Five Tips for Talking to Your Doctor about Your Car Accident Injuries

Jun 01, 2022 | CHASENBOSCOLO

After being hurt in a car accident, your doctor and their medical notes and records are among the most important factors in proving your case. When you pursue a personal injury claim, your physician can provide testimony and evidence about the extent of your injuries. They can also testify that your injuries are the direct result of the accident.

To ensure that your doctor becomes an important ally in your case, keep the following tips in mind. They will help you navigate all your interactions with this crucial resource – your treating physician.

Tell Your Doctor That You Were Involved in a Car Accident

When seeing a doctor for the treatment of pain or other symptoms of injury, be sure to inform them that you were in a car accident. If you simply report that you are feeling pain, your doctor might never ask you if you were in a crash. How can they know to connect your injuries to a crash if they don’t even know that one occurred?

Medical records may provide evidence that connects the injuries you’ve experienced to the accident in question. But if your doctor doesn’t know you were involved in an accident, it is unlikely that they will name a car accident in their notes as the cause of your injuries or offer the medical opinion that your injuries are related to an accident.

Make Sure Your Doctor Has Your Full Medical History

After a car accident, it is important that the doctor you see has your full medical history in hand. If you are seeing your primary care physician, this should not be an issue. However, if the doctor you see is not involved with your care on a regular basis, it is imperative that they know your medical history and how it might affect your current situation. The danger here is that the doctor’s credibility might be questioned if they are unaware of any of your pre-existing conditions. This unfortunate situation can be easily avoided by simply providing your complete prior medical records to any doctor who treats you.

Be Detailed and Specific

It is important not to generalize about your symptoms or suspected injuries. While in discussion with your doctor, try to offer specific, detailed descriptions. For example, rather than simply saying that “my neck hurts,” try to give the doctor more details. Tell them what specific part of your neck hurts and what kind of pain it is. Is it a throbbing, burning, or stabbing kind of pain? Is the pain intermittent or constant? Does it hurt when you attempt certain movements?

Details are important when you tell the doctor about the car accident itself. What type of car accident were you involved in? What was the other vehicle? Where were you sitting in the car? Where was the car impacted? Details not only help a doctor arrive at an accurate diagnosis, but they may also help your doctor link your injuries to the crash.

Discuss Your Treatment Plan

It is important that you understand the course of treatment for your injuries and what your prognosis is. This information is especially vital if your doctor believes that you may need months or even years of treatment and rehabilitation.

If your rehabilitation is expected to extend far into the future, any insurance claim you file should include fair and full compensation for this ongoing treatment. Any settlement or verdict should include the cost of future expenses for medical and personal care. Discuss your treatment plan with your physician in detail.

Ask Whether You Can Still Work

Although many workers feel like they should “tough it out” and keep working while they recover from an accident, this might not be wise. Without proper rest, many find that their recovery progress is slowed. It is also possible to worsen your injuries if you continue to work. This is why it is important to seek your doctor’s opinion as to whether you can handle a return to work. Your doctor can provide documentation in support of a medical leave of absence. In these cases, compensation for lost wages may be recovered.

Contact Us If You Have Been Hurt in a Car Accident

It is important that you contact a seasoned car accident attorney if you have been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault. Call the Virginia car accident attorneys of CHASENBOSCOLO at (301) 220-0050, and we can go over all your legal rights and options.


How to Read an Accident Report

May 15, 2022 | CHASENBOSCOLO

Car crashes are not uncommon in Virginia. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 105,600 crashes in 2020. Alcohol was involved in 6,624, and distracted drivers caused 18,808 crashes. In 2020, there were 847 people killed in car crashes and 52,668 people injured.

You may not be aware of the importance of requesting a copy of your accident report from the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you have a question about your accident, please call the office of CHASENBOSCOLO at (301) 220-0050 to schedule a free consultation.

Why Do You Need Your Accident Report?

If you were involved in a traffic accident that was attended by a police officer, they would produce an accident report. These are critical pieces of evidence when you are negotiating with the insurance company or filing a personal injury lawsuit. The report describes the officer’s on-scene evaluation of the crash. This helps to determine who caused the accident.

If the case goes to trial, the investigating officer will likely testify based on the information found in the accident report. For these and other reasons, it’s important to get a copy of the accident report for your records and to ensure that the information it contains is correct.

If you do find information on the accident report that is incorrect, you can contact the investigating officer or the police department where the officer came from. Use their process for requesting a change in the accident report and provide evidence that supports your request.

How to Get Your Virginia Accident Report

You can request your crash report by mail, fax, or in person. Currently, Virginia does not offer the option to request your crash report online. The Commonwealth of Virginia police crash report is Form FR300–P and is used by police to report crashes to the Department of Public Safety.

You can request your crash report from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles located in Richmond, Virginia, by sending a Form CRD 93 with $8 for every crash report requested.

You can also request a report in person by visiting your local Department of Motor Vehicle office. You must have a completed copy of the request form and funds to pay the $8 crash report fee.

If an officer did not attend your accident, you can fill out and file a car accident report. There is a voluntary report of crash form that can be mailed to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles in Richmond, Virginia. This also helps establish a chain of evidence of the car crash.

What Is on a Virginia Accident Report

There are six pages to a Virginia car accident report. The first page has information about the crash date, time, location, and the number of vehicles involved. It’s important that you check to be sure the information is correct and that the vehicle descriptions are also accurate. The first page takes note of how fast the vehicles were traveling at the time of the crash, which is information that can affect the determination of fault.

On the second page, there is a wealth of information focused on the actions leading up to the crash, driver impairment, driver distraction, and whether the driver was operating the vehicle recklessly. The officer will also record information about maneuvers made to avoid the accident or if the vehicle was poorly maintained.

The third page describes the conditions at the scene of the crash, and on the fourth page, the officer will draw a diagram that includes the position and direction each vehicle was traveling. The fifth page is used only as a supplement if there were commercial vehicles involved.

Finally, the sixth page is another supplemental page to be used if there was a pedestrian involved in the accident. The officer may also use this page if additional space is needed to record information about injured passengers.

After you receive your accident report, it is vital that you check each page carefully for accuracy. What may seem like an inconsequential error can potentially give the at-fault party’s attorney enough information to negatively affect your case.

Contact an Experienced Virginia Car Accident Attorney

If you are involved in a car accident in Virginia, you want an experienced and skilled attorney to protect your rights and fight for fair compensation. The Virginia car accident attorneys of CHASENBOSCOLO understand the financial and emotional burden that accompanies a significant accident. Our team of attorneys is made up of skilled negotiators and tenacious litigators. Call our offices today at (301) 220-0050 to schedule your free consultation. We’ll discuss your case and offer you advice on your next best steps.


Five Ways to Prevent a Car Accident

Mar 15, 2022 | CHASENBOSCOLO

how to prevent car accidentsEvery time you get behind the wheel of a car, you take on the great responsibility to drive carefully for the safety of yourself and others. Car accidents can lead to serious, life-threatening, and sometimes fatal injuries. Surviving a car accident could mean years of recovery, and your life as you knew it may be forever altered.

There’s no way for you to predict the actions of others. You don’t know when a negligent motorist is going to cause a collision that could seriously injure you. What you can do, however, is be aware of some things that are in your control that could reduce your risk of being severely injured in a car accident.

#1: Buckle Up

It may sometimes feel like a nuisance to buckle up that seatbelt every time you get in a car. If it’s just a quick trip to your neighborhood convenience store, you may second-guess the necessity of wearing your seatbelt. The decision is simple: wearing your seatbelt could save your life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is a nearly 50 percent reduction in the risk of serious injury and death in car accidents when seatbelts are worn by motorists and passengers.

#2: Don’t Skip the Check-Up

Keep up with regular maintenance and inspections of your vehicle. Parts that are crucial to the safe operation of your vehicle could lead to serious accidents if they fail while you’re driving. A qualified car mechanic can inform you of any of your vehicle’s parts that may need to be repaired or replaced.

#3: Follow the Law

It should go without saying that it’s important that you follow all traffic and driving laws when you’re on the road. Speeding, for example, is a common cause of car accidents. While you can’t control whether other motorists will abide by legal speed limits, you can ensure that you’re following the law to reduce the likelihood that you’ll cause a car accident in which you or others could be badly injured.

Using proper turn signals and driving a vehicle with fully functioning brake lights, as is required by law, can prevent you from being involved in a collision. If you need to wear eyeglasses or contacts lenses in order to see clearly enough to drive safely, be sure to always wear them when you’re driving.

#4: Be Attentive

Distracted driving is a frequent cause of collisions. Whether you’re looking at your phone, looking in your mirror, or digging through a fast-food bag for the french fries at the bottom of the bag, these distractions take your eyes and hands off the road where your sole focus should be. Speaking on the phone, even hands-free, or talking to passengers in the back seat of your vehicle could be equally distracting, even if your eyes aren’t off the road for long. Do your best to eliminate any potential distractions while you’re driving.

#5: Drive When You’re at Your Best

You’re likely well aware of the slogan, “Don’t drink and drive.” Every motorist should adhere to it. Driving while intoxicated is dangerous. So even when you feel like you can drive after only having one drink, don’t risk it. Similarly, refrain from driving when you’re tired. Research shows that fatigued driving can have similar effects on motorists as intoxicated driving.

The Car Accident Attorneys at CHASENBOSCOLO Can Help You Today

Have you been seriously hurt in a car accident because of a negligent driver? If you have, you can seek to be compensated for your injuries.

CHASENBOSCOLO was opened over three decades ago to help people suffering from injuries through no fault of their own pursue fair compensation for those injuries. We help our clients hold the people who harmed them accountable for their actions. Our steadfast advocacy and dedication to our clients have led to over $750 billion in compensation gained for our clients. Each client is welcomed into our firm with open arms and compassion from every one of our experienced car accident attorneys because we know the pain and trauma that they’re experiencing.

Call the DC, Maryland, and Virginia car accident attorneys of CHASENBOSCOLO right away at (301) 220-0050 for a free consultation to discuss your options. Don’t go through this alone. We can help.


How to Request an Accident Report

Feb 15, 2022 | CHASENBOSCOLO

car accident reportFew things are more unnerving than being in a traffic accident. Sadly, the statistics for fatalities and injuries in the U.S. are staggering. In 2019, 39,000-plus people died in traffic accidents, while more than four million individuals sustained injuries requiring medical care. If you are involved in a traffic accident, your welfare, and that of your passengers, is of the utmost importance. If you are physically able, call 911 to report the accident. Often, that call will summon a member of your municipal or state police force, as well as notify medical personnel to come to the scene.

The investigating officer will inspect the scene and write a detailed accident report. But whether the accident was due to someone else’s negligence or not, obtaining a copy of the official accident report will be beneficial to your claim or case. You have to file a request with the state, or, in some cases, the city in which the accident occurred, in order to get your own copy.

What Kind of Information Should I Gather?

While you are still at the scene of the accident, try to document what happened. Write down as much information as you can because this may serve to support the evidence you and your lawyer will gather about what actually transpired. It may enable you to dispute any facts that you believe were incorrectly recorded in the official accident report.

  • Write down the name, address, registration, insurance information, and license number of the other driver or drivers. If a driver does not own the car involved, try to get the owner’s name and information as well.
  • Write down the year, model, and make of all of the vehicles involved.
  • Get the investigating officer’s name and badge Inquire how to get a copy of the report.
  • Photograph the vehicles, especially the points of contact, and each car’s position relative to the roadway.
  • List the time and date of the accident, as well as any weather and/or road conditions that may have contributed to the collision. Photograph any road defects and inconsistencies on nearby signs.
  • Note the exact location of your accident, and take photos of street signs or landmarks nearby.
  • Get the names and contact information from any witnesses at the scene.

How Do I Request an Accident Report?

Each state and some large municipalities have a procedure for requesting a copy of the official accident report. Here are the details for doing so in:

Maryland

There are three ways to request an official accident report:

  • Go to the Maryland State Police Barrack where the report was filed at least ten days after the accident occurred. There is a four dollar document search fee that is not refundable. Call the barrack before you go to check on the availability of the report.
  • A second way is to access the Maryland Central Records Division website, download a copy of the request form, print it, and fill it out with the requested information. Mail it with a four dollar check to the address provided on the form.
  • You may also get a copy of the report when it is available by visiting the Maryland Central Records Division from Monday through Friday from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm, except on holidays. The address is 1711 Belmont Ave., Baltimore, MD; telephone: 410 281-2700.

If you wish to obtain your document faster, click the link on the web page for the Maryland State Central Records Division website and fill out the form online. Your copy will be mailed directly to the Maryland Central Records Division in Baltimore. The four dollar fee is required.

If your accident occurred in the City of Baltimore, call the Central Records Division Baltimore Police Department at (410) 396-2234 or (410) 396-2222, or visit their website and submit a request online.

Virginia

There are two ways to get a copy of the official accident report:

  • Access form CRD 93 online, fill it out, and mail it along with a check or money order for eight dollars payable to the DMV: Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, P.O. Box 27412, Richmond, VA 23269-0001.
  • Visit the DMV at the above address. Fill out the form and submit it there, along with your payment.

Washington, D.C.

There are two ways to request an Accident Report (PD-10) (There is no fee for requests from the party involved in the accident or their attorney):

  • Email: To request a PD-10 via email. Submit your email request to the Metropolitan Police Department Public Documents Section.
  • Mail-In: Mail your request and include a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Metropolitan Police Department
    Public Documents Section
    ATTN: Accident/Incident Reports
    300 Indiana Avenue NW, Room 3075
    Washington, DC 20001
  • To make an in-person request, call the Metropolitan Police Department: 202-671-6705 and visit the address listed above.

Include the following information with your request:

  • Your full name
  • The accident date, time, and location
  • The six-digit report number (from investigating officer)
  • A copy of a valid government photo ID
  • A copy of the completed PD Form 10B

Contact the Personal Injury Attorneys of CHASENBOSCOLO Today

If you or someone in your vehicle has been seriously injured, contact our personal injury lawyers at CHASENBOSCOLO first, not the insurance company. Insurers will offer you as little as possible to settle your claim quickly. Our legal team has successfully challenged insurance companies in court hundreds of times in the past few years alone. We fight hard to win our clients the compensation they deserve.

Our consultation is free, and you will have no upfront costs to worry about because we get paid only when you do. Call (301) 220-0050, email us, or video chat with us today.


Four Things You Should Never Say After a Car Accident

Dec 15, 2021 | CHASENBOSCOLO

After an accident, your head is spinning. You might be in pain, struggling to get out of your vehicle, and wondering how it all happened. It’s hard to think straight after an accident. You’re going to be staring at your car, at theirs, and emotions start to brew. You’re starting to feel angry, frustrated, and stressed. You might start thinking about the cost of repairs or how long it’ll take until you can drive your car again. Basically, you want it all to be over and done with.

Despite the onslaught of emotions and “to do’s” that start the second you get out of your car, it’s important to remember a few things NOT TO SAY when you start talking to the other party. While it’s hard to predict when, where, or under what circumstances you’ll be in a car accident, reading these tips now can help prepare you should that day come.

“I’m Sorry”

It’s very human of us to apologize, even for things that aren’t our fault. Normally the phrase “I’m sorry,” is harmless, simply a courtesy that can mean barely anything at all. “I’m sorry” can relieve a very tense situation in day-to-day life, but after a car accident, “I’m sorry” is the last thing you want to say.

What matters after a car accident is who’s at fault, and “I’m sorry” will be construed as an admission of fault. You can bet that the other driver in the accident will remember if you apologized, and hold it against you. Even if the accident wasn’t your fault in the slightest, you could suddenly be liable for the crash, and on the hook for thousands of dollars. Do not give the other party any reason to think you are guilty.

“Let’s Handle it On Our Own”

If you get out of your vehicle and find there is only minor damage, it might seem like a hassle to get the police, lawyers, and insurance companies involved. That is a mistake. Even if the other driver is pressuring you to just keep it between the two of you, even if they admit fault and say they’ll pay — refuse. Always call the police, then consult a lawyer.

That might seem like overkill, but it’s the best way to seek compensation. If you don’t file a police report, or consult a lawyer about the accident, it’s simply your word against theirs. And even if they admit fault, or say they’ll pay, there’s no way to ensure that they’ll compensate you for damages. The only way to properly seek financial retribution is with the help of a professional.

“I Don’t Need a Doctor”

If you’ve been in a car accident, chances are you’re going to hop out of your car and be anxious. You are going to call a loved one, call the police, start talking to the other driver, and examine your car. In the bustle and adrenaline of those first few minutes, you might stand up, walk around, and feel fine. The other driver asks you if you’re okay and you might say “Yeah, I don’t think I’ll need a doctor.” This is a huge mistake.

Though you might feel fine immediately after the accident, once the dust settles you might notice a migraine, lingering neck pain, limb pain, or even symptoms of a concussion. If you tell the other driver that you don’t need a doctor, you’ve ruled out them paying for your medicine, physical therapy, and appointments as part of a settlement. Even if you feel fine, don’t say you don’t need a doctor. Take time to assess your health, and contact a lawyer about receiving compensation if the other driver is at fault.

“I Accept / Yes”

After the accident, the other driver’s insurance company will likely contact you with a settlement. It’s important you do NOT accept this. That insurance settlement represents the absolute minimum you should receive. Before accepting any deal or settlement, it’s important you consult your own experienced attorney.

Contact CHASENBOSCOLO Today

If you’ve been in an accident, you need an experienced attorney in your corner. Our skilled team will be able to organize the facts of the accident, communicate with the other driver’s insurance company, and work hard to help you get the compensation you deserve. The Virginia car accident attorneys of CHASENBOSCOLO have advocated for your community for decades.

Our team is here to help. We know that you don’t need complex legal jargon and a bunch of numbers in your head while you heal. That is why we lead with patience, compassion, and kindness. While you get better and get back to your life, we will be crunching the numbers and fighting hard for you.

Call us today at (301) 220-0050 for a consultation.


What Not to Say to an Insurance Adjuster

Nov 01, 2021 | CHASENBOSCOLO

When you are dealing with shock and injuries in the aftermath of a car accident, it can be difficult to think about what to say to an insurance adjuster when they contact you. What you do and don’t say, however, can make or break your case, so it’s critical that you understand how to communicate with them.

The Role of the Insurance Adjuster

An insurance adjuster is employed by an insurance company to investigate and assess the company’s liability in the claims they review. It is the insurance adjuster’s job to settle the claim as quickly as possible for the lowest possible amount. Unfortunately, this means that the insurance adjuster is not on your side. Even though they may sound friendly and inquire about your wellbeing, their goal is to give you as little compensation as possible.

What You Should Do When You Talk to an Insurance Adjuster

Within a few days of an accident, you can expect a call from at least one insurance adjuster. Here are five things you should be sure to do on this call:

  • Find out who they are – Write down their name and the company they represent.
  • Refuse to allow your statement to be recorded – One of the first things the insurance adjuster will ask is if they can record your statement. A recorded statement can be used as evidence against your case, and you have the legal right to refuse the recording.
  • Only provide basic information about yourself – This can include your name, address, and phone number. Remember, you don’t have to answer all their questions.
  • Only provide basic information about the accident – This may include time, date, location, and vehicles involved. Once again, you don’t have to answer all their questions.
  • Refer them to your lawyer – If you have hired a car accident lawyer, you can refer them straight to your attorney if they have further questions.

What You Should Not Say to an Insurance Adjuster

What you do not say to an insurance adjuster is critical to the outcome of your case. The adjuster is looking for any reason they can find to reduce the insurance company’s liability, and whatever you say can be used as evidence against you and could be used to minimize your claim. The less you say, the better, so keep the conversation as brief as possible and remember not the say the following:

  • “Sorry, it was my fault” – Whether or not you think you did something wrong, do not offer apologies or admit fault. Most accidents are caused by many variables, some of which you may not be aware of.
  • “Here’s what I think happened…” – The insurance adjuster will ask you questions about the cause of the accident. You need to state the facts but keep your answers brief. Do not speculate, exaggerate, or provide your opinion about who was at fault.
  • “I’m fine” – The insurance adjuster may casually begin your conversation by asking “how are you?” Even if you do feel fine, don’t tell them so. In some cases, a victim can be so shocked by an accident, that it takes a few days for injuries to present themselves through symptoms.
  • “My injuries include …” You cannot be sure of exactly how serious your injuries are until you have been examined by a doctor. When the adjuster asks what injuries you have sustained from the accident, tell them your lawyer will send them a list.
  • “Sure, you can talk to my doctor” – The adjuster may try to obtain details of your medical history to identify pre-existing conditions and injuries that can reduce the value of your claim. Do not provide any of these details or give them permission to access your medical records, even if they say they need this information to verify your injuries.

How CHASENBOSCOLO Can Help You

At CHASENBOSCOLO, we have helped thousands of car accident victims obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation. Our compassionate and skilled attorneys are here to guide you through the complicated insurance claim process and advocate for your rights to help you obtain fair compensation for your losses. We offer a No Fee Guarantee so you can rest assured that you won’t pay anything until we recover money for you. Contact us at (301) 220-0050 today for a free consultation and learn how we can help you.

Don’t wait any longer. Call now.


How to Prevent Autumn Car Accidents

Sep 10, 2021 | CHASENBOSCOLO

The leaves are changing, the temperatures are dropping, and there is a chill in the air. Autumn not only signals the start of the holiday season but also the start of new necessary driving precautions. As you begin to travel the highways to see relatives, make your way to and from airports, and make more and more shopping trips, remember that there are important steps you can take to keep your family safe on the roadways.

Fallen Leaves

fall drivingThe first thing most people think about when they hear autumn is beautiful fall leaves. The reds, oranges, yellows, and greens are wonderful to look at through a car window. But did you know that fall leaves can present serious road hazards?

The leaves can cover the lines and indicators on the road. As it becomes harder to see the lanes, drivers are more likely to drift out of their lane, potentially hitting others.

In addition to the visual impairment they present, fall leaves are often covered in rain and dew. When wet leaves cover the pavement, your tires are more likely to slip on them. Any quick maneuvers could lead to full spin-outs or serious accidents.

Fog

Moist fall weather often means morning fog. Fog is a massive driving safety hazard. It is nearly impossible to improve your vision in fog beyond turning on your headlights. In fog, you won’t be able to see as far, the turn signals and brake lights of other vehicles are more difficult to discern, and road debris or wildlife are nearly impossible to spot. The safest way to drive in fog? Don’t.

Wildlife

Fall is mating season for several breeds of wildlife, including deer. Mating season means that animals will be more active, crossing streets and highways with greater frequency, causing more accidents. A fully grown deer can weigh up to 300 pounds, and hitting it can cause windshield damage, damage to your car’s body, and injury to you. Furthermore, combining active wildlife with any of the weather conditions common in autumn is a dangerous situation. A large deer hopping out of the fog right in front of your vehicle is sure to cause a problem.

Schoolchildren and School Zones

driving in school zoneFall also means back to school. Expect children and teens to be walking, blading, biking, and scooting all over your neighborhood roads. After a long summer, it’s all too easy to ignore the posted school speed limit zones. However, it’s critical to take those signs seriously and adjust your plans to accommodate slower stretches of driving. Remember, ignoring a school speed limit could be fatal.

Cooler Temperatures

Break out the sweaters. Many people’s favorite aspects of fall are the cooler temperatures. While appearances of sweaters and hats are on the rise, so too are driving risks.

Icy Roads

Naturally, cooler temperatures mean the chance for roads to freeze. Icy roads severely reduce the amount of traction and control you will have over your car, increasing the probability of an accident. Further, fall brings on the possibility of black ice. “Black ice” is ice that is so clear it blends in with the black pavement, making it nearly impossible to see. When drivers can’t see ice, they can’t adjust for it and make safer driving choices. When temperatures drop below freezing, your best bet is to drive with the possibility of ice in mind.

Tire Pressure

While it’s natural to connect colder temperatures with icy roads, most don’t think about colder temperatures changing your tire pressure. When air is cold, the molecules condense, reducing the space the air takes up and reducing your tire pressure. Driving with low tire pressure is dangerous. Under-inflated tires flex more than properly inflated tires. This leads to instability when cornering and braking and greater heat buildup that can lead to tire blowouts.

The End of Daylight Saving Time

Fall also brings the end of Daylight Saving Time. When the clock falls back, that means it gets darker earlier, and you are likely to be doing your commute in the dark. Therefore, in the fall and winter, you are going to be spending more time driving at night. Night driving comes with lower visibility and greater chances for fatigue.

Call CHASENBOSCOLO Today

As the driving conditions become more hazardous this fall season, accidents will happen. If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to the actions of a reckless driver, call CHASENBOSCOLO at (301) 220-0050 today. Our experienced attorneys will help you navigate through the legal implications of the accident and can help you pursue compensation for your injuries and other losses.

 


Negligent Entrustment and You

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Dec 20, 2018 | Barry Chasen

When Are You Responsible for What Someone Else Does with Your Car?

Every licensed driver in the country goes through the same rite of passage: learning how to drive. Whether you learned from your parents, learned through a school program, or used a private company, every state requires some degree of on-the-road driving experience before it will grant a prospective driver a license. Think about all those times you purchased or rented a car. The dealership checks your license, proof of insurance, and your credit. But once they sell you that car, it is unlikely, absent some ridiculous facts, that the dealership will be responsible for what happens to that car.

Now I want you to think about all those times you let someone else drive YOUR car. Did you check their credit? Did you ensure that they had their own insurance? Have you ever asked to see someone’s drivers license before letting them borrow your car? Have you ever checked someone else’s license before getting in the car with them?

Let’s say for the sake of argument that you are the type of person who requests to examine the drivers license and insurance documents of every driver—just because a person is licensed to drive does not necessarily mean that they are competent to actually operate a car.

So what happens when some driver you let use your car (or other instrumentality) , either through their inexperience, youth, or reckless tendency, causes injury to another through the use of a car (or other instrumentality)? Are you, as the owner, responsible? The answer to that question, like all great legal questions, is that it depends.

Negligent Entrustment Generally: A Brief Overview

Lets start at the top: Everybody has heard the word “negligence,” but what does that word mean in the legal world? Negligence is a type of civil penalty called a “tort”. In English, a “tort” is a civil crime that one person can bring against another to recovery, in most instances, money damages The purpose of having these types of civil penalties is to allow people to hold each other accountable for the choices they make that result in some damage, or injury. A common example of a tort action is a car crash.

In a car crash, a person makes a choice to do, or not do, something that results in two cars colliding. In other words: When cars crash, it happened because someone failed to follow the safety rules that protect all of us on the road. Tort law allows for the injured person to recover, financially, for the harm caused by the conduct of the at-fault party. In a car crash, that takes the form of economic damages, like medical bills or lost wages, and non-economic damages, like the injuries’ impact on a person’s ability to do the things they want to do, the things that make them who they are, things like travelling, working, playing with their children, or pursuing their dreams.

So now that we have “negligence” and “torts” defined, what is Negligent Entrustment, and why should you care? Negligent Entrustment entered the legal scene in Maryland in 1934 when the Maryland Court of Appeals decided to recognize Negligent Entrustment but rejected the definition of the concept given by the Second Restatement of Torts, which is a guide used by many states in forming their tort laws.[1][2] The Restatement of Torts defines negligent entrustment as:

One who supplies directly or through a third person a chattel for use of another whom the supplier knows or has reason to know to be likely because of his youth, inexperience or otherwise, to use it in a manner involving unreasonable risk of physical harm to others whom the supplier should expect to share in or be endangered by its use, is subject to liability for physical harm… [3]

In 1989, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals articulated the elements required to establish negligent entrustment as: 1) the making available to another a chattel, 2) which the supplier knows or should have known the user is likely to use in a manner involving risk of physical harm to others; and 3) the supplier should expect to be endangered by its use. [4]

You may be asking yourself “Okay, great. But what the heck is a chattel?” I am so glad you asked. A “chattel” is any physical item; any piece of personal property other than real estate. With that in mind, you can see how negligent entrustment might apply to other situations outside of a standard car crash. For example:

Ex.1: A tour company regularly rents jet skis to non-English speakers. However, the company is only capable of providing safety instructions for using the jet skis in English. The tour company knows, or should know, that it is putting its “chattel” into the hands of people who will likely not understand how to operate the chattel, or jet skis, safely. The company is well-aware of the potential dangers that can result from operating a jet ski without proper instruction. Additionally, for the sake of this example, let’s assume that the safety instructor sees the riders operating the jet skis with reckless disregard for other people in the water, but does nothing other than yell to them to “cut it out.” If one of those jet ski-riders slams headlong into a fishing boat, it follows that the supplier of the jet ski (the tour company) should be held responsible for the damage that is caused. After all, they had the responsibility to make sure that their customers understood how to operate the jet skis safely.

Negligent Entrustment in Context: Focus on Relationships

A more relatable example might be when parents allow their child, a new and inexperienced driver, the use of the family automobile.

In order for Person A to be held liable under the theory of Negligent Entrustment as a result of the negligent conduct of Person 2, while Person 2 is driving Person A’s car, there needs to be some compelling circumstances that evidence Person A’ knowledge that Person 2 is a menace. For example:

Ex.2: Dad and Mom are teaching their 16-year-old daughter to drive now that the she has gotten her learner’s permit. Mom and Dad provide her with one of their cars, titled in Mom and Dad’s names, to practice driving while either Mom or Dad are in the car with her. They spend time discussing safe driving practices with her when she is a passenger in their cars. Unfortunately, during one of those practice sessions, the 16-year-old crashes the car into the rear of a car in front of them.

The Restatement specifically itemizes that the “inexperience” of a driver is one reason to find liability on the part of the supplier of the vehicle. However, the Maryland Courts have held that there is “no litmus test to determine whether a supplier had the requisite knowledge of an entrustee’s propensity to use the entrusted chattel in an improper or dangerous manner.”[5]. This means that, without some specific factual circumstance, the court will not automatically attach liability to the owner of a vehicle under the theory of negligent entrustment.

So what kind of facts should we be looking for in a negligent entrustment claim? Let’s take a look at another example, this time involving employees of a trucking company.

Ex.3: Derrick was hired as a commercial truck driver for XYZ Corp. Derrick does NOT hold a Commercial Drivers License. At the time of Derrick’s hiring, the company did not have any procedures for checking whether newly-hired drivers held a CDL. As a result, Derrick was hired to drive a vehicle that he is not licensed to drive. On his first run, while driving without any kind of supervisor or trainer or a more experienced truck driver, Derrick loses control of his truck, causing a massive crash which resulted in multiple injuries to other drivers.

In the above instance, XYZ Corp supplied a chattel (the truck) to an individual who they should have known would be incapable of operating the truck safely. Derrick would not have caused a crash without a) XYZ Corp. handing over the keys to that 26,000 pound piece of machinery, and b) Derrick having no idea whatsoever how to handle a commercial vehicle of that size and weight.

The example above demonstrates the true goal of negligent entrustment: to hold people accountable for their own negligence. In an any relationship like the examples above, the insurance purchased by the owner of the vehicle will cover another driver that operates that vehicle with the permission and consent of the owner. This means that when someone crashes a car that you own after you have given them permission to drive it, it is YOUR insurance that is going to cover the damage regardless of whether or not you know they can drive safely.

So, what’s the point of negligent entrustment as a legal theory if the injured person has an avenue to recover the expense of their injury through the insurance of the person who owns the vehicle? The point is that both the driver and the owner of the car have acted negligently in these circumstances: the person driving the vehicle did so negligently, resulting in the crash, and the owner of the car acted negligently in entrusting the car to the at-fault driver in the first place. If you only claim negligence on the part of the driver the company, or owner of the vehicle, learns nothing. They fire the driver, tell themselves that this was a one-time occurrence, and proceed with business as usual. But when an injured party brings claims against the company for their driver’s negligence AND bring the claim for the company’s choices regarding their system of entrusting property to their employees, XYZ Corp. and all of the competitors in their industry get the message that they have a responsibility to the public to only allow qualified individuals to operate their heavy machinery.

The civil justice system is designed to provide relief to people who are injured by the conduct of others, to impose liability on those who are responsible, and to deter others in the community from committing similar harmful acts. The theory of negligent entrustment couples well with all three goals of the civil system in that it provides an additional way for the injured party to recover, it imposes liability on those responsible (not just the driver, but the guy who put keys in his hand), and deters this specific company, and other companies in their industry, from operating with the subpar hiring, training, and supervision practices that created the situation with XYZ Corp. in Ex3. above.

End Game: When Will I Be on the Hook for Handing over My Keys?

This answer to this question may be frustrating but the reality is that it depends. Compare the outcome in the example with XYZ Corp. to the example of parents allowing their child use of the family car to gain driving experience. with Ex2. Mom and Dad in Ex 2In the second example, Mom and Dad did nearly everything they could to ensure the safe driving of their 16-year-old. Before allowing her to drive the car, Mom and Dad made sure that she had obtained her learners permit and they discussed safe driving practices with her while they were driving and she was a passenger in their car. Ultimately, the question becomes “What else could they have done?” If the answer is “nothing,” then there is likely no basis to bring a claim for negligent entrustment.

