Everything You Need to Know About RFC Forms

POSTED BY Jon Corra . October 02, 2018

One of the most important aspects to consider when pursuing a Social Security Disability claim is whether or not the individual making the claim is capable of working. One of the ways in which the Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates your ability to work is via a Residual Functional Capacity Assessment, commonly known as an RFC.

Your impairment(s) and any related symptoms, such as pain, may cause physical and mental limitations that affect what you can do in a work setting. Your Residual Functional Capacity is the maximum amount of work you can still do despite your limitations. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will assess your Residual Functional Capacity based on all the relevant evidence in your case record.

For instance, if you have an issue with your back, the RFC will measure how much you can still do despite your back problems, such as how long you can stand, walk or sit, or how many pounds you can lift.

Your physical RFC determines whether you can be expected to do sedentary work, light work, or medium work. For instance, if your doctor has restricted you to walking and standing no more than two hours per day, your RFC will be for sedentary work. Here are the various exertional levels that could appear in your RFC:

  • Sedentary work. This means you have the ability to lift no more than 10 pounds at a time, and occasionally lift or carry things like files or small tools. A sedentary job requires the ability to sit for 6 hours out of your 8-hour work day and stand or walk for no more than 2 hours of your 8-hour work day.
  • Light work. This means you can lift up to 20 pounds occasionally, and frequently lift or carry up to 10 pounds. Light work requires the ability to stand or walk for 6 hours out of your 8-hour work day. If you can do light work, you can do sedentary work.
  • Medium work. This means you can lift up to 50 pounds at a time, and frequently lift or carry up to 25 pounds. Medium work requires the ability to stand or walk for 6 hours out of your 8-hour work day.  If you can do medium work, you can also do light and sedentary work.
  • Heavy work. This means you can lift up to 100 pounds at a time, and that you can frequently lift or carry up to 50 pounds. Heavy work requires the ability to stand or walk for 6 hours out of your 8-hour work day.  If you can do heavy work, you can do medium, light, or sedentary work.
  • Very heavy work. This means you can lift objects that weigh more than 100 pounds, and frequently lift or carry 50 pounds or more. Very heavy work requires the ability to stand or walk for 6 hours out of your 8-hour work day.  If you can do very heavy work, you can do all the other levels as well.

Your RFC will also include any non-exertional restrictions, such as not being able to stoop, bend, crawl, use your fingers, or remember instructions. Among non-exertional restrictions is your ability to function because of nervousness, anxiety, or depression.

This may seem confusing, especially if you’ve never filed a Social Security Disability claim before. It can be daunting to submit all of the forms, file appeals, and go to hearings. These are just some of the reasons why so many people turn to our team for help with their Disability claims. We’ve helped thousands get the disability benefits they deserve. If you’d like to know more about the services we offer, call us for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather talk at a later time, fill out this form. A member of our team will set up an appointment so you can talk to us at your convenience.

Not On Your Side; How Insurance Companies Work Against You

POSTED BY Jon Corra . September 28, 2018

When you’re injured in a car accident, you’ll almost certainly experience a range of emotions. When the accident initially occurs, you may experience fear. After the accident, you’ll probably worry about your recovery. However, once you start to deal with the insurance company, you’ll likely experience frustration. Insurance companies do a lot to hinder the process. Here are some of the most common things insurance companies do to make the process more difficult for those seeking compensation:

  1. They don’t communicate well. If you’re involved in an accident you’ll probably have to deal with an insurance adjuster and an insurance company you’re not familiar with. Depending upon the insurance company, the insurance adjuster may have more than 100 cases/individuals to keep track of at any given time. Chances are good that, when you call the adjuster, he or she may not return your call. When you call company’s main number, you’ll probably end up speaking with someone in a call center who has little to no information about your case.
  2. They try to get you to admit fault. Insurance companies may attempt to get you to admit fault, even if the accident wasn’t your fault. They may go as far as asking you “loaded” or confusing questions about the accident that may trick you into admitting you were at fault for the accident. For instance, if you were in the front car in a rear-end collision, they may ask you something like “what could you have done to avoid the accident?”
  3. Ask you to sign paperwork. An insurance company will need to obtain your medical records. To do this, they will need you to sign a medical release. This is pretty standard. However, be sure to review the release thoroughly. Some companies may try to get records from before the accident, or records that have nothing to do with your case. This is often done in an attempt to find something other than your accident that could have caused your injuries.
  4. They’ll try to get you to settle for less. Insurance companies are notorious for this. They often give you far less than you deserve. If you settle with the insurance company, it’s not uncommon that they will delay the process of sending your payment. Meanwhile, your medical bills are piling up, while your concern for your financial future is increasing daily.
  5. They’ll tell you not to hire an attorney. Insurance companies don’t want you to work with someone who is well versed in the law. An attorney knows what constitutes a fair settlement for the type of accident you had, and they’ll fight to make sure you’re compensated properly. This means that the insurance company will have to pay you more than they want to.

For many people, being involved in a serious accident is one of the most trying times in their life. This is only made worse by the actions of the insurance company. The first thing they’ll do is tell you no. That’s why you need an attorney who won’t take no for an answer. If you’d like to know more about the service we offer, call us today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form. A member of our team will contact you to schedule an appointment at a more convenient time.

For Your Reconsideration

POSTED BY Jon Corra . September 27, 2018

You’re probably already aware that the Social Security process can be a lengthy one. There’s also a good chance you’ve heard that most people who apply for Here Is What You Need To Know About Compassionate Allowancesdisability are denied at least once. But do you know what happens after that initial application is denied? What should you do next? What is the next step?

If your initial application is denied, which is frequently the case, and you have a disability which keeps you from working, what should you do?  It’s simple: you file an appeal called a Request for Reconsideration. The most important thing to remember about the Request for Reconsideration is that it must be filed within sixty (60) days of the initial denial. Filing a Request for Reconsideration can be a simple process. The form, officially called Form SSA-561-U2, can be picked up in person at your local SSA office, or you can get a copy online via the SSA website at SSA.gov.

In addition to the Reconsideration paperwork, you will also be required to complete the Disability Report. This is officially referred to as Form SSA-3441-BK. The last form which must be submitted is another Authorization to Disclose Information to the SSA (Form SSA-827).

All of these forms must be filled out completely in order to be effective. Be sure to review your denial letter, too. The denial letter will include the correct address to send your appeal to. We recommend sending the Request for Reconsideration via certified mail to help ensure the SSA receives your paperwork.

In addition to the forms listed above, you will also want to strengthen your case. This includes submitting any new and material medical evidence that the SSA doesn’t already have. In addition to traditional medical evidence, be sure to submit any non-traditional evidence like headaches, panic attack, or seizure journals to the SSA.

The Request for Reconsideration goes to the Disability Determining Section (DDS), which is a state agency that is involved with making disability decisions at the Initial and Reconsideration levels in a claim.  Although DDS will also make the decision on your Request for Reconsideration, your claim will be assigned to a different Disability Examiner to make this decision.

Once DDS receives your Request for Reconsideration, they will begin to gather updated medical evidence and review your claim again.  On average, it can take DDS 3-6 months to make the Reconsideration decision.  Unfortunately, most claims at this point are still denied. Some estimate as many as 75% of Social Security Disability applications are denied at the Reconsideration level.

This is just one aspect of the Disability process, and it can seem overwhelming. It’s one of the many reasons why so many people turn to Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law. If you’d like to know more about what our firm can do for you, call us today for a free consultation. Our number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather talk at a later time, fill out this form so our team can contact you at a time that is best for you.

Police Cars Might be Making Officers Sick

POSTED BY Jon Corra . September 14, 2018

In 1990, Ford Motor Company introduced an all-new model: the Explorer. This was one of the first Sport-Utility Vehicles introduced to the US market, and many believe that it helped change the automotive landscape. Nearly 30 years after its introduction, more than 7,000,000 Explorers have been sold. The Explorer is popular despite a few controversies over the years. Nearly 20 years ago, Ford Motor Company was involved in several lawsuits related to tire issues with the Explorer and several similar models. The lawsuits and recalls dominated the headlines, and Ford had to gain the trust of their consumers again. After the tire recall, Explorer sales rose again. However, the Explorer is at the center of another controversy, and it’s making people sick.

In 2017, the automotive website Jalopnik reported a lawsuit filed by an officer from the Austin Police Department. In the lawsuit, an officer alleged that his Ford Police Interceptor (a police variant of the civilian Ford Explorer) was leaking carbon monoxide from the vehicle’s exhaust into the cabin. At the time of the report, the officer was the 2nd person at the department to sue Ford Motor Company. The Austin Police Department pulled their entire fleet of 37 Police Interceptors because 7 officers had similar complaints.

CBS News has reported on this issue multiple times in the last six months. They shared the story of a police officer in Newport Beach who lost control of his Ford Police Interceptor while responding to a call. The vehicle swerved across multiple lanes of traffic and crashed into a tree. The officer suffered a traumatic brain injury, fractured eye socket, and several other injuries as a result of the accident.

Ford has investigated the complaints and found that they may be related to unsealed seams in the rear of the vehicle. However, no recall has been issued. The CBS report cited above stated that Ford has known about the issue since 2011. They have released 3 service bulletins to dealers to fix the problem. Ford released a statement to CBS news stating that there have been some rare instances in which a design flaw has resulted in consumers smelling exhaust fumes, but they claim it does not pose a safety risk.

Ford also appears to suggest that the police department may be to blame for the leak. In a statement to CBS News regarding the Police Interceptor complaints, Ford said:

“We have investigated and not found any carbon monoxide issue resulting from the design of our Police Interceptor Utility Vehicles. We know police modify these vehicles, which can contribute to exhaust-related issues. We have provided instructions to help seal these modifications and are ready to inspect any vehicles with this concern.”

The problem isn’t just with the police variant of the Explorer. Many civilians have filed lawsuits against Ford for similar issues. CBS has found over 450 complaints relating to similar issues. Jalopnik has found over 2,700 complaints regarding similar issues. Further, Jalopnik reported Ford was offering a free safety evaluation (not a recall) for Explorer owners.

Currently, the National Highway Traffic Saftey Administration is conducting an investigation. They issued a statement in July 2017 stating cracks in the Explorer’s exhaust manifold may be one possible source of the issue. However, that investigation is ongoing.

Ford is currently promoting their next Police Interceptor, a hybrid based on the next generation Explorer. The new vehicle may not have the same issues as the current version, but most departments don’t have the funds to replace their entire fleet. Ford is not the only manufacturer selling cars to police departments. Fiat-Chrysler has police-spec versions of their Dodge Charger and Durango, Chevrolet offers a modified Chevrolet Tahoe, and Nissan recently entered this category with a version of their Altima.

If you’d like to know more about product liability, or if you’d like a free evaluation, call us today. Our number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather communicate electronically, fill out this form. A member of our team will be in touch with you.

 

Resources and Your Social Security Disability Claim

POSTED BY Jon Corra . July 26, 2018

Many people aren’t aware of the differences between Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). While there are many differences between the two programs, the most significant difference pertains to income and resources.

Supplemental Security Income is a need-based program. Social Security Disability is based on your work credits. If you have a lot of resources, your SSDI claim won’t be impacted.

However, since SSI is income-based, your resources could impact your claim. Many SSI applicants find the rules about resources confusing. To clarify some of the most common misconceptions about resources, we compiled a list of tips and we’re sharing some of our best advice from the past 24 years.

What is a resource?

According to the SSA, a resource is something that you own, such as cash, bank accounts, land, life insurance, personal property, vehicles, and anything else you own that could be exchanged for cash.

SSI Resource Limits

If you’re single, the Social Security Administration states that you can’t have more than $2,000 in resources. However, not all resources count against you. We’ll explain more about resources that don’t count against you later. If you’re married, the limit is raised to $3,000. This is the same regardless of whether one or both spouses are disabled.

What Resources Don’t Count for SSI?

  • The house you live in
  • One vehicle, if it is used for transportation for you or a member of your household
  • Life insurance policies you own with a face value of $1,500 or less per person
  • Burial plots or spaces for you or your immediate family
  • A burial fund of up to $1,500 each for you and your spouse’s burial expenses
  • Household goods and personal effects
  • Property you or your spouse use in a trade or business, or on your job if you work for someone else
  • If you are disabled or blind, money or property you have set aside under a Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS)

If you are over the resource limit, you will not be eligible for SSI. Since SSI is based on need, many people won’t have to worry about a lot of the issues with resources.

However, because of how nuanced the SSA rules are pertaining to resources, it can be confusing. That’s one of the reasons why so many people seek the help of attorneys like Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law. We have the knowledge to help individuals navigate the Social Security maze.

Call us today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather talk at a different time, fill out this form so our Intake team can schedule you for a later date.

 

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How Does a Lawyer Evaluate a Car Accident Case?

POSTED BY Jon Corra . July 18, 2018

The days following a car accident can be scary. If you’re injured or witness a car accident, you need to plan your recovery. If your injuries will keep you from working, you’re probably going to be worried about finances. and if you witness a car accident you should not take a risk to put yourself in danger.

And lastly, you’ll likely be looking for an attorney to represent you. But which personal injury attorney should you choose? You’ll have a lot of options to choose from, no matter where you live.

Here are 4 factors that a personal injury attorney will typically use to evaluate your claim:

  • Medical Treatment.

One of the largest factors for any personal injury claim is an actual injury. You can’t pursue a personal injury claim if an injury hasn’t occurred.

If you are injured, you must have some sort of medical treatment in order for a favorable decision to occur. Medical evidence is the most important aspect of your case. Medical records from a credible medical professional are crucial.

  • Time.

When did the accident occur? A lot of people will start searching for an attorney quickly after their accident happens. That’s good. However, some people may wait. You shouldn’t wait too long.

Timing varies from state to state, but most areas have a statute of limitations. In West Virginia, the statute is two years.

  • Who is at fault?

The police report will play a big part in determining who was at fault in a car accident. If you’re at fault for the accident you were in, you will have a difficult time receiving compensation or arguing your case.

  • Have you settled?

Insurance companies are notorious for under-compensating you for your Injuries. They will send you an offer that will likely be far less than you deserve. These offers can be tempting for accident victims. But if you accept the offer, you may not be able to pursue a personal injury claim.

Car accidents can be scary, but seeing an attorney shouldn’t be. We offer free case evaluations by experienced, caring professionals. If you’d like to know more about the services we offer, call us today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so we can contact you at a better time.

Long Term Disability and Your Social Security Disability Claim

POSTED BY Jon Corra . July 16, 2018

Working every day in Social Security can be en eye-opening experience. Some of the stats we’ve learned over the years are staggering. For instance, did you know 25% of all 20-year-olds won’t work until retirement age? In 2017, 39% of all working Americans had no money saved.

So, what are you to do if you can’t work? If you become disabled at an early age and you have no savings, it may be difficult to survive financially.

If you decide to pursue Social Security Disability, you’re going to be in for a long wait. Some people prepare for this by purchasing long-term disability insurance (LTD). However, individuals who have LTD may have questions about how it impacts Social Security Disability.

Let’s start with an explanation of long-term disability insurance. For most, an LTD policy will take place after a short-term disability policy ends. Most short-term policies last about 6 months. According to insure.com, long-term disability insurance pays a percentage of your salary, usually 50 to 60 percent, depending on the policy. The benefits last until you can go back to work or for the number of years stated in the policy. Some policies pay out as long as you are disabled until age 65.

Many employers offer LTD insurance policies, but you must opt into these policies. If your employer does not offer a plan, you can purchase LTD through an insurance agent. Most LTD policies require a monthly fee.

