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Ways to Overcome Language Barriers After a Car Accident

In the United States, the legal system governing car accidents is complicated. Each state has its own set of rules that apply to its residents as well as federal rules that may also apply. This is made even more complicated if you are a non-English speaking victim of a car accident.

One of the most common obstacles for a non-English speaker is the language barrier.

When you are involved in an accident it is crucial that you are able to explain to the police officer what happened in the accident. With a language barrier, this can be very difficult. Not all police departments have officers that may speak your language.

What should you do in the aftermath of a car accident?

  • Call the police: If the police are not called, you may have trouble communicating with the other party which can lead to a word vs word situation later.
  • Request a translator: Ask the police to provide a translator. The police department can usually  access someone who speaks your language.
  • Draw a diagram of the accident scene: Draw a diagram that shows how the accident happened, so you can attempt to show the police how the accident occurred.
  • Take photos: Capture photos of the scene as well as any damage to the vehicles. This will help to preserve any important information about the scene and the accident.
  • Seek help: If you do have someone you can call to help you explain what happened this may also be helpful.
  • Collect information: Ask the police office for his/her contact information as well as a written exchange form. Any information you can get will be helpful later during the claims reporting process.

If you are injured and need legal assistance following your car accident, our team includes attorneys who are fluent in Korean and Spanish and are ready to assist you. We are aware of the challenges non-English speakers face after a car accident and are here to provide the guidance and support you need to help you through this difficult time.


By Christine Lee, October 12, 2023

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