not the pedestrian.”

GoldenbergLaw Can Help

GoldenbergLaw has over 30 years of experience successfully litigating automobile accidents and defective products cases. We know that the physical, emotional, and financial damages can be a significant burden. Contact us for a free consultation.

Client Story: Is Diabetic Shock a Defense in a Car Crash?

A Story of Denial and Disaster

Our nice, middle-aged client was driving through an intersection when her car was suddenly struck by another vehicle barreling through a red light. The force was enough to spin her car into the next lane where it was hit a second time. Our client sustained numerous injuries including fractures in her neck that required fusion surgery. Before running the red light the driver managed to hit another vehicle, drive onto an exit ramp, and plow through a snow bank. Our client didn’t expect to be hit by a car as she legally drove through the intersection, yet the defendent’s insurance company was denying liability! They claimed the defendent had an unavoidable medical emergency. She came to GoldenbergLaw seeking to answer the question so many victims of negligence ask – what should I do?

The driver of the other vehicle had gone into diabetic shock. Diabetic shock is the result of blood sugar dropping to a level that is dangerously low. This can often be the result of not eating enough, exercising too much, or drinking alcohol without eating food. If someone is entering a diabetic shock they become dizzy, shaky, sweaty, anxious, and irritable. If nothing is done to even out blood sugar levels, the individual becomes severely confused and can lose consciousness. Doctors often take care to educate diabetics about the signs and symptoms that arise if blood sugar levels are not carefully monitored. But is diabetic shock a defense for causing a car accident?automobile accident

In the case of the driver who hit our client, we challenged this defense and litigated the case. After taking depositions and examining records, we proved the defendent had been diabetic for all of his adult life and aware of the signs and symptoms associated with low blood sugar levels. On this particular day, he woke up with extremely low blood sugar levels, something unusual for him, but did nothing to remedy the issue throughout the day. In fact he had not checked his levels for many hours. He got behind the wheel with these low levels and went into diabetic shock while traveling at highway speeds.

To further challenge this defense we obtained a diabetes expert report which stated: “Just like someone who has had too much to drink, the defendent chose to get behind the wheel with diminished capacity.” This ultimately led to the defendent’s insurance company paying their policy limits and our client recovering the Underinsured Motorist (UIM) limits as well.

In this case, diabetic shock was not a defense.

We have successfully resolved thousands of car, truck, pedestrian, and bicycle collisions including a number of settlements over $1 million dollars and over 50 jury trials. We pride ourselves in understanding and finding all available insurance coverages. Please call us if you have been seriously injured in an automobile accident at 612-333-4662.