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Eight Tips for Auto Accident Victims

Automobile accidents occur daily in the Treasure Valley due to a number of mistakes made by drivers. Many collisions are a result of "driver distractions" which include drivers operating a motor vehicle while taking their eyes off the road while operating a cell phone, texting, eating, or some other purpose. Many collisions occur because drivers misjudge the time and distance they have to react to road hazards because of the speed they are traveling. Known as the violation of the "basic rule," drivers decide to travel at inappropriate speeds that give the driver little time to avoid a collision.

Recently, I took a deposition of a negligent driver who said that he took his eyes off the road to watch a person who was trying to cross the road "behind" him. That means because he was watching the person in his side view mirror after he passed him, the driver failed to avoid a collision in front of him because he had taken his eyes off of the road. Ironically, this wasn’t the first time that particular driver had committed a costly mistake while operating a motor vehicle. He also revealed during the deposition that he had served time in prison for involuntary manslaughter for killing someone while operating a motor vehicle.

Death, mayhem, and injury result when people drive at excessive speeds, drive inattentively, or violate some other rule of the road.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed. There are a few things you can do to prepare for the event when someone else’s negligence causes you to incur injury on Idaho’s highways.


First, make sure beforehand that you are adequately insured. Idaho law requires that each vehicle be insured with minimum policy limits for bodily injury of only $25,000.00 per person and $50,000.00 per accident or occurrence. Today, that doesn’t go very far when the hospital bills can far exceed over $100,000 if the victim spends a week or more in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or has surgery. I recommend that you consult with an experienced insurance broker before purchasing automobile insurance coverage. You should also consider purchasing excess insurance coverage, often referred to as an "umbrella policy", to make sure that you are adequately covered in the event of a loss.

Secondly, you should have a driver’s accident reporting kit handy in your glove box. Feel free to contact me at [email protected], and I would be happy to send you one. The kit is handy to have in the event you are involved in a motor vehicle collision. It will help you document the information you need in order to help preserve your legal rights and remedies.

Third, make sure that you call the police if you are involved in a motor vehicle collision. The police will conduct an investigation and where appropriate issue citations for infractions or misdemeanors. In Idaho, the entry of a plea of guilty or the payment of a fine associated with a traffic ticket is admissible as evidence in a subsequent civil proceeding as an admission against interest. Hence, calling the police and having them investigate the cause of the collision and issue citations where appropriate can be helpful to you in protecting your legal rights and remedies.

Fourth, always have a camera at hand to take photographs of the property damage to your vehicle. Your chances of a full recovery are best when you can document the amount of damage and crush to your vehicle. You should also note if there are any skidmarks, yaw marks, or other markings on the roadway. Also note how far you vehicle may have been pushed aside or forward after the moment of impact. This evidence can help a collision reconstruction determine the speed of the vehicles at the time of impact.

Fifth, you should seek and obtain medical attention as soon as possible. If you show any symptoms of injury at the scene of the collision, you should consider taking a ride to the hospital in an ambulance. I have had a number of clients relate to me that they thought their symptoms were "minimal" only to find out later that they had an unstable fractured vertebrae or herniated disc which required immediate surgery to correct. It's better to be safe than sorry. Getting immediate medical attention is necessary to protect your family and yourself.

There are plenty of competent medical providers in the Treasure Valley who can provide you with treatment, including pain trauma and rehabilitation specialists (physiatrists), osteopaths, chiropractors, and physical therapists. If you would like a suggestion from me for a qualified healthcare provider in the Treasure Valley, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Sixth, should you provide the opposing insurance claim representative with a recorded statement before talking with an experienced attorney? The answer is an unequivocal no. See my article on recorded statements for a complete explanation of the reasons.

Seventh, should you provide the opposing insurance claim representative with a signed blanket authorization before talking with an experienced attorney? The answer is an unequivocal no, for reasons cited in my essay on blanket authorizations elsewhere on this website.

Eighth, you should contact an experienced personal injury and auto accident trial attorney as soon as possible for an initial free consultation to discuss your legal rights and remedies. This way, you can avoid the common mistakes the victims of personal injury make following an automobile accident.


If you or a loved one have been injured by a negligent driver, you should contact an experienced personal injury and auto accident trial lawyer for an initial free consultation. Boise personal injury and auto accident trial lawyer Alan Morton has over 31 years of experience helping victims of personal injury and wrongful death seek and obtain compensation for their injuries and damages arising from an auto accident. Mr. Morton can be reached at 208.344.5555 or toll-free at 888.716.8021 or by completing an online contact form. Mr. Morton would be happy to schedule a free initial consultation at his office or at your home, workplace, hospital, or any other convenient location to discuss your legal rights and remedies in a free initial consultation.

Alan Morton
Advocate for Justice/Trial Lawyer