Why You Should Call a Lawyer immediately After a Collision

When you have been injured by a negligent motor vehicle operator – whether while riding a motorcycle or bicycle, walking as a pedestrian, or driving another car – you may be overwhelmed by the emotional impact of what you’ve endured, or by physical injuries, or by concerns over how you will recover financially, physically and emotionally. Obtaining financial compensation for your losses may initially be far down on your list of needs following the collision.

But, what you do to protect yourself from further harm in the first days after a collision is key to assuring that you are fairly treated by the negligent driver’s insurance company and by our justice system. Clifford & Raihala’s personal injury attorneys in Madison, Wisconsin have decades of experience protecting personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin and Illinois; we want you to know how you can act to vindicate your rights and protect your claims for fair and just compensation, in the hours and days following a collision.

First, be aware that insurance companies require car drivers they insure to promptly report any collision they have caused. That means that the insurer of the driver who negligently injured you – and who may owe you compensation for the injuries its insured caused you — will know about the collision almost immediately after it happened. That insurance company will immediately begin to mount its defenses against you, to claim its insured was not responsible, to claim you were completely or partially responsible, to convince witnesses that you were the negligent party, and so on. That insurance company may even come into your hospital room to interview you. Be aware, they have no right to do so, and the interview is designed to make you admit that you might be responsible, and that your injuries really aren’t that bad.

During these important days immediately following the collision, you have no one on your side, but the negligent driver’s insurer is mounting a campaign against you while you are completely unaware of their activities and tactics. You need someone on your side. At Clifford & Raihala, our personal injury attorneys know that steps taken immediately after a collision can assure you will receive fair and full compensation for your injuries and financial losses.

When our personal injury lawyers are retained shortly after a collision, we will immediately begin obtaining information needed to prosecute your claim, information including the motor vehicle accident report from the police, medical records and bills, police and client photos of the accident scene, interview statements from witnesses named in the accident report, ambulance reports, applicable insurance policies, and other case specific information.

But the first days of representation create a unique opportunity for Clifford & Raihala’s personal injury lawyers in Madison to obtain evidence that may control the outcome of your case. Nothing is routine for our personal injury attorney team. We are creative in seeking information from new sources and unexpected places. Several examples are worth considering.

Highway Videos: The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) operates over 250 traffic cameras throughout Wisconsin. These cameras monitor and record traffic mainly on heavily traveled highways. The DOT has a website which shows camera views and maps showing the location of traffic cameras. So, we can quickly determine if a DOT camera video has captured the actual collision in which our client was injured. However, these videos are routinely kept for only 72 hours, so fast action is imperative. As well, many municipal street videos are available at key intersections, as are videos for commercial establishments. Clifford & Raihala personal injury attorneys may seek these videos to demonstrate exactly what happened to cause our client’s harm. In one recent car-pedestrian case, we obtained a video showing our client hit in a crosswalk by a turning car and being thrown over the car causing significant injuries. The video eliminated any defense claim that our client was not in the crosswalk, did not have the right of way, and that the driver was not negligent.

911 Transcripts: Most 911 centers have detailed reports available for every incident or collision. These provide valuable information regarding time and duration, names and telephone numbers of witnesses and damages. In one recent case, Clifford & Raihala personal injury attorneys in Madison, Wisconsin obtained the 911 transcripts of multiple callers who observed different views of a tragically fatal rear-end collision with our deceased client who had stopped in traffic “due to an object in the roadway,” as the accident report described it. We found a 911 caller’s report that the object had fallen off a truck, which meant that “another vehicle” was involved and triggered our client’s own insurance policy’s “uninsured motorist” coverage of $100,000.00 which we recovered. When added to the insurance coverage of the driver who hit her, our personal injury attorneys obtained a total recovery for her family to $310,000.00 for their tragic loss.

Witness Interviews: Clifford & Raihala personal injury attorneys understand the importance of interviewing witnesses promptly in the appropriate case to secure evidence establishing our client’s lack of fault and the negligence of the other driver. In one recent case, our pedestrian client was struck by a negligent driver. The driver’s insurance company claimed our pedestrian client was at fault and was responsible for the collision. Clifford & Raihala’s partner John Raihala, who heads our personal injury lawyer team, had promptly obtained an affidavit from a witness who swore that our client was “entirely within the crosswalk,” and that the driver was “not slowing down” and was “100% responsible for causing the collision.” When he presented the affidavit to the insurer, it settled the claim for $640,000.00. The settlement was secured by promptly obtaining the witness’ statement.

There are many reasons to promptly seek competent legal representation immediately after you have been injured, or after a loved one has been fatally injured, in a motor vehicle accident. These are just a few. But, know this: when you have been injured through the fault of another, Clifford & Raihala’s personal injury attorneys in Madison stand ready to promptly come to your assistance. Call us at 608-257-7900 (or toll free at 888-791-8422) or click https://myjustice.com to connect with us now. There is no obligation and no fee unless we recover compensation for your injuries.
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