Vehicle Accident Attorneys
Vehicle accidents are some of the most common types of personal injuries that people seek a lawyer for. It’s no surprise, when you think about it. Most of us are on the road just about every single day. You can be the safest driver in the world and still suffer from someone else’s mistake. However, just because another driver is obviously to blame doesn’t mean you can rely on them to pay up. This is why you should speak with a vehicle accident attorney ASAP.
Common Causes for Vehicle Accidents
There are a number of ways you could end up in an accident while on the road. Distracted driving has become one of the most common reasons. People not keeping their eyes on the road has always been a problem. However, in the digital age, everyone has a cell phone and many use it to text while behind the wheel, despite laws against this practice. More and more, cars are being made with smart entertainment features, giving drivers one more thing to fixate on instead of the road.
That’s just one reason too. Other drivers become distracted because of events occurring around them, people in the vehicle with them, and multitasking.
Not getting enough sleep can also lead to tragic accidents. Many people simply don’t get enough sleep, while others may be drowsy because of medication or simply spending too much time on the road. Whatever the case, when they doze off, everyone around them is at risk.
Other drivers can be a danger to those around them because of chemicals other than medications. Drinking and driving remains a huge problem. Many people take the wheel on various drugs as well that basically have the same effect.
Road rage and other types of aggressive driving can lead to accidents too. Tailgating, for one, is practically inviting some type of injury to occur. Cutting people off, dedicating attention to yelling at other drivers or making rude gestures, and “brake checks” are just a few examples of what can go wrong.
Contacting an Attorney Immediately
In the wake of an accident, your first priority should be your own health and safety and that of your passengers. Next, check on the other parties if you can do so safely. Then, call 911. Even if no one is hurt, it’s good to have a police officer to be an objective third-party observer.
However, as soon as you can, you must call an attorney. Like we mentioned above, just because you know it wasn’t your fault doesn’t mean the other drivers involved will. Some of them—usually the one who really is responsible—may be quite certain that you’re actually the one in the wrong. As such, they’ll probably hire an attorney to help them prove it.
While the statute of limitations will give you plenty of time before you have to file a claim against the responsible party, the earlier you do it, the easier it will be for your attorney to represent you.
They may want to survey the scene, for one, and most of the evidence will be getting cleared shortly after the accident. A good attorney will also want to speak with any witnesses who were present for it as well. The longer you wait, the less reliable these witnesses will be.
Vehicle accidents can be absolutely devastating and the majority of us are at risk of being involved in them each and every day. The good news is that an experience vehicle accident attorney can come to your aid during this difficult time. Whether it’s protecting you against a false claim, getting your medical bills covered or simply recovering damages to repair your car, you’ll be in good hands with an experienced attorney.
Vehicle Accident – Pedestrian Struck and Killed
Larry and Mary Webb’s 12-year-old son, Curtis, was struck and killed by a West Virginia State Trooper’s vehicle on March 22, 2008. Following the accident, the Webb family received several anonymous letters suggesting that they should retain legal counsel to have the matter investigated. It appeared that these letters must have come from someone within the ranks of the State Police or someone with detailed knowledge of the incident that could not be obtained without inside information. The Webb family initially had trouble finding a lawyer to take the case, since it would involve taking on the State Police.
Eventually, the Webb family was referred to and retained Chris Heavens. Heavens filed suit and immediately requested the video camera footage from the State Police vehicle. The State Police responded by asserting that the camera in the vehicle “malfunctioned” and that there was no sim card (data card) in the camera at the time of the accident. Had the sim card been installed, the footage of the vehicle striking Curtis Webb would have been recorded. Since the accident occurred at night in a well-lit commercial area, Heavens believed that the camera footage would prove that Curtis Webb was plainly visible to an alert driver and thus the accident avoidable (the State Police insisted that the child was not visible to the State Trooper).
Given the State Police insistence that the camera malfunctioned, Heavens then requested the Trooper’s laptop computer to determine if the Trooper was using the computer at the time of this incident or if the computer contained information relating to the accident. The State Police refused to turn over the laptop until Heavens obtained a court order requiring the State Police to produce the laptop. By the time the laptop was produced, the State Police advised that it too had malfunctioned and that the hard drive had to be destroyed because it contained confidential information of ongoing investigations on the hard drive.
Against this backdrop of questionable behavior by the State Police, the case went to trial. During trial it was learned that a coroner had witnessed a State Trooper at the accident scene retrieve a sim card from the Trooper’s State Police car, contradicting State Police assertions that there was no sim card in the camera. At this point, the insurance company for the State Police settled the case confidentially before verdict.
Ironically, during trial the State Police argued that Curtis Webb violated his parents’ curfew and rode his skateboard in the street, in clear violation of the rules he was taught. Perhaps the settlement of the case was an indication that the State Police came to realize that a 12 year old boy’s violations of rules was no less important than rule violations by adult men trained in the importance of preservation of evidence by the West Virginia State Police Academy.
In this case, Chris Heavens retained an accident reconstruction expert who recreated the conditions at the time of the accident, clearly showing that Curtis Webb would have been plainly visible to a driver paying attention to the road. Heavens also hired a computer forensic expert to examine the State Trooper’s computer and confirm that the original hard drive had been destroyed so that no data could be retrieved. These experts were instrumental in helping Mr. Heavens get the case prepared for trial and helping the Webb family prevail on behalf of their beloved, son, brother and grandson, Curtis Webb.
LARRY WEBB, as the Administrator of the Estate of Curtis Webb, v. WEST VIRGINIA STATE POLICE, et al., Civil Action No.: 08-C-1682, In the Circuit Court of Kanawha County, West Virginia.