Owing to the sheer frequency of car crashes, personal injury cases resulting from such accidents are among the most common litigations in our civil justice system. This translates into many people going through the legal process in the hope to secure compensation for the injuries and damages they sustained from car accidents in New York City.
If you suffered injuries in an NYC car accident because of someone else's negligence, you have the legal right to recover compensation for your personal injuries and property damages. You have the option of claiming this compensation either by negotiating for a settlement of your claim with the other driver’s insurance company or in some cases, by filing a lawsuit in court.
Like all matters pertaining to the law, protection of your rights after sustaining injuries depends on the steps you take after the car accident. The things you do soon after the collision will play a crucial role in deciding the success of your lawsuit.
Protection of your NYC car accident injury claim boils down to evidence, documentation, and perseverance. In addition, support and guidance from a competent attorney can help you resolve the claim in your favor, with the successful recovery of full and fair compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
In order to understand the most effective ways to protect your legal and personal interests, you must ensure that you not only take all the right steps but also avoid the common mistakes that can put a spanner in your claim recovery. Read on to gain better insights into what you should be doing to protect your rightful claim against a negligent motorist.
Ensure that You and Others with You Are Safe
If your crash occurred on a busy road, there might be fast traffic going past you, and not everyone might slow down or stop. You must stay inside your car until you feel it is safe to step out to assess the damage. If you are not hurt badly, and your vehicle is not too damaged, you should move it to the side where it is out of harm’s way. Try to ensure that other occupants of your vehicle, if any, are okay.
If for any reason you cannot get out of your vehicle, you must wait until emergency services are at the crash scene, or better still, call them and report your location. Also, report the nature of any injuries sustained by you or your co-passengers. This will enable paramedics to be ready to provide appropriate treatment, once they are on the scene.
Seek Medical Attention as Soon as Possible
If you or others traveling with you are injured in a car accident, seek immediate medical attention. If you feel there is a need for a paramedic, make sure you specify it while reporting the accident. Urgent medical attention from the paramedic at the accident scene can help you recover speedily. The paramedic may decide if there is a need for you to go to the emergency room, depending upon the nature and extent of your injuries.
The stress from the event may make your adrenaline surge, making you feel better than you may be. A medical check-up must be undertaken immediately after the crash even if you feel that your injuries are not severe at that point in time. It is prudent to see a physician who can assess the actual situation and help you document your injuries.
This will prove critical later in your quest to establish that your injuries merit suitable compensation. Medical bills, treatment records, and the examining physician’s notes are substantial proof of your injuries and financial costs because of those injuries. Medical records can provide evidence of your injuries due to the accident, and the at-fault driver's negligence. These will be of immense help to you and your attorney, in the pursuit of your compensation.
Scrutinize the Accident Scene and Document as Much as Possible
Chaos often rules in the aftermath of a car accident. Your first priority needs to be safety and urgent medical attention, if necessary. If you are luckily unhurt in the mishap, document whatever you can at the scene. This would be of immeasurable help to your claim later. Gather as much information as possible about the collision, and also about the other vehicle, such as:
Gather Photographic Evidence of the Scene
Use a camera or your cell phone to click pictures at the accident scene. Try to ensure that the date and time of clicking the photographs can be easily referenced so that they can be later used as authentic evidence in court for your New York City car accident injury claim.
Click as many pictures as you can of the mishap scene, including the damage to the vehicles involved, and any injuries you may have suffered. Photograph any defective traffic light or sign if it was responsible in any way for the collision.
Your pictures can help prove negligence by recording evidence like tire skid marks if the at-fault driver was speeding. Take a lot of pictures of all damage, both internal and external, to your vehicle and also the other driver's vehicle. A crash scene reconstructionist can analyze these photos, and help establish negligence.
Request any witnesses around to click pictures if you do not have a camera phone. If your personal injury claim goes to trial, all these details that you can collect can be vital evidence in your fight to recover maximum compensation for your injuries.
Notify the Law Enforcement Authorities
You must report the accident to the relevant authorities as soon as you can. A police report adds to the documentation of the incident and helps your claim. It also carries a lot of weight with insurance company adjusters and claims lawyers.
Often, the at-fault driver may try to persuade you to not involve the police. You must beware of this tactic, and call 911 as soon as you can. Except in the case of severe injuries to the other driver, your first concern should be protecting your rights and your claim.
A police report provides documentation and often includes crucial evidence pointing towards the at-fault driver’s negligence. Co-operate with the police once they are on the scene by providing the facts as you recall them.
Request the Police for a Copy of All Reports
If you are in shock in the aftermath of the crash, be wary about saying something that might point to your responsibility. Remember to note down the names of the officers, along with their badge numbers, and ask for a copy of the police report.
You must acquire a copy of all the reports about the accident scene, not just the first response report of the officer who answered the initial distress call. Some important reports you need to collect are:
You are entitled to view most records, including law enforcement reports. If your request is denied, consult with an attorney to find out how you can access all reports pertaining to your case.
Speak with Witnesses
Try to gather as much information as you can about any witnesses at the accident scene, including their names and contact details. Ask questions about what they saw, and if they would be okay with giving verbal or written statements. All the corroborating information you are able to get will make your claim stronger.
You will need the contact information of witnesses to provide it to your legal team and the insurance company. Ask the witnesses if they are alright with your insurance company contacting them to confirm their testimony.
Testimonies from the witnesses at the crash scene can prove to be very valuable as evidence. When you are talking to them or recording their statements, make sure that there is consistency in what they are saying. Any inconsistent witness statements might jeopardize your car accident injury claim in New York City.
Get Estimates for Repair of Property Damage
After documenting the accident scene and seeking medical attention, you must start gathering estimates for repair of any damage to your car. Insurance adjusters will invariably demand an independent damage inspection of your vehicle before approving costs of repair. However, be armed with a few estimates of your own, so that you can make a forceful argument in favor of the repairs you require, as well as other related costs.
Seek Competent Legal Help
After ensuring proper medical attention, notifying the law enforcement authorities, and documenting all the evidence, you must consult with an accomplished personal injury attorney. A skilled lawyer can proficiently guide you in identifying and filing a compensation claim against the at-fault driver’s insurers.
Once you decide to file a compensation claim for your injuries, a competent and compassionate car accident attorney can help you through the entire legal process, by not only protecting your rights but also by letting you completely focus on your recovery while they take care of everything else.
Your lawyer can organize the documents, set up interviews with witnesses, and coordinate with the police to go over surveillance footage. They can call in medical and technical experts to reconstruct the accident and bolster your claim.
Speak with a Capable Car Accident Attorney in NYC
At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, our New York City personal injury attorneys are ready to present your car accident injury case to a judge or a jury in a convincing and forceful manner. Our intensive case preparation is backed by medical, economic, and technical experts who can help establish how your injury has altered your life.
In many cases, our solid preparation results in suitable settlements in favor of our clients. However, if the other side is not willing to acknowledge your rightful claim, our attorneys will resolutely take your case to trial. To discuss the specifics of your car accident injury claim, call us today at 1-800-660-2264 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.
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