Getting hit in a car accident in New York City can be a terrifying experience and understandably, most people feel lost and confused when it happens to them. However, what you do immediately after an accident can have a great impact on how much compensation you receive for your injuries. With that said, it’s critical for you to be mentally prepared with a checklist of what actions you need to take and what you need to avoid doing to ensure that your rights are protected.
Let us find out how you can increase your chances of receiving the maximum possible compensation for the injuries you suffer in a New York car accident. The most critical part is choosing a reliable and resourceful auto accident attorney in New York City. However, