Steps You Should Follow After A Car Accident

Car accidents are a stressful experience and the collision can be terrifying. A car accident can leave you with injuries that range from mild, like a sprain or fracture, to severe, like a traumatic brain injury or paralysis, and in some cases death. Car accidents tend to have long lasting effects, whether it is an injury or emotional stress from being in the accident and possibly having to get a new car. If you are involved in a car accident and are injured you should contact an experienced car accident attorney.

Steps To Take After a Car Accident

After a car accident, there are some important steps you should follow; they are:

  1. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries: Check yourself and your passengers for any injuries. If you discover an injury, call 911 immediately.
  2. Stay at the scene: It is important that you remain at the scene of an accident until it is appropriate to leave. If you leave the scene early and the other driver suffered damages, injuries, or died in the accident, you may be brought up on criminal charges as a hit-and-run driver.
  3. Get to safety: If you are able to, pull over to the side of the road. Proceed by turning your engine off, turning on your hazard lights, and setting up road flares, if you have any. By turning on your hazards and putting out road flares, other drivers will be able to see you and avoid a collision with your car.
  4. Call the police: Whether you are in a fender bender or a major car accident, call the police. The police will come and file a report. You should ask if it is possible for you to obtain a copy of the accident report. The accident report outlines what happened, often proving fault and noting if any traffic laws were violated.
  5. Exchange Information: When things begin to settle, it is important that you exchange information with the other driver. It is recommended that you do not discuss fault of the accident or any other facts about the accident with the other driver involved in the collision. Some documents you will want to take note of are:
    1. Full name and contact information
    2. Insurance company and policy number
    3. Driver’s license and license plate number
    4. Type, color, and model of the vehicle
    5. Location of accident
  6. Document the accident: In an effort to protect yourself, you should document the accident. Take the following steps:
    1. Identify the officers: Get the name and badge number of all police officers who respond to the call.
    2. Get a copy of the police report: Ask a police officer if you can have a copy of the accident report.
    3. Take pictures: Take pictures of the accident from different angles; try to get the other driver’s license plate in one of the pictures.
    4. Take down a name: Write down names and addresses of every party involved. This includes passengers in the other vehicle.
    5. Talk to witnesses: If there were any witnesses to the accident, take note of their full name and contact information, as well.
  7. Inform your insurance company: Let your insurance company know you were involved in an accident. Be truthful, cooperate with them, and let them know of any injuries you have suffered. If you are not truthful with your insurance company, they withhold the right to deny you coverage of the incident and future insurance coverage. Obtain a copy of the police report for proof of fault.
  8. Keep track of medical visits: Note any doctors visits, physical therapy, or any other medical professional you receive treatment from. Keep a record of all treatments or medications you receive. Request copies of all medical reports and bills in order to help you prove your medical expenses later. 
    Tracking pain and suffering can be difficult. In order to do so, take note of how your injuries affect your day-to-day life. It is important to keep track of any missed work days, a list of any activities you cannot partake in, and describe how the injuries have affected your family life.
  9. Hire an attorney: If you have been in a car accident and you or a member of the crash was injured, you should contact a car accident attorney. A car accident attorney will help you either maximize your recovery for damages or defend you, if necessary.

Car Accidents Deaths By State

The number of deaths that have been a result car crashes in the United States has increased over the past few years by around 6%-7% a year. In 2014, the total number of deaths due to crashes was 32,744, in 2015, the number of crashes was 35,092 (+7.2%), and in 2016, that number rose to 37,461 (+6.3%). The total number of injuries also increased from 2014 to 2015 4.5%. The overall goal every year is to have the rate of deaths by car accident go in the opposite direction than they have been in recent years. Drivers can take a number of preemptive measures to prevent death in the occurrence of an accident. For example, wearing your seatbelt, following traffic laws, and practicing other various defensive driving techniques.