If you’ve done any research on the Social Security Disability process, you know that it takes a long time for claims to be approved. Most people have to wait years before they get approved. Long-term disability insurance can be beneficial during this time because it does not take as long for an LTD claim to process. So, LTD can help supplement your income while you’re waiting to be approved for SSDI.

Can you get both  SSDI and long-term disability policy? 

One of the first things we’re asked when a client has an LTD policy is “Can I get both?” The answer depends upon a few factors. Keep in mind, SSDI is not an income-based program. There are Many myths regarding Social Security. The SSA does not care how much money or how many assets you have when you’re pursuing SSDI.

You could have 27 houses and every Ferarri ever made and still qualify for SSDI. In other words, the income you receive from an LTD policy won’t keep you from receiving benefits. The limitations are usually found in your LTD policy. Some LTD policies require you to file for SSDI within a specific time period.

Once you’re approved for SSDI, most long-term disability policies won’t continue to pay you the full amount. Instead, the policy will offset the balance paid by the SSA.

For example, if you were making $60,000 per year before you became disabled, and your policy paid you 60% of your annual income, you’d receive about $2,500 per month. If you’re approved for SSDI for an amount of $1,800 per month, your LTD policy should pay you the remaining $700 per month. Keep in mind though, this depends upon your LTD policy. Some policies may not pay anything if you’re approved for SSDI.

Know your long-term disability policy.

Regardless of whether your employer offers an LTD policy or you purchase one from an agent, you should get to know it well. Don’t hesitate to ask your HR rep about specifics, or reach out to your insurance agent for clarification on the details.

If you’d like to know more about the ways in which SSDI impacts long-term disability, call us today for a free consultation. Our number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather talk at a later time, fill out this form so we may call you at a better time.

Why Are Pedestrian Deaths on the Rise?

POSTED BY Jon Corra . July 06, 2018

A recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) sheds new light on the increasing number of pedestrian deaths.  The article mentions an increase of 46% since 2009. Further, a February 2018 article by National Public Radio stated that pedestrian deaths have reached a 25-year high for the second consecutive year. The cars we purchase are safer than ever, but more and more pedestrians are being killed and injured.

Just how bad is this issue?

The NPR article listed above stated that pedestrian deaths have been at a 25-year high for the second year in a row. What’s even more alarming is the increase from 2016 to 2017. NPR claims the year-to-year increase is 27%. In 2017, nearly 6,000 pedestrians died. According to NPR, five states: California, Florida, Texas, New York and Arizona, accounted for 43% of pedestrian deaths during the first half of 2017, despite being home to just 30% of the U.S. population. Another alarming statistic reveals that 8 of the top 10 most dangerous areas were in Florida according to the study by Smart Growth America.

Why are deaths increasing?

If you look at the increased numbers, you might assume it’s because drivers aren’t paying attention. While it’s true that distracted drivers are one reason that pedestrian deaths are on the rise, it’s not the only one. The IIHS stated that there are many reasons. Some, like distracted drivers, are obvious, but others are more nuanced.

 

Crosswalks

The IIHS found that pedestrian deaths are worse in urban areas. Larger cities are dense, with more people and more cars. However, rural areas are experiencing increased pedestrian deaths due to a lack of infrastructure. Large metropolitan areas are often set up in a grid pattern. There are usually crosswalks and traffic lights at every block, making it easier and safer for pedestrians to cross. However, most suburban areas aren’t set up this way, and instead, force pedestrians to walk long distances without crosswalks or traffic lights. The long distance between crosswalks encourages pedestrians to walk across busy traffic areas, leading to more individuals getting hit by oncoming traffic.

Light

This cause of pedestrian death was brought to national attention recently when an autonomous Uber vehicle hit a pedestrian crossing a four-lane roadway. The individual who was struck was crossing traffic in an area not designated for pedestrians. The incident also occurred at night, which brings up another issue mentioned by the IIHS. Many pedestrians are hit at night due to low visibility. The problem with visibility is two-fold. The first issue is the result of poorly lit roadways. Street lights help with visibility, but the infrastructure in most cities doesn’t include proper street lighting. The other issue with visibility involves vehicle headlights. The IIHS states that current vehicle headlights may blind pedestrians, and they don’t provide good visibility, especially at a distance.

The things we drive most destroy us. 

In a situation in which a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, the pedestrian is always at a disadvantage. However, being struck by a small economy car is much different than being struck by a crossover, SUV or truck. The way in which a vehicle impacts a pedestrian makes a big difference, as well. For instance, a small car may strike a pedestrian in the leg or the knees. A crossover, SUV or truck rides higher than a car, meaning the point of impact is also higher. So instead of being struck in the knee or leg, a pedestrian may be struck in the chest or head. An impact near your vital organs is more likely to result in a fatality. In 2018, we have more large vehicles on the road than at any other time in history.

Speed

In their report on pedestrian safety, the IIHS also mentioned increased speed as a major factor in pedestrian deaths. Speed limits nationally have increased. The IIHS suggests a way to decrease this issue is to decrease speeds. They also suggest increased use of speed cameras as a way to deter speeding. However, there is a lot of opposition to this proposal.

The Fix

The general public isn’t aware of the increasing number of pedestrian deaths. The IIHS and many other outlets are working hard to make the public aware, since raising awareness is one of the best ways to tackle this problem. However, some auto manufacturers are taking things a step further. Manufacturers like Subaru are creating crash avoidance systems which can detect pedestrians. Many automakers are starting to design their vehicles to minimize pedestrian injuries. Some cars now come equipped with explosive charges at the base of the hood. If your car hits a pedestrian, the base of the hood will pop up to push the individual back up. Volvo is currently offering this on some new cars with this feature.

We need to be more careful on the road. Too many people are dying because of these accidents. If you want to know more about the services we offer, or if you’d like to sign up for a free consultation, give us a call today. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so we can contact you at a better time.

What Everyone Needs to Know About Social Security Disability Video Hearings

POSTED BY Jon Corra . June 29, 2018

When you’re pursuing a Social Security Disability claim, your hearing is one of the most important aspects of the entire process. We understand that a lot of our clients prefer to attend a hearing in person.

There’s a certain level of comfort that comes with attending a hearing in person. However, there’s not always an Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) close by. When an OHO location isn’t close, a video hearing makes a lot of sense. Here are 5 reasons why you should embrace your Social Security disability hearing video.

 

Travel time.

If you live in a large metropolitan area, there’s a good chance you live near an OHO office. However, we’re based in West Virginia. A lot of our clients live in rural areas, and they often have to travel long distances in order to attend hearings in person.

For instance, many of our clients near our Beckley, WV office were forced to travel over two hours in order to attend an in-person hearing at the Roanoke, VA OHO. Now that we’re able to complete Social Security disability  video hearings at our Beckley office, what was once a four-hour round trip can be done by driving a few minutes to our office.

Less anxiety.

We understand that most of our clients haven’t hired a social Security attorney before and they haven’t been in court. Though an ALJ hearing isn’t like something you’d see on an episode of Law and Order, it can still be intimidating.

When you attend a hearing via video conference, your anxiety may be reduced because you’re not in the same room as the ALJ.

Plus, if you’re attending a video hearing at a local SSA office, or at a location like our Beckley, WV office, you won’t have to search for a parking place and walk a considerable distance in order to arrive at the OHO. That’s not usually an issue when you have a video hearing.

Quicker hearing.

One of the biggest benefits of a Social Security disability hearing video is scheduling. The SSA can often schedule a hearing for a video conference much quicker than they can for an in-person hearing. This is a big benefit considering the backlog the SSA is currently facing. The quicker you can attend a hearing, the quicker you can get a decision.

Better for individuals with limited mobility.

 Individuals with severe disabilities or those who have mobility concerns may have issues when traveling long distances for an in-person hearing. The video hearing offers an alternative for applicants who can’t travel far because of their disabilities.

It’s not much different.

