Have you ever thought about what would happen if you were in an accident?
One of the most devastating experiences is to have a loved one injured or killed in an automobile accident. Life changes in an instant. The minutes and hours following the dreaded phone call can be chaotic, as you rush to a hospital emergency room. There may be paperwork to fill out, questions about medical history information and other emergency contacts to call. Then there’s the agonizing wait to learn if your loved one’s injuries can be stabilized and find out the prognosis.
Although the family and friends of an accident victim may feel helpless, their presence at the hospital is important. The information they give can help physicians make informed medical decisions to provide the best possible care to the victim. In the tragic event that the accident victim was fatally wounded, having the chance to say goodbye might not lessen the grief, but it can help loved ones begin to get closure. In too many cases, though, authorities have no immediate way to know who to contact after an accident. Though they may be able to learn a victim’s identity by checking a driver’s license or automobile license plates, they don’t know who the victim would want notified in the case of a collision.
A new initiative by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, known as Sara’s Law, aims to change this. Sara Dubinin, for whom the law was named, sustained severe injuries in a tragic September 2007 automobile accident. The 19-year-old passed away before her family could be reached, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the grief prompted Sara’s mother to make sure other families wouldn’t have to experience the same heartbreak. Sara’s Law accomplishes two goals. It establishes a registry where New Jersey driver’s license and ID holders can submit emergency contact information so that authorities know who to contact in the event of a collision. Driver’s license and ID holders can register up to two contacts in the Emergency Next-of-Kin Registry, and they may modify the information at any time.
The initiative also extends the eligibility for non-driver state-issued IDs to young people ages 14 through 17. These ID cards, previously only available to state residents that are at least 17 years old, can be used like a driver’s license for obtaining passports and other activities that require official identification. They can also be used as a point of identification when the individual turns the legal age and applies for a driver’s license. As part of Sara’s Law, these young ID holders can also submit contact information to the Emergency Next-of-Kin Registry in case of a car accident.
After a serious automobile accident, time is crucial. Take this precaution so that authorities can help you if the worst should happen. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, an experienced car accident attorney in NJ can help you get your life back on track.