Top 5 States by Total Number of Car Accident Deaths

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), some states have a higher number of car accident related deaths. The top five states with the highest car accident related deaths are:

  1. Texas – 3,776
  2. California – 3,623
  3. Florida – 3,174
  4. Georgia – 1,554
  5. North Carolina – 1,450

Texas finished in the number one spot for this category, making it one of the most dangerous states to drive in, based on the sheer number of auto accident related deaths. North Carolina rounded out the top five with 1,450 car accident related deaths. Tennessee was not too far behind, rounding out the top ten with a total of 1,041 car accident related deaths.

Top 5 States by Car Accident Deaths Because of Various Factors

According to the records of the IIHS, one of the factors that weigh into the total number of an auto accident deaths is intoxicated driving. The top five states where the largest number of drivers who had died in a car accident and were found with a BAC greater than or equal to .08 are:

  1. Texas – 811
  2. Florida – 636
  3. North Carolina – 531
  4. Georgia – 470
  5. California – 470

Texas finished with the most car accident deaths with an illegal BAC with 811. California rounded out the top five with 470. Tennessee finished with 343 car accident deaths with a BAC result; that was bad enough to rank them 11th in the United States.

Another factor that weighs into the total number of deaths due to car accidents is the use of a restraint. A restraint was defined by the IIHS as a seat belt or a child’s car seat. The top five states with the most non-restraint use related deaths are:

  1. Texas – 935
  2. Florida – 747
  3. California – 587
  4. Georgia – 477
  5. North Carolina – 432

Once again the state of Texas finished first with 1,247 non-restraint use related deaths. Georgia rounded out the top five. Tennessee had the 10th most non-restraint use death (348).

Based on the information given by the IIHS we can conclude that some of the most deadly states to drive in are Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. Although those finished top five in a lot of categories, that does not mean that other states are not deadly as well. Tennessee was around ten for most categories, making it on the more dangerous side of the 50 states.

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If you are a resident of Tennessee and your loved one has died as a result of a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for a wrongful death suit. Contact us at Memphis Law Firm. We have the expertise necessary to get you the highest compensation package you deserve.

Autonomous Driving Car Accidents: Who Is Liable?

We’re entering a new age of automation that will affect all walks of life. The way we work, the way we manufacture, and the way we drive will all be replaced quickly by radically new paradigms. What does that mean for liability on the road? Sooner or later, it will likely be illegal to manually drive a vehicle on city roads. That day isn’t even close, but it’s coming. Sadly, regulations have yet to catch up to the technological reality of where driverless vehicles are today.

Autonomous Driving Cars

Tesla was one of the first automakers to release software for its line of luxury vehicles that even closely resembles a fully driverless capability, and it only works on certain stretches of highway. Although there have been accidents already (of course), the driver was always liable. Although autopilot was enabled for these vehicles at the time of the accidents, the software comes with the stipulation that the driver be ready to take over at any time. In one case, the driver was actually attempting to test the limits of the software when the crash occurred. Since then, Tesla has updated its vehicles to automatically turn autopilot features off when the driver removes his or her hands from the steering wheel.

Who’s Liable?

Because driverless vehicles are allowed on our roadways but don’t have strict regulations governing liability, courts will have to deal with each situation on a case by case basis. If you were involved in an accident with a driverless vehicle, then you may be entitled to compensation. Speak with a car accident law firm to determine whether or not you have a case. Basic common-sense regulations govern these newly evolving laws. Negligence will likely determine whether or not someone will be blamed. If the manufacturer didn’t address an obvious technical flaw, then the manufacturer will be blamed. If the driver played around the vehicle’s electronics, then the driver will likely be blamed for any resulting malfunction, etc.

We can look across the Atlantic in order to have a better idea of where our own driverless vehicle legislation might end up. The UK parliament drafted The Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill in order to determine liability for driverless accidents.

Under this legislation, insurance companies will be liable for general death and injury that occurs during driverless operations–so long as the vehicle is insured. If the human driver engaged driverless functionality when it was dangerous to do so, the human driver would remain liable. If the vehicle’s operating system was tampered with, then the insurance company would be freed from liability. If the driver failed to install required updates in a timely fashion, the driver would be liable. Last but not least, a mechanic might be held liable for an autonomous driving car accident if a repair failed or resulted in a defect.

These laws are just a framework, and they will pave the way to a world we’ll see soon enough.

What Causes Highway Car Accidents?

Car accidents are terrifying no matter what. Usually, you don’t know what happened until you and the other driver are both out of the car–and that’s assuming the other guy doesn’t decide to run away. Highway car accidents can be even more hectic, because there’s a much higher probability that other vehicles will be involved. Sometimes, dozens or hundreds of vehicles can pile up on a crowded highway, causing chaos, hysteria, and compounding the number of injuries or deaths. So what causes highway car accidents?

The short answer is easy: human error. Accidents are called accidents because they are the result of mistakes and usually simple ones at that. If all drivers followed the guidelines set forth by law, fewer accidents would result anywhere, highway or otherwise.

Causes of Highway Car Accidents

One primary cause of highway car accidents is distracted driving. Picking up that cell phone to take an incoming text might not seem like a big deal, but it reduces the amount of time spent watching the road by about 400 percent. Even though most people know they shouldn’t do it, a greater number acknowledge that they do it anyway. Distracted drivers are responsible for about a quarter of all car accidents.

Drinking and driving is another major factor. Huge numbers of people drink and drive. In some demographics, the number reaches as high as 30 percent. About a third of all traffic accidents are the result of alcohol impairment. When combined with distracted driving, we can now account for about 55 percent of all traffic-related accidents.

Highways are unique in that many people feel the need for speed when driving on them. Some even believe that speed is a crucial aspect to highway driving. The faster you drive, the more likely it is that you’ll lose control. On top of that, more speed almost always results in more damage and a higher probability of serious injury or death when an accident does take place.

Reckless driving accounts for nearly all the rest. Teen drivers are most likely to drive recklessly. Weaving in and out of traffic or bouncing back and forth from lane to lane for no reason whatsoever is common enough. When driving on the highway, it is absolutely critical to leave enough space between your vehicle and the vehicles around you that you can stop without slamming into the vehicle in front of you. Reckless drivers don’t care, and most drivers don’t realize how much space is enough to avoid an accident. If you’re driving at normal highway speed limits (and most people drive above it), then sixty feet isn’t enough room to slam on your brakes without slamming into the car directly in front of you. If you tailgate and hit the car in front of you, you are almost always liable for any damage or injury that results. Don’t do it.

If you’ve been in an accident, then seek legal counsel immediately.

How Do You Determine Lost Wages From A Car Accident?

If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident, then you know all about the uncertainty that results from that fateful moment. Will you recover fully? Will you still have the same earning capabilities that you did before your accident? Will your insurance cover the injuries that you incurred? If you were at fault, will your insurance cover any other injuries that resulted from the accident? What about the time spent recovering or going through physical therapy, when you’re unable to work? You’re in luck: the proper legal counsel will help you determine all this and more. Here’s how to determine the wages you lose after suffering an injury in a car accident.

Documents You Will Need

First of all, it’s important to know that you need the right documentation in order to prove that you missed out on wages due to your car accident. You can’t just take the time off from work. In order to show that you missed this time as a result of injuries sustained, you need to keep track of your medical expenses and ensure that the medical personnel looking after you have accurately described the ordeal. A doctor’s note will describe this in full, and provide an estimate of how much time a given injury will take to heal before you can reasonably be expected to return to your job.

Once that step is completed, you need to gather a few more things just in case: a month’s worth of paystubs in order to determine average earnings, a recent tax return or W-2 in order to provide similar information, and a letter directly from your employer. The letter should describe your employment status.

How to Calculate Lost Wages

If you make an hourly wage, then determine the number of hours you weren’t able to work. Multiply the wage by the number of hours you missed, and you have the lost wages calculation.

If you are on salary, then it gets more complicated. Your salary must first be divided by the number of work hours in a year (2080). After that number is calculated, you can multiply it by the hours missed.

These are basic calculations, but it can get more complicated if you were on the verge of a new promotion or another form of raise. This depends on where you live. Many states limit the recovering of lost wages to net income instead.

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These are the basics, and every situation is unique. If you were permanently disabled and suffer an injury that can reduce your productivity, then in all likelihood you won’t be able to achieve the same promotions and merit raises that you would have otherwise. If you believe this applies to your case, then be sure to discuss your circumstances with a qualified car accident law firm or personal injury attorney.

Accident Statistics Involving Distracted Driving

Distracted driving poses perhaps the single greatest growing health risk to Americans today. Yesterday, it was the danger that results from drinking and driving. Now, it’s the danger that results from driving with a phone in your hand. The statistics show a trend toward increased cell phone use while driving, and the consequences for being caught on your phone are serious. If you cause an accident because of distracted driving, the consequences grow exponentially. Automated vehicles won’t solve this problem anytime soon, so it’s important to know what the statistics mean to you.

Distracted Driving Statistics

There are nearly 330 million people living in the United States, and by 2009 about 210 million of those were licensed drivers. That number experiences an annual increase of over 1.5 percent, and so the number of licensed drivers in 2017 is much higher. About 660,000 of those drivers will be on their phones at any point in the day. That means this: whenever you’re behind the wheel, there are over a half million people in your position but on their phones at that exact moment. That’s a terrifying number.

2.35 million people are injured each year in these accidents. How many years would you have to drive in order for it to be statistically likely that you’re one of that number? Do the math. Of those 2.35 million injuries, 330,000 are the result of distracted driving. Nearly a quarter of all accidents in the United States are the result of a driver texting behind the wheel. That’s not a surprise, because every time you try to send a text from the road, you’re increasing the amount of time that your eyes aren’t on the road by a staggering 400 percent.

These numbers are even more appalling when you acknowledge how many people believe there should be a national ban on texting while driving: 94 percent. 74 percent believe that you shouldn’t even be able to have access to a cell phone while you’re driving. These are common sense numbers until you accept how many people decide to use their phones because the laws aren’t actually in place. If you believe something is for the greater good, then act like it!

Every day, 11 teenage drivers die because of distracted driving. In a direct parallel to the number of drivers who believe there should be a ban on texting while driving, 94 percent of teens agree. 35 percent do it regardless.  

37,000 people die in traffic accidents every year. An enormous chunk of these deaths were caused by distracted drivers who knew the risks, but did it anyway. Don’t be just another statistic; be safe. If you were affected by a distracted driver, contact specialized legal counsel as soon as possible. You have rights.

What is Whiplash?

If you’ve been in a serious automobile accident, then it’s likely you know what whiplash is. Even so, whiplash can result from any severe impact at high speed. If your head jerks forward and back again, the strain can be extremely painful. The muscles and tendons inside of your head, neck, and back can be stressed to such an extent that they stretch or tear, leading to excruciating pain and sometimes permanent damage. Athletes often suffer from neck strain, which is itself just another name synonymous with whiplash. If you think you’re experiencing this condition, then you should probably know a little bit more about it and how it can be treated.

What is Whiplash?

It’s important to know when you do indeed suffer from whiplash, as opposed to a sprain. Whiplash concerns any damage done to muscles or tendons in the aforementioned areas, while a sprain results when the ligaments are torn. You might not know the difference since the symptoms of a strain or sprain are similar or the same, and many people believe that tendons and ligaments perform the same function.

Actually, tendons help connect muscles to other structures inside of your body. Ligaments primarily hold bones together.

Symptoms of Whiplash

If you have whiplash, you’ll likely experience a reduced range of motion. This limitation can affect your ability to carry out daily tasks. You might also feel a distinct tight sensation in the muscles within your neck. If a sensual neck rub doesn’t help alleviate the knots, then you might have whiplash.

In addition, these strange sensations can be accompanied by pain when you try to move your neck in any direction. You may also experience headaches unlike those you’ve felt before. This pain is unique in that it will radiate from the base of your skull toward your forehead.