It may seem like a Social Security disability hearing video is a big change from a traditional in-person hearing, but in all actuality, it’s not that different. Other than looking at a camera and a video monitor, the procedure is the same. Your social security attorney won’t prepare you much differently than if you were attending the hearing in person.

The judge will act the same as he or she would if you were attending the hearing in person. The questions and overall procedure don’t differ either.

Overall, the Social Security disability hearing video is a good alternative to an in-person hearing. They’re quicker, easier to get to, and great for individuals with limited mobility. However, if you would rather attend a hearing in person, we understand. We present our clients with both options, and we let the client make the decision.

If you’d like to know more about the services we offer, or if you’d like a free consultation, call us today. Our number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather be called at a later time, fill out this form so our Intake team can call you at a later time.

What To Do If You Witness An Auto Accident

POSTED BY Jon Corra . June 19, 2018

There’s a lot of information available on what to do if you are involved in  car accident, but not much information for people who witness  car accident.What to do if you witness a car accident?

Do you even have to stop if you witness a crash? Here is some helpful information you need to know:

Do I have to help?

It depends upon where you are. Most states don’t require you to assist if you witness a car accident. A lot of people believe the opposite but, if you don’t want to help, you are not required to do so by law in most states.

Should I help in an accident?

That’s up to you. However, many people are afraid to assist because of they’re afraid they’ll be held liable if they intervene. This, too, is untrue in most states. For instance, West Virginia has a Good Samaritan Law which protects citizens who intervene in an accident.

The law states that no person, including a person licensed to practice medicine or dentistry, who in good faith renders emergency care at the scene of an accident or to a victim at the scene of a crime, without remuneration, shall be liable for any civil damages as the result of any act or omission in rendering such emergency care.

So, in West Virginia, you will be protected if you help during an accident. But, What to do if you witness car accident?

  • Don’t put yourself in danger

It’s good to help other but you should be in safe side first so think first and react and keep yourself in a safe zone. Don’t get panic and put some steps that encounter you in danger and difficulties. so if you witness  car accident don’t put yourself in danger.

  • Pull off the road as soon as it’s safe.

Turn your hazard lights on, and make sure your vehicle is in a safe position. Try not to park too close to the accident scene in case of fire or other hazards.

  • Call 911 for a car accident.

Witnessed a car accident? Call 911. If the accident is severe, the occupants of the vehicles likely won’t be able to contact emergency services. Their cars may be equipped with a service like OnStar, but it won’t hurt to call 911 to be safe. Be sure to tell the operator you’ve witnessed an accident. Explain where the accident occurred, how many cars are involved and if there are any injuries.

  • Assist the drivers and passengers.

It’s possible the vehicle passengers may need help getting out of the car, even if they aren’t injured. Assist them if you’re available to do so safely. This process may be more difficult in modern cars. Each year cars seem to have more and more airbags. Extracting someone from the car may be more difficult with side curtain airbags and airbags found in the side of the door. Also, take extra precautions around electric and hybrid cars.

 

  • Help with hazards.

If there is a fire or another hazardous condition, do your best to help control the situation, but only if it’s safe for you to intervene. Also, it’s a good idea to keep a portable fire extinguisher in your car. It can come in handy in this situation or if you’re involved in your own accident.

  • Take some photos.

After the accident, the motorists might not be able to take photos of the scene. So, if you have a phone with a camera, or a digital camera, take photos of the scene. This may help later.

  • Give a police report.

It’s possible you’ll be asked to give a police report, even if you didn’t witness the actual accident. The police will want to know what you did when you came upon the scene, and they’ll want you to recount what you did, and how you helped the individuals involved in the accident.

An accident can be scary, even if you witness a car accident. While you are not required to help, it can make a big difference to the people involved in the wreck. Knowing what to do ahead of time can save time and possibly save lives.

If you know someone who’s been in an accident, you can help them by telling them to call Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law for a free consultation. Our firm has battled government and insurance giants for over 20 years. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. We can also communicate electronically. Fill out this form so we can contact you at a convenient time.