A recent car crash in Little Falls may not seem serious. But regardless of how things appear, it’s usually best to call a Brainerd Car Accident lawyer after a bad crash and learn about your legal options.
The September 2018 wreck happened near the intersection of 113th Street and Highway 10. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, 23-year-old Samantha Monnier, of Little Falls, turned her Ford Focus from eastbound 113th onto northbound Highway 10. At that moment, 79-year-old Guy Johnson, of Rice, rear-ended her vehicle. He and a passenger in his Subaru Outback were both transported to a nearby hospital with serious injuries.
Investigators have yet to determine a cause for the crash.
The Legal Difference Between Fault and Liability
Based on these facts, it appears that the Outback was at fault for this crash. For that reason, the injured parties might think they do not have a legal claim for damages. But appearances can be deceiving.
The initial police accident report is sometimes incomplete. When emergency responders arrive on a scene, their first priorities are securing the scene and tending to injured victims. An accident report is far down the list. Moreover, even experienced emergency responders are not accident reconstructionists. In a complex intersection collision, it’s difficult to pull together all the facts into a succinct narrative.
Police accident reports may also be misleading. If the victims are seriously injured and hospitalized, the report only contains one side of the story.
There are also legal issues which only an experienced Brainerd car accident lawyer can evaluate. For example, rear-end crashes often involve the last clear chance doctrine. This rule flips liability for the crash in some cases.
In this rear-end crash, the Focus driver might have been able to avoid the crash. Perhaps she did not look carefully enough before turning, or perhaps she could have changed lanes at the last moment. If the crash were avoidable, and the Focus driver failed to take appropriate action, the Focus driver could be legally responsible for the crash.
At the very least, a failure to avoid a wreck could be considered contributory negligence. Such a finding could affect the amount of compensation the victim receives.
Brainerd Car Accident Lawyers and Medical Attention
Some car crash injuries, like broken bones and head trauma injuries, are easy to spot. But others are much more subtle. Whiplash is a good example. Sudden whip-like motion causes this head/neck injury. Many victims may not be in very much pain initially. The brain hides its own injuries very well, and adrenaline often masks the pain.
So, it’s always important to seek medical attention straightaway. Many people cannot afford to see doctors, or their health insurance policies do not cover accident-related care. Fortunately, a Brainerd car accident lawyer can arrange medical care without upfront cost. As a bonus, this care comes from an auto collision specialist.
Prompt medical attention also helps victims receive maximum compensation later. If they delay going to doctors, insurance companies often argue that their injuries must not have been very bad.
Gathering the Facts After an Accident
As mentioned, the police report is sometimes not a reliable source. So, an attorney must often collect additional evidence. Unless this collection occurs within the first few days after the crash, this vital evidence may be lost for good.
- Witness Statements: Memory does not fade slowly over time. Most people forget about 90 percent of new information within forty-eight hours. So, if a Brainerd car accident lawyer does not interview witnesses in that time frame and make notes, they may not be able to swear to their stories later.
- Event Data Recorder: The EDR tracks things like vehicle speed, engine RPM, and steering angle. If the car is totaled, the insurance company usually destroys the vehicle after a couple of days. Once that happens, the EDR and any other physical evidence in the car is gone for good.
- Medical Records: Largely because of privacy laws, the longer these records sit in the hospital, the more red tape accumulates and the harder they are to obtain.
Evidence is critical to victim/plaintiffs because they have the burden of proof in negligence cases. They must establish a lack of care by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). Simply put, without a considerable amount of evidence, it’s very difficult for a Brainerd car accident lawyer to obtain fair compensation.
Call Today To Speak With A Brainerd Car Accident Lawyer From Carlson & Jones
If you are hurt in a car wreck, you may have legal options, but you need to act quickly. For a free consultation with an experienced Brainerd car accident lawyer, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. Home and hospital visits are available.