Just because you don’t experience any of these symptoms in the minutes and hours directly following a brute force impact such as that of a car accident or sports injury, it doesn’t mean you don’t have whiplash or some other injury. Sometimes symptoms can take days to fully develop. Following any accident, you should seek medical attention immediately. Another common medical condition in any car accident is concussion, and there is a strong possibility you may have both.

In order to find out for sure, a doctor will order X-rays, CT scans, and likely perform a number of other standard tests. If you do have whiplash, then the best therapy is icing the neck and taking anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen. The doctor may also provide a neck brace in order to keep your head steady. After a few days of icing, you may apply a warm, moist towel to the affected area.

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If you are in a car accident and suffer from this type of neck injury, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your injury. The experienced car accident attorneys at Memphis Law Firm have tried many whiplash cases. Contact us to set up an appointment to discuss your case.

Top 5 Cities Where Hit and Run Accidents Occur The Most

Fleeing the scene of an accident is a serious crime, and the legal consequences for doing so are further compounded if you’re the one responsible for the accident. One of the most commonly provided reasons for hitting and running isn’t a surprise: no insurance. Not having insurance is almost always illegal, and it certainly isn’t a legal excuse for running from an accident. Almost 20 percent of children killed in traffic accidents under the age of 14 were killed while walking. You don’t always have to be in the vehicle to suffer the consequences of a serious car accident. Here are five of the cities where hit and run accidents occur the most.

Los Angeles

It’s difficult to find accurate statistics on the problem at hand, but we know enough to know there is indeed a problem. Although Los Angeles is pretty far down the list as far as the pedestrian danger index is concerned (coming in at number 27 with an index of 66.91), there is a hit and run problem within the city because of the aforementioned lack of insurance. Almost half of all accidents are hit and run, which is far above the national average of only 11 percent. According to LA Weekly, there are about 20,000 hit and run accidents each year, and 4,000 of those result in serious injury or death.


According to the NYPD, there were 38,000 hit and run accidents in NYC in 2015. While this is a much higher number, so is the population. Proportionally, Los Angeles still beats out NYC as the city with the most. Most of these accidents involved some form of property damage, 4,000 involved injuring another person, and 48 involved serious injury or death. NYC is not high on the list as far as pedestrian danger index is concerned.


While all of Florida saw 92,000 hit and run accidents in 2016, the cities of Florida are noteworthy for being some of the most dangerous for pedestrians. Orlando scores a much higher pedestrian danger index than any other city on the list (at 244.28). Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Tampa trail distantly at 190.13, which still represents a high score.


For cities outside of Florida, Memphis scores especially high on the pedestrian danger index as well, coming in at 131.26. Even so, the size of the city results in a much smaller number of fatalities inside of city limits when compared to other cities on the list. There were around 130 fatal accidents in 2016–but that was 20 percent higher than in 2015.


This city scores a 119.64 on the pedestrian danger index, and is number seven on the list. In 2012, there were 3,399 fatalities reported as a result of traffic accidents in Houston, which represents about one person every two minutes and seventeen seconds.

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Hit and run accidents can take you by surprise, cost you money, and leave you injured. In some cities, hit and run accidents occur more than others. In Memphis, the rate of hit and run accidents is particularly high. If you are the victim of a hit and run accident, you can seek compensation for your damages. Contact us to schedule an appointment so we can discuss and evaluate your situation.

Common Injuries From Rear End Accidents

When you get into any accident, it’s important to take stock of what’s really important: you and the people you care about. That can be hard to do after you’ve been rear-ended in an accident that almost always isn’t your fault. It can be especially hard to do since even these collisions, the most common of all traffic accidents, can still result in terrible injury in the worst cases. Big vehicles leave behind big damage. Here are some of the most common injuries that result from the fender bender.