Now look back at the example involving XYZ Corp. In that example, the company had nor process to ensure that newly-hired drivers were actually capable of handling the trucks that they would be required to drive. They hired Derrick without checking his credentials. They put him behind the wheel of a tractor trailer without verifying that he was actually qualified to drive the truck. They put him out on the road without any training in their system and procedures, and without someone there to ensure his maiden voyage went smoothly. Worst of all, as a result of their choice to put their profits over people, Derrick causes a massive crash using their truck.

Here is the bottom line:

  • If a vehicle that you own is involved in a crash and the at-fault driver is someone who you allowed to use the car, your car insurance is on the hook for the damage caused by the driver, regardless of whether or not you “negligently entrusted” the car to them.
  • When there is “negligent entrustment” between individuals, i.e., when you are aware, or should have been aware, that the person you let drive your car is a menace on the road, or will likely be, if given the right opportunity, negligent entrustment means that you will be named personally in any suit that results—and rightfully so!
  • The best way for any vehicle owner to avoid liability under the negligent entrustment theory is to make sure that the people you allow to drive your car are safe drivers. That may include looking into their driving history on the internet, discussing the risks and rewards of safe driving with your soon-to-be teenage drivers or close friends who borrow your car, and to incentivize caution for anyone who will use your vehicles.
  • Keeping the roads safe is everybody’s responsibility. Please share with us things you have done to teach your teen drivers how to drive safely, or share with us things that you learned from the person who taught you to drive.

[1] See Rounds v. Phillips, 166 Md. 151 (1934).
[2] The Restatement of Torts is a text written by the American Legal Institute to “restate” common legal principles in the area of Tort Law. There are restatements in various other areas of law as well.
[3] See Second Restatement of Torts §390 (1965).
[4] See Wright v. Neal, 79 Md. App. 20 (1989).
[5] See Morris v. Weddington, 74 MD App 650 (1988)


Results: An Experienced Trial Lawyer’s Understanding of Brain Injuries in Personal Injury and Sports Injury Cases Takes Care of the Client

Aug 20, 2018 | Ben Boscolo

How does a trial lawyer who understands concussions, head injuries and traumatic brain injuries take care of people who are hurt in car wrecks, falls or sports?

If you have hurt your head in a car accident or crash, a trip or slip and fall or a sports injury, you may be having many problems that you do not connect to your head injury. If you are have injured in any of these ways, a concussion or brain injury can cause any of the following symptoms:

  • Headaches or feeling of pressure in the head
  • Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
  • Memory problems or amnesia about your accident
  • Dizziness or if you see stars when you were hurt
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Appearing dazed
  • Problems responding to questions
  • Problems with word finding
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Depression

Questions about how brain injuries cause these kind of symptoms are answered in this blog.

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If you remember one thing, choosing to have your case handled from the beginning by an experienced trial lawyer who understands representing injury victims with head injuries increases your chance of getting justice.

Here are two examples of the results we secured for clients who asked for our help after they suffered a concussion:

Concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury While Playing Soccer

A soccer player reached out to CHASENBOSCOLO to help him deal with the complications of a concussion that occurred as a result of playing soccer. As a result of the player’s choice to hire an experienced trial lawyer who understands traumatic brain injuries, he received almost three quarters of a million dollars in benefits. More importantly, the player will receive all of the medical care he needs for his traumatic brain injury for the rest of his life.

Some people think a brain injury to a professional soccer player does not have much to do with the problems they experience from a concussion in a motor vehicle collision or a fall. Hearing the player’s story will help anyone who has a head injury understand: (1) the symptoms they can have; and (2) how the insurance company will behave.

Our client suffered a concussion when he was elbowed in the head. After the hit, our client experienced immediate symptoms included a loss of consciousness, dizziness and confusion. Over the course of the next two days he was dazed, confused and struggling to participate in the daily activities of life. However, like many folks who suffer traumatic brain injuries, he was in denial. Having grown up in a sports culture that encouraged him to “shake off” minor injuries like hitting his head, he did not think these symptoms prevented him from playing. More importantly, as a person who did not let anything stop him from accomplishing his goals, he was committed to not missing any games.

The player was cleared by the team’s orthopedic surgeon, not a doctor who generally takes care of head injuries, to return to play. Based on his desire to play soccer and the opinion of the doctor, the player chose to play in another game two days later. He will regret this decision for the rest of his life. He started the game despite having ongoing symptoms of the concussion two days earlier. During the game, he was hit in the head for a second time. This hit caused a dramatic worsening of his post-concussion symptoms.

Since suffering that concussion, our client never regained full brain function. For about a year, his employer gave him a front office job that simply required him to sit at a desk, use the computer and telephone and talk to people. Even these simple job duties proved to be too great for him. This former elite athlete was not able to answer the phone or use a computer due to the symptoms of his brain injury.

Even worse, his life’s plans were derailed. While playing soccer, he had formed a business running soccer camps and coaching youth soccer players as a way to both supplement his income and to begin planning for his post-career life. Before the injury, he was involved in all of the activities that go into running a business. He marketed the business, entered into contracts, coached players, made personal appearances and participated in the day-to-day operation of the business. Before his concussion, he had no problems balancing the e-mails, phone calls and meetings that were required to build and run his business with the demands of his work as a professional athlete. Multitasking was part of his daily life. After the traumatic brain injury, he tried to keep his business running. Although he could no longer participate in camps or coach kids, he tried to help by making personal appearance and performing administrative work for the business. The player did what he could to market, negotiate contracts and respond to daily e-mails. As time passed, he learned that he could not even do these simple activities that required virtually no physical activity. Looking at the computer screen for an extended period of time worsened his symptoms. Attempting to multitask worsened his symptoms. He had no choice but to give the business to his partner

As a result of these back-to-back concussions, the player is now unable to work in any meaningful way. While he can function as a husband and father for a few hours each day, these back-to-back concussions prevent this former professional athlete from engaging in the simple activities of daily living for more than a few hours at a time. He is now forced to spend most of his time in his home without much noise or light in an effort to prevent the worsening of his post-concussive symptoms.

The player’s health was gone and his ability to care for his family was in danger. He asked us to protect his family. We decided that the best way to do this was to file a workers’ compensation claim.

When we did, his former team denied that he had any ongoing symptoms as a result of the concussions he suffered. The claim was contested from beginning to end. The club contended that the player did not have a traumatic brain injury. The club accused him of exaggeration. The club said he was doing this just to get money. Since there is no test that can prove a person has a traumatic brain injury, the club used that fact to support its argument.

We presented his case to an Administrative Law Judge. To overcome the fact that there were no tests prove there is a brain injury, we presented the testimony of two neurologists and a neuropsychologist who had cared for the player.

