Car Wreck Cases
I started my career as a plaintiffs’ lawyer before being a business attorney Tulsa working for the heavy hitter himself, Jeff Martin. I liked Jeff and learned quite a bit working for him. Over the course of my years as a litigator, I have handled thousands of car wreck cases ranging from pre-litigation all the way to appeal. They are one of the most common lawsuits filed. I once heard a statistic that every adult will be involved in one major car wreck in their lifetime. Given the way I see people drive everyday, I tend to believe it.
So what do you do as a business owner if you have employees driving as part of their work? As an aside, it does not matter if you have an employee driving a company car while working or driving their own personal vehicle and driving as part of his/her job responsibilities. Any business attorney Tulsa will tell you that legally, if the employee is working, and involved in a car wreck, it does not matter that it is in the employee’s personal vehicle.
Here are several tips I recommend to help keep your company safe in the event of an accident.
First, I would have an accident checklist written by you and your business attorney Tulsa that you give to every employee to put in the glovebox of his/her personal/work vehicle. The checklist would have, at a minimum, the following items:
- Check to see if the other driver is injured.
- If in danger, move your cars out of the way of traffic
- Call 911
- Call your immediate supervisor to alert them of the crash
- Take photographs
- If the other driver is being hostile, start recording on your cell phone
- Collect the other driver’s insurance information
- Provide your insurance information to the other driver
- Do not reveal any policy limits of applicable insurance
- Write a detailed statement of everything you remember as soon as possible
- Submit the photographs, video (if applicable), and statement to your immediate supervisor
This would be a good start. If your industry requires additional reporting to OSHA or another regulatory authority, I would include recommendations for how your employees should handle that reporting.
The second recommendation is to have your employee involved in the accident give a recorded statement to your insurance company as soon as possible. Employees involved in accidents, and insureds in general, have a business attorney Tulsa duty to cooperate with the insurance company’s investigation into the matter. Trust me when I say that, over time, memories tend to fade and that’s when things tend to get sticky. Assuming your employee is not hospitalized, have the employee provide the statement within twenty-four (24) hours.
The third recommendation is to conduct an independent investigation yourself. This may not be feasible as you may be overwhelmed and unable to do so. However, I always recommend, at a minimum, a casual review of the accident. You may uncover additional information the employee did not know or that the insurance company does not find. As the owner of the business, you are the person most likely to know the most about your business and your particular industry. The insurance company may be good at adjusting claims, but they likely do not know the ins-and-outs of your industry like you do.
The fourth recommendation I have is to keep a paper copy of every single piece of paper and photograph related to this accident. I once worked at a law firm as a business attorney Tulsa where we lost a file. It happens to the best of us. I do not know if the file was lost in the file room, if someone accidentally took it home, or if someone left it somewhere. Whatever happened, it was lost and we had to transfer the file to a new law firm. It was difficult for us to go back and recreate the lost file, but we succeeded. Despite what most may think, lawyers are not perfect and make mistakes on a regular basis. If your lawyer tells you that the file is lost, it would behoove you to have a paper copy lying around so that way you can reproduce whatever information was lost. This is just one more layer of protection for you.
The final recommendation I have is to speak to every witness listed on the traffic collision report. Your insurance defense business attorney Tulsa should do this. I know that was one of the first things I did is I would meet with the investigating officer and then meet with each witness listed on the report. Juries are very heavily persuaded by independent witnesses. An independent witness as used in this context is a person who does not have a financial stake in the outcome of the case. This is very helpful to businesses and corporations as they are usually targets for a jury because jurors think all businesses have tons of money.
Car wrecks happen everyday. With Oklahoma having some of the highest number of uninsured drivers in the nation, businesses in car wrecks are particularly vulnerable to exposure if an employee drives recklessly while working.
If you have employees who drive for work as part of their job responsibilities, contact the RC Law Group to connect with a business attorney Tulsa. We can help implement policies and procedures to keep the general public and your employees safe.
If you have an ongoing litigation scenario involving a car wreck case, consider contacting the RC Law Group to serve as your personal counsel. Even if the case is “small,” it always helps to have a lawyer on your side. The RC Law Group can serve as personal business attorney Tulsa to your business to ensure that the needs of your business are met.
Why throw thousands of dollars away in a car wreck case because you failed to timely and properly implement procedures to help protect your company?
At RC Law Group, we believe that we should take every action possible in advance to avoid litigation scenarios. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Call the RC Law Group to connect with a business attorney Tulsa today so that we can help keep your business safe from unwanted, unnecessary, expensive litigation scenarios.