Common Injuries: Upper Body

Injuries that result from glass in the eye are common in any car accident, and you’re not exempt just because you were struck from behind. On congested streets, it’s likely that your car will be forced forward from the power of the rear impact, which could leave you squashed in between two vehicles. When your side or front windows shatter, tiny shards of glass can lodge themselves in your eyes. This damage can lead to diminished eyesight.

When involved in any high-speed impact of sufficient force, you’re likely to suffer from whiplash and concussion. Whiplash occurs when your head whips forward and back with great speed. This can lead to damaged tendons, ligaments, and muscles in your skull, neck, and back, not to mention fractured bones. In addition, the same motion can damage the most important organ of all: the brain. You might suffer from mild to severe amnesia, blood clot, or bleeding. These injuries don’t always present immediately, so be sure to keep your doctor on speed-dial if you notice any new symptoms.

Disfigurement of the face often occurs in the same situation. Although airbags can prevent a lot of the damage, you might still sustain severe bruising in the face. Sometimes lacerations or broken bones require the light touch of a plastic surgeon to fix completely.

When your body shoots forward against your seatbelt, the most common injury is the broken clavicle or collarbone. This can be extremely painful, and takes weeks or months to heal.

Common Injuries: Spinal

When your body senses an impending impact, the spine subconsciously braces itself. So do the muscles and tendons that protect it. If you get rear-ended, then you can’t see it coming and your spine doesn’t brace itself the way it normally would. This situation leads to spinal damage. You might sustain shattered vertebrae in the worst cases, or painful slipped or ruptured discs. Any of these injuries can take months to heal, and leave you in debilitating pain.

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If you were involved in any car accident, it’s important you seek qualified legal help as soon as possible. You may require representation to fight charges, or you may be able to seek compensation for your own injuries if another driver was at fault. Contact Memphis Law Firm, our experienced attorneys will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

Top 5 Cities With The Worst Traffic Jams

Sitting in traffic can eat away at both your time and sanity. Although urban centers are doing what they can to alleviate the problem, it won’t go away anytime soon. The U.S. population is expected to swell from about 330 million people today to at least 438 million people by the year 2050. Many of these people will move to our fastest growing cities, and we may be in for trouble if we haven’t fixed the problem by then. Here are the top five cities with the worst traffic jams.

San Jose, CA Traffic Jams

San Jose has a congestion score of 32 percent, up from 30 percent in 2016. The score means that an average trip to or from anywhere in San Jose took an unfortunate 32 percent greater travel time than the average city based on a congestion score index that navigation company TomTom compiled for nine years prior to 2017.

Seattle, WA Traffic Jams

Seattle came in with a score of 34 percent, up from 31 percent in 2016. Seattle wants to implement a game-changing, innovative approach to the problem: smart traffic lights that adapt to congestion paradigms that evolve throughout the day. If a big football game is just ending, for example, you might expect to see more green lights on the way out.

New York, NY Traffic Jams

It’s probably not a huge surprise that the biggest city in the United States is high on the list for untenable congestion. New York has a score of 35 percent, up from 33 percent in 2016. Leave it to NYC to come up with a solution that places more of a burden on the people who need to get from point A to point B: more tolls. The idea aims to reduce the vehicles on certain streets at certain times while funneling the money to public transportation programs. Good luck, New York.

San Francisco, CA Traffic Jams

San Francisco comes in second place with a score of 39 percent, up from 36 percent in 2016. San Francisco is also just a fifty minute commute to San Jose, the city with the fifth worst congestion index. The good news is that the Bay area might be getting a transportation update thanks to Silicon Valley. The plan envisions new trains with 24 hour service, ferries and autonomous buses along the same highway routes–providing more options than just the slow-going automobile.

Los Angeles, CA Traffic Jams

The city with the worst traffic is none other than Los Angeles. The city scores a whopping 45 percent, up from 41 percent the year prior. SpaceX and Tesla head Elon Musk is taking the city to task, though. He wants to bore tunnels underneath the city to create massive networks that can actually deliver your vehicle underground, speed it closer to your destination, and replace it back aboveground. We’ll see if this one pans out in, oh, let’s say a decade or two.