What Should I Do if I’m in an Accident and I Don’t Speak English?
Crashes can be terrifying experiences for anyone and a language barrier can make it extremely difficult to communicate with law enforcement officials and other drivers. Additionally, it can hinder an individual’s ability to reach a fair settlement. If an individual is in a car accident and they don’t speak English there are a number of steps they should take. They include:
- Finding an interpreter. Finding an interpreter fluent in both the driver’s native language and English is essential. A family member, close friend, or someone else trustworthy is best so that they can interpret questions and documents. If the driver doesn’t have anyone to contact, they can always hire a professional interpreter to translate over the phone, though it isn’t free.
- Taking pictures. Without knowing English, an individual might not be able to give a good statement to the police, which will make other forms of evidence more important. Taking pictures of the accident and any damages is essential.
- Seeing a doctor. The stress and shock of an accident can be overwhelming and distracting, especially with a language barrier, but your health and safety is the top priority. Even if a driver doesn’t feel hurt, they should always visit a physician immediately.
- Talking to a lawyer. After a driver is in a car accident through no fault of their own, they should always seek legal counsel. Even if you choose not to hire an attorney, simply talking with one about the details of your accident and case can help clarify what you need to do next.
How to Handle Law Enforcement
It’s important to call the police so that they can gather information about everyone involved and create clear records. However, without a fluent interpreter, an individual might have difficulties communicating with law enforcement. Someone who doesn’t speak English and who was in a car accident needs to cooperate, but shouldn’t feel pressured or rushed, and should make sure to understand every step of the process.
Cooperate Even If You’re Not a U.S. Citizen
American laws protect everyone in the U.S., regardless of whether they’re a citizen or not. Many non-citizens are concerned about discrimination or being deported, but when you’re in an accident, it’s important that you take the right steps to ensure that you receive fair compensation and remain healthy. Even if you don’t have proper documentation, you need to call the police and an attorney. Most people are not deported for making an insurance claim after an accident, even if they don’t have a license.
Talk to an Arizona Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in an Arizona auto accident and don’t know English, a legal professional is an invaluable resource. ELG ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS has experienced Spanish-speaking attorneys ready to walk you through your accident and defend your case. Don’t hesitate—talk to a professional and schedule a free consultation today by contacting us at (623) 877-3600.