Opinion

Life in the fast lane

Sunny Miami – the land of Ferrari’s and convertibles, cruising down US-1 or I-95; coupled with tourists and ‘snowbirds’.  According to the latest statistics in Florida, there were 235,778 traffic crashes in 2009 alone. That means that, on average, there were 646 crashes each day. Read on for key points to know about how to react to a car accident how technology can help when an accident occurs:

1. Get to a Safe Location and Report the Car Accident

As soon as the airbag has deflated, turn on your hazard lights and locate your cell phone to dial 911 – or your emergency assistance equivalent. After contacting emergency assistance, stay at the scene of the accident until the police have reviewed and investigated the incident. Make sure to write down the police officer’s name, phone number and incident or police report number. You or your lawyer will want to request a copy of the police report at a later date.

Helpful i-Phone, Blackberry, or Android Application:

–       AAA’s legendary roadside assistance is available easily through the AAA Roadside application. Select the type of breakdown and AAA assures your information is delivered to a local roadside problem-solving technician for a quick response. The application also confirms your request and provides information on nearby locations of AAA approved auto repair shops.(Price = free with AAA membership)

–       iFirstAidLite – this app contains voice instructions, a CPR timer and includes essential first aid information pertaining to CPR, bleeding, burns, choking and more. (cost = free)

–       Emergency – change default numbers in this app to directly dial your local police, fire department or ambulance service. Also lets you send an emergency text message, including your latitude and longitude. (cost = free)

2. Exchange Car Insurance and Driver Details

After an accident, always exchange driver details and take some accident notes. Be sure to gather the following information:

•name (make sure the drivers license matches the name of the insurance holder, if they are different, be sure to obtain the name of the insured)

•address

•phone numbers

•driver license

•license plate number

•insurance company and policy number

•a description of the vehicle, including the make, model, and color.

Helpful i-Phone, Blackberry, or Android Applications:

-An excellent iPhone application to gather the essential information is C.A.R. C.A.R. assists you to collect all necessary information through an innovative built-in multi-media interface. C.A.R. also links into Google Maps so that you can tag the accident scene using the embedded Google Map kit. (cost = free)

iWrecked is a full-featured accident resource for easily logging all details and information after being involved in an accident. It assists in taking photographs of the accident scene and generates a detailed, professional-looking accident report to assist with an insurance claim. It can also assist in locating a nearby taxi and/or towing company. (cost = free)

iTranslator – It is important to be able to speak numerous languages living in South Florida. In the event you are in an accident and are unable to communicate with the other party, iTranslator can help you properly communication to obtain the necessary information. (cost = free)

3. Locate Any Witnesses

Determine whether there are witnesses to the accident and try to obtain their name and number. If the accident occurs on the highway, it is best to stay inside the vehicle (provided it is on the shoulder of the road) and let the police conduct the appropriate paperwork.

4. Do Not Admit Fault

When you come face-to-face with the driver of the other vehicle, try not to assign blame or admit fault or liability, even if you think you made the mistake. Let your attorney, the police and insurance companies do their jobs and use their tools to come to a conclusion. You do not want to admit to something in a state of shock.

5. Do Not Discuss Injury Concerns While at the Scene

Do not discuss the accident with the other parties involved in the accident. If someone asks, “How are you doing?” keep a low profile by saying, “I’m shaken up.” It is difficult to properly determine any injuries at the early stages immediately following an accident (as some injuries will not become symptomatic for days).

6. Photograph and Document the Accident

Phones are a great tool to assist in documenting the accident by utilizing the phone’s camera or video camera features. Assuming you are in a safe location, take photographs of the damage to your car, the other driver’s car, and the entire accident scene to give perspective of the event.

7. Seek Medical Attention

As small as an injury might seem at the time, go to the emergency room, be sure to document all health and pain-related concerns as soon as possible. This may help make your claim to the insurance company.

General Car Safety Applications and Websites:

–      A recent study from Virginia Tech Transportation Institute showed that cell phones were the most common driver distraction. It also found that the risk of a crash or near crash was 23.2 times more likely when texting. Textecution is a user-friendly application that completely disables texting while driving. Once Textecution recognizes that the phone is traveling faster than 10mph, Textecution disables the phone’s texting feature so text messages cannot be sent or received. Once the phone is at rest, or traveling at a speed slower than 10mph, the texting feature becomes available for use. (Cost = $29.99 one time)

–      To avoid a congested highway or busy road, use Beat the Traffic to provide real-time traffic flow on every major roadway around the world. It also provides predictive traffic so you can plan the best and safest course of travel. (Price = free for two week trial, then $19.95 for a year)

–      National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (www.nhtsa.gov)

–      U.S. Department of Transportation – Auto Safety Hotline (www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq).

Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert P.A. serves their injured clients statewide with offices in South and Central Florida. The firm’s attorneys specialize in personal-injury cases, including high-profile automobile negligence and defective design cases. NK&P’s practice area include automobile and motorcycle accidents; medical malpractice; premises liability; defective products; brain injury; and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

For more information, visit www.nkplaw.com.

February 9, 2011

Reporters

Jason Neufeld

Contributing columnist


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