While the Judge was considering the case, the club agreed to a settlement that will allow the player to protect himself and his family. The player’s medical expenses, which to date exceed $100,000.00, have all be paid by the workers compensation insurance company. The club will continue to pay for the medical care he needs for the rest of his life. Finally, as a result of our efforts, our client received in excess of $600,000 to make up the wages he lost as a result of the end of his career.

If insurance companies doubt that a highly motivated professional athlete actually suffers from traumatic brain injury, you can be sure that they will doubt all hard-working men and women who suffer with post-concussion symptoms. If you have suffered a head injury while working, talk to a trial lawyer who is knowledgeable about traumatic brain injuries. If you do so, he or she will fight for an outcome that protects you and your family

Concussion or Traumatic Brain in a Car Accident or Motor Vehicle Collision

If you suffer a concussion in a motor vehicle collision, you should talk with a trial lawyer who understands traumatic brain injuries. A lawyer with experience in representing people with head injuries will help you get the results that you deserve.

In 2013, a woman who was a community fixture in a Maryland suburb of the District of Columbia suffered a head injury in a wreck. She was a long-time employee of the community’s school system. At the time she was injured, she co-owned a toy store in the center of town. Prior to the motor vehicle collision, she was in perfect health and had an excellent memory. She was responsible for maintaining her toy store’s inventory. Her former business partner told us that she had a computer-like recall of toys the store had in stock and what each toy cost.

On the day of the injury, the woman was leaving the store’s parking lot. A traffic light controls the exit. The woman stopped at the traffic light and waited until it turned green. She looked to her left, her right and back to her left to be sure that traffic was stopped. When she was sure it was safe, she entered the intersection. A driver coming from her left in the left hand lane of traffic ran the red light and crashed into the driver’s side of the woman’s car. The airbags deployed. The woman was tossed from side to side hitting her head during the collision. She immediately developed a lump on her forehead and had cut on her head. She was dazed but did not lose consciousness.

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In addition to injuring her head, she suffered injuries to her left shoulder, upper and lower back, and the left leg from the knee down.

At the emergency room, she denied she had lost consciousness. But, she could not remember anything between hearing a boom and realizing that someone was at her door asking her if she was all right. She has absolutely no recollection of the period of time right after the crash.

In the days, weeks and months that followed the collision, she had headaches, dizziness, balance issues and memory loss. Simple things like finding her keys or remembering what toys were out of stock escaped her mind.

Our client is a very tough person. She does not like or trust doctors.

Other than some treatment that was designed to try to improve her balance problems, our client chose not to get much medical care and treatment. When she was still experiencing memory loss, headaches, balance problems and dizziness, we sent her to see a top-notch neurologist. That neurologist determined that our client had a brain injury. He recommended neurological care. Our client chose not to get this care because it would only provide temporary relief and she does not like going to doctors. The neurologist concluded that our client lost 15% of the function of her brain.docotrhart

Our client also was afraid to drive because she thought another irresponsible driver would ignore the traffic safety rules and hit her again. Our client was sure that she was going to be in another crash. Her driving anxiety is so bad that she never drives past the intersection where the collision happened. In order to help her overcome her fear we sent her to see a highly regarded psychiatrist. That doctor determined that our client suffered from depression and anxiety as a result the motor vehicle collision. He recommended psychological care. Our client chose not to get medical care because it would only provide temporary relief and she does not like going to doctors.

The insurance company, as they always do, based its evaluation of the case on the medical care and its costs. Since our client did not like doctors and did not get much medical care, her medical expenses were not very high. In the weeks and months leading up to trial, the insurance company offered only $57,000 for the life-changing traumatic brain injuries that our client suffered.

We decided that the case had to be presented to a jury. The case was tried for two days. The neurologist explained how the traumatic brain injury occurred and a friend, family member and former business partner all testified as to their observations of how the motor vehicle collision changed our client’s life.

After learning about traumatic brain injuries in general and how our client’s life was changed, the jury returned a $500,000 verdict.

This is why it is important to have a trial lawyer who is knowledgeable about traumatic brain injuries handle your personal injury or workers’ compensation case

The Most Important Thing to Remember

The simple truth is that concussions and traumatic brain injury are serious, life-changing injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are common in car wrecks, fall or sports injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are hard to understand and treat. It is very hard to prove that a person has a traumatic brain injury. Insurance companies and their lawyers know how to get their clients off the hook if you suffer a traumatic brain injury in a car wreck, fall or sports injury. If you want the results you deserve, you should talk with a trial lawyer who has actually tried cases involving traumatic brain injury.

CHASENBOSCOLO has more than twenty experienced trial lawyers waiting to help you, and we’re ready to help day or night.


Crash Victims Matter: Understanding the Role of Law Enforcement After a Collision

Jun 11, 2018 | Melody Haynes

Victims matter. You may have heard or seen a version of this statement many times, given the apparent unrest and violent eruptions in many communities throughout the nation. Some may feel that this phrase (or a variation thereof) is probably a little overused and not always uttered with clarity or sincerity. However, that does not diminish its truth: victims do matter. Many of you, or at least people you know, have had the most unfortunate experience of being immobilized and victimized by a random stranger’s inept driving and recklessness. You do not have to feel powerless as you sit in shock, and maybe in pain, on the side of the road. Ponder this advice and let it embolden you and your loved ones if, or more likely when, you are put in that horrible predicament.

After being victimized by a car crash, what you do thereafter also matters. You can increase the capacity for physical and emotional healing, as well as reasonable compensation for this potentially life-changing event, notwithstanding the miserable harms and losses. The answer to how this can be accomplished may surprise you: so long as you are able to safely do so, get the police involved. If this seems underwhelming from previous police encounters, let us explore exactly how you can obtain useful information that can be decisive in future negotiations and/or litigation, if necessary.

Most will probably concede that in personal or critical injury and fatal crashes, the resources and investigation tactics employed by law enforcement officers are indispensable. However, even in collisions where there is no obvious trauma, only minor apparent property damage, in the event of a hit-and-run or in other roadside public disturbances, law enforcement officers can still render invaluable assistance and make additional determinations about commencing investigations that can prove vital as you are attempting to recover from the wreckage.

A responding law enforcement officer can help identify non-obvious safety hazards or additional threats to your personal safety. Witness identification, evidence preservation, traffic restoration, and property protection are further benefits of police involvement.

Regardless of the magnitude of the crash, Law enforcement officers have a duty to respond when called. Even in the event of no visible injury and when no official report will be issued, an officer can assist the involved parties with exchanging information. People can seem unapproachable or intimidating, especially when emotions are high after a collision. If it is safe, remain in your car and wait for the authorities to respond to facilitate the exchange. Parties should exchange driver’s licenses, vehicle registration, and insurance information. The responding officer should run a record check of all licenses and vehicle registrations, even when they appear to be valid. This can protect you against fraud. If the information presented cannot be verified or if additional issues or violations exist, the officer should issue applicable citations or supplemental reports.

In addition to verifying the identity and possibly charging the person who hit you, an officer can generate a report that objectively documents the date, time, location of the incident and comprehensive information regarding the cars and parties involved. In most cases, the weather, lighting and roadway conditions will be noted along with collision diagrams and pictures. Officers can obtain statements from the parties and examine the vehicles, assigning fault and registering contributing factors such as evidence of speeding, broken brake lights and missing signals. This can protect you against future false allegations that may attempt to shift any fault to you.

In every case in which a law enforcement officer responds to an incident, a Complaint Control Number (CCN) or case reference number will be assigned. Interested parties can then follow up with the local police station or barracks to acquire or make any related reports.

While the officer is running reports and gathering information, take a few moments to catch your breath. After a crash, your body may be in a bit of shock. Try to listen to your body; if something does not feel right, do not ignore it. Do not feel shamed about requesting medical attention when an injury may not be completely obvious. You may find that most law enforcement officers define “personal injury” as an injury that is observable or evident or for which a person is transported by ambulance. Police may totally discount only complaints of pain or discomfort without the request for hospital transport. Your health and safety are precious. Let a medical professional expertly assess any trauma. Even if you do not believe you need to be transported to a hospital, try not to needlessly move about the scene. Your body may have a delayed reaction to the impact as adrenaline can mask injury symptoms. Make sure you do not ignore any dizziness or pains. Get the treatment you need right away. Having a professional diagnose your injuries and correlate them with the motor vehicle collision can not only get you started on the path to physical recovery sooner, but it can also strengthen your credibility and secure the records needed for any future claims. Additionally, feelings of anxiety after a car crash can also be an unfortunate common occurrence. There are many ways you can work through those feelings with professional care, personal attention and time. Do not be afraid to explore your resources.

Take the opportunity to ask the responding officer questions. You may need to follow up by making your own report at the station. If new information is uncovered after a collision, a law enforcement officer will not likely have to produce a new or updated report. However, this is something that you can accomplish to preserve the record and chronicle all relevant happenings.

Hit-and-Run Cases

If you are ever the unfortunate victim of a hit-and-run, be sure to alert your local law enforcement agency right away. An officer will not be dispatched to investigate crashes that occurred on, or were discovered on, a previous date. When you delay in contacting law enforcement, you effectively diminish the chances of obtaining valuable evidence, rendering police investigation essentially moot. Again, when police arrive to investigate after a crash has occurred, and the scene has been stabilized as much as possible, their examination of the facts determines what happens next and whether an official report or additional resources are needed. To effectively develop investigative leads, the timing has to be just right to identify and interview potential witnesses and drivers, make observations of other vehicles near the scene close to the time of the occurrence, recover physical evidence that can properly be identified as being left contemporaneously to the incident and register as many details as possible while they are still fresh in your memory.

Law enforcement officers handling a hit-and-run can be expected to make all efforts to identify the striking vehicle and the vehicle’s driver. When the description of a suspect or suspect’s vehicle is available, it will likely be broadcasted from the scene. If the victim is able to record a tag or partial tag number that allows police to identify an owner, a report should document the subsequent contact with that person and record any explanations or relevant statements offered. Most law enforcement officers will have the authority to make a full custody arrest of a hit-and-run suspect, although other permissible procedures can include the issuance of citations or application for a warrant.

For a hit-and-run that has occurred on an earlier date, you may still file a report, but will need to contact your local law enforcement agency to determine the correct forms and processes.

Additional Situations That Factor Into Police Reports

As suggested before, Law enforcement officers are not required to generate an official report for every collision. In a single- or multi-vehicle property damage crash where the vehicles may or may not be disabled but are not on public property, an official report may be optional. Crashes on public roadways not resulting in disabling damage to any vehicle or not causing an impediment to the roadway may also not yield an official report. Nevertheless, you can still expect officers to follow proper procedure by ascertaining the possession and validity of drivers’ licenses, checking vehicle registrations and VIN plates against registration documents and plates and determining the wanted status of drivers or vehicles. In the event of a discrepancy, it should also be expected that the officer will then issue an official report.

Law enforcement officers are not totally infallible and the reports they generate may occasionally contain mistakes, mischaracterizations or important omissions. Law enforcement officers are primarily tasked with public safety concerns, civil infractions and criminal violations, and they may appear reluctant to get involved in determining civil liability. Try not to fret, as you can overcome these challenges as well. If an officer fails to attribute fault to the person who hit you, many times there is other evidence of contributing factors or even partial statements that can identify the negligent party. Insurance companies will often conduct their own investigation into what happened, especially if you are contesting what has been recorded. The evidence your insurance company uncovers can be sufficient to corroborate your recitation of the occurrence.

More often than not, reports of Law enforcement officers may be deemed inadmissible hearsay in civil proceedings. Accordingly, photographs of property damage and the scene of the crash, as well as repair estimates, medical records and testimony, can fortify your case. Notwithstanding any police error, with the assistance of competent counsel, you can attain a settlement or judgment that adequately endeavors to compensate you for all that has been lost.

In many cases, the law does not require you to contact the police. However, even when you do not make the call yourself, someone else does and an officer may arrive at the scene of your collision. The law enforcement officer has responded to ascertain if medical attention is required, to conduct an investigation into the occurrence and to prevent further disruption to the public or traffic. Naturally, one of the first things a responding officer will do is make contact with the drivers and attempt to discover what actually took place. There is no law that requires motorists to answer every question posed by an officer. However, being nonresponsive or rude is not appropriate either and will not prove helpful. For the most part, if an officer asks for your license, registration, and insurance information, you should comply with this request. If you fail to comply, you may then be issued citations or may be arrested.

When you are the regrettable victim of a car collision, there should be nothing to fear in dialoguing with the responding officer, especially if the other driver is quite obviously at fault and you have not done anything wrong. However, if for whatever reason you do not wish to speak with an officer, try to be polite and advise them that you do not feel comfortable answering any additional questions or that you would like the opportunity to first consult with an attorney. If an officer is generating a report, any statements you make can be recorded or noted as part of the investigation. What you say is important, and you should be afforded the opportunity to collect your thoughts or reserve your right to make an official report at a later time.

In conclusion, when someone else makes the decision to talk on his or her cellphone, run a red light or reach down for a coffee and crash into you, you have been victimized. Take time to assess your body and check on any passengers. If you can safely make a call, reach out to law enforcement. Regardless of how major or minor you feel the collision is, the assistance, verifications, evidence preservation, traffic restoration and reports that an officer can provide can empower you, changing you from a victim to a survivor, and from a survivor to a vanquisher.

Last Updated : June 11, 2018