Wyoming Statistics and Car Accident Lawyer
Between the years of 2013 and 2014, fatal Wyoming car accidents saw a significant increase, according to the Casper Star Tribune, from 87 fatalities in 2013 to 135 as of November 2014. In 2016, the latest year for which there is available data from the Wyoming Department of Transportation, the total number of car crashes statewide was 13,846, in which 3,314 people were injured and in which 112 people lost their lives. There is not a wide disparity between the number of crashes that occurred in rural areas (6,498) and those that happened within larger communities (7,348). The two counties in which the most accidents occurred were Laramie and Natrona, with 1,985 and 1,952 crashes, respectively. Sweetwater County came in third place with 1,267 crashes and Campbell County in fourth with 997. Such harrowing statistics show why it’s important to have an experienced car accident lawyer to represent your car accident claim.
The statistics demonstrate that car accidents are a significant problem throughout Wyoming, and rural drivers aren’t at much of an advantage over city dwellers. Therefore, it is a good idea for every Wyoming driver to review the five most important steps to take in the immediate aftermath of a collision, before you even think about calling a car accident lawyer. Even if you consider yourself well-versed in the correct procedures, in the confusion of emotions and adrenaline following an accident, you may not be thinking clearly enough to remember the steps to take. You may want to print out this page to keep in your car or bookmark it so you can access it in case of an accident.
1. Call 911
This step may be obvious to you if there is an emergency situation resulting from the crash, such as a fire or a life-threatening injury. Nevertheless, it is an important step to take even in collisions that are relatively minor and/or result in no obvious injuries in order to summon police to the scene to fill out an accident report.
Why is police involvement so important? A police report is one of the most important documents that insurance companies use to determine who is at fault. Without a police report, which is written from an objective viewpoint and does not involve the opinions of either driver, the other driver’s insurance company may take his or her side regardless of who really caused the accident. If the accident was the other driver’s fault, you may have a harder time convincing his or her insurance company to cover damages to your vehicle or medical bills for injuries resulting from the accident if no police report has been filed, in which case you may need to engage a car accident lawyer to help you resolve the matter.
2. Stay at the Scene
Another important reason to call 911 and summon the police to the scene of a car accident is so that the police can inform you when your obligations have been fulfilled and you are clear to depart. Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime regardless of how minor the accident may have been, and the more serious the accident, the more severe the consequences may be.
Opinion is divided as to whether or not you should pull your car over to the side of the road after an accident to get it out of the way of traffic. Some experts recommend moving your vehicle to a safe location if the accident is minor, while others advise you to wait for instructions from the responding police officer(s). In either case, you should definitely turn on your four-way flashers to alert other vehicles to the hazard. If you have road flares or traffic cones available, you may wish to use them as well, especially if it is dark out.
3. Assess for Injuries
It is important to determine whether anyone in either vehicle is hurt and in need of medical attention before attempting to assess and document property damage. Nothing is more important than the lives of you, the other driver, passengers, or pedestrians who may have been injured in the accident. Report any injuries when you call 911, and request an ambulance if you have any reason to believe there is need of one. Minor injuries may be addressed with a first aid kit if you carry one in your car.
You are not required to obtain medical attention following a car accident, but it is advisable to do so as resultant injuries may not show up for hours or even days following the crash.
4. Exchange Information
You and the other driver should exchange the following information:
- Insurance information (company name, policy number, agent’s name and phone number)
- Vehicle information (year, color, make, model, VIN)
To protect your identity, do not exchange more information than this, and do not allow anyone to photograph your car registration or driver’s license.
5. Document Damage
Taking pictures of the accident will aid both the police and the insurance companies with investigating the accident. The prevalence of cell phones with the capability to take pictures makes it relatively easy to take pictures of the damage. However, do not leave the vehicle to take pictures if it is not safe to do so.
What Not To Do After a Car Accident
In addition to remembering the things to do, there are other things you should avoid doing in the aftermath of an accident:
Do not move anyone injured in an accident who has back or neck pain or is unconscious. They may have sustained a brain or spine injury, and moving them could make it worse. The only exception is if the person’s life is in immediate danger from a fire or similar hazard.
Be careful what you say in the aftermath of an accident; it may come back to haunt you later. Stick to the facts, do not accept responsibility, and do not apologize. When asked about injuries, say that you do not require medical attention at the current time rather than saying something like, “I’m fine” or “I’m not hurt.”
Do You Need To Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Hiring a car accident lawyer after a collision is not required by law, but it may be beneficial if the other driver’s insurance refuses to cover your damages even if the other driver is at fault. The Wyoming Advocates can break down the complicated aspects of personal injury law in an understandable way. Contact us today for more information.
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