#SWAAYthenarrative

Everything You Need To Know About The Legal Side to Car Accidents

Car crashes are devastating. You should count yourself lucky if you get out of one without needing medical assistance. The damage caused by car accidents could affect your health and vehicle, and strip you out of your money. The point here is to understand your legal rights and the amount of compensation you should ask for in case you weren't so lucky.

Below are a few steps that, if executed, could guarantee that the at-fault party is held legally responsible.

Steps to Take

  • Seek Medical Help

First of all, you need to check on yourself at the nearest hospital. Your health is the primary concern, everything can be settled later. You might be able to walk and talk, but there are injuries that don't show right away, so it's better to go to a doctor just in case there is any internal damage.

  • Report to the Police

Your rights will be swept away if you left the scene without reporting the whole situation to the police. When the officials arrive, make sure to point out all the damage caused and give them a detailed description of what happened. Take photos of the position of the cars and show them to the officers. Request a copy of the police report and keep it with you. If the case went to court, you will need every document.

  • Request Legal Assistance

Defendants will try to get out of a claim with minor losses and they will definitely have lawyers at their doors waiting to discredit you. So, if you're on your own, you will be forced to pay all the expenses out of your pocket. Because of that, you need a professional to take on your case and handle all the negotiations on your behalf.

Some law firms offer free consultations when you first ask for their help and explain to you the whole process. Hiring a lawyer will help you if you are involved in a car accident, especially in cities like Phenix City, Alabama where car accidents are quite common. Your attorney will calculate the amount of money you should get according to the severity of your case, and guarantee that you will get the compensation you deserve.

Identifying the Fault

You should know who is at fault and identify the mistake that has led to the accident. Some people will blame it on fate without realizing that people should be held accountable for their driving methods.

  • Negligence

Drivers should pay attention and never lose concentration. Unfortunately, when you take your eyes off the road for even a second, an accident may take place. Everyone has a duty towards each other, so any breach in it makes the breacher liable. For instance, speeding, not keeping a safe distance from the cars, and on top of it all, texting are all common causes of car accidents.

If you get proof that the driver violated the rules of the road, you can use it against them. The defendants will try to deny all claims, so pay attention to the aftermath of the accident when they blabber about all the excuses that caused the crash.

  • Recklessness

There is a huge difference between doing something intentionally knowing that it may endanger other people, and making a mistake out of lack of awareness. If you drink and drive, then you surely know that you are not in the right mind to focus on the road. Also, not slowing down at a stop or pedestrian sign is a risk the defendant was willing to take and counts as reckless behavior.

  • Intentional Misconduct

There are malicious drivers that enjoy harassing other people while driving. The mere proof of that can put them behind bars because these actions cannot be tolerated. They will also be responsible for all expenses and damages caused by the accident.

  • Manufacturer's Liability

When an accident happens due to an error in the car, then the manufacturer is the one who should be held accountable. It is hard for a company to admit a mistake that will cost them millions, but never give up pursuing your right just because the road looks long and dark.

  • Hit and Run Cases

We need to address the possibility of a driver causing an accident then fleeing the scene without exchanging information with the victim nor waiting for the police to arrive. When they get caught, they will face legal consequences and serve jail time if there are injuries or fatalities. The driver will even take full financial responsibility and pay all the bills.

We understand that the aftermath of an accident can be overwhelming. However, overcoming your anger and clearing your head will allow you to act properly and follow the right steps. Knowing the legal terms and penalties will help you act faster if you are ever in a similar situation. Don't forget to drive safely and be aware of everything happening around you to avoid accidents.

5 Min Read
Culture

Black Wall Street: The Story of One Black American Superhero

Like so many millions across the globe, I deeply mourn the loss of one of our greatest real-life superheroes, Chadwick Boseman. To pay tribute and homage to him, my family rewatched his amazing performance in Black Panther. T'Challa was one of Boseman's most important roles both on and off the screen, as his portrayal of the heroic warrior and leader of the people of Wakanda inspired viewers of all ages.

Re-visiting the futuristic city of Wakanda on screen caused me to reflect on how Blacks in America once had our own version of Wakanda: Black Wall Street. Black Wall Street was the name given to the wealthy, thriving, Tulsa, Oklahoma neighborhood of Greenwood in the early 1900s. The nearly 40 square-block neighborhood had more than 300 businesses and over 1,000 homes, including several stately mansions. Like Wakanda, Black people in Greenwood built their own hospitals, schools, theaters, newspapers, churches, and everything needed for their community to flourish.

Tragically, he lost everything he built, as did the entire district of Greenwood, in the largest, government-sanctioned race massacre in U.S. history.

With only 42 years separating the moment Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and Greenwood's founding, the amazing feat of Blacks building Black Wall Street is something that required supernatural acts of real-life superheroes the likes of which we see onscreen in Black Panther.

One of these real-life superheroes and leaders of Black Wall Street was my great-grandfather A.J. Smitherman, owner and editor of the Tulsa Star. The Tulsa Star was the first daily Black newspaper with national distribution and was a source for Black people to stay informed about issues affecting them throughout the US. A member of the first generation of Blacks born free in the late 1800s, Smitherman attended La Salle and Northwestern Universities. After receiving his law degree, A.J. began his career in community activism, politics, and the newspaper business.

A fearless leader in the Black community not just in Tulsa but throughout the nation, he dedicated his life to empowering his race in all categories of life in every way: morally, economically, physically, and politically. A.J. fiercely and courageously used his newspaper and the power of the press to end a myriad of corrupt operations and develop his community. As one of the most influential founding fathers of Black Wall Street, his contribution and investment in Greenwood was and is immeasurable. Tragically, he lost everything he built, as did the entire district of Greenwood, in the largest, government-sanctioned race massacre in U.S. history.

Unlike Wakanda—the fictional land hidden in the mountains of Africa, mostly invisible to the outside world and protected from foreign threats—Greenwood was exposed. Greenwood was not only visible, but the 11,000 residents and their luxurious lifestyle were a constant reminder to their poor white neighbors across the tracks that Black people had surpassed them in economic empowerment and success. Eventually, the jealousy, greed and contempt for the growing Black economic and political power ignited a horrendously evil act of domestic terrorism by white Tulsans.

A.J. fiercely and courageously used his newspaper and the power of the press to end a myriad of corrupt operations and develop his community.

On May 31st, 1921, thousands systematically looted and burned down Greenwood in a 36 hour-long massacre resulting in the murdering of over 300 Blacks. Thousands more were detained in concentration camps where they remained for months through the freezing Oklahoman winter.

In a recent interview, I was asked what goes through my head when I see the racial unrest taking place today and compare it to what was happening 100 years ago leading up to the Tulsa Massacre. The short answer is that I am incredibly sad. I'm sad for so many reasons. One of the things I am saddest about is knowing that my great-grandfather and great-grandmother sacrificed everything for the betterment and empowerment of their race. And after all of these years, the struggle continues.

I believe that now, more than ever, it is so important to maintain not only our hope but our faith.

A.J. Smitherman's writings in both the Tulsa Star, and thereafter in the Empire Star, a paper he founded later in New York, reveal a man full of hope and ambition to make a difference and contribute to his race and his country as part of the first generation of Blacks born free. He worked tirelessly to this end until the day he died in 1961. Tragically, A.J. died still a fugitive of the state of Oklahoma, having been unjustly indicted by a grand jury for inciting the massacre. This is another point of tremendous pain and grief for me and my family. It is a travesty that he never saw justice in his lifetime, and he furthermore never saw his dream of racial equality.

But perhaps what saddens me most is the fact that I truly believe that in his heart, he still had hope that America was on a path to find its way out of its dark past and into the light of a new dawn. He hoped that the nation would one day become a country where his descendants would no longer be subject to racial hatred, discrimination, and economic disenfranchisement. And I'm certain that he believed the days that Black people would fear being lynched would be long gone by now.

One of the things I am saddest about is knowing that my great-grandfather and great-grandmother sacrificed everything for the betterment and empowerment of their race. And after all of these years, the struggle continues.

I can feel A.J.'s blood in my veins, and I feel a responsibility to carry the torch of the light of hope. I believe that now, more than ever, it is so important to maintain not only our hope but our faith. I'm very grateful for the attention being brought to the legacy of Black Wall Street and A.J. Smitherman. Knowing their story of success and triumph and how it tragically turned to massacre and destruction is vital to insuring history doesn't continue to repeat itself 100 years later.

One thing I know for certain is that building a brighter future will require all of us to summon our own inner superhero, like A.J. Smitherman and Chadwick Boseman before us, and work together to continue to fight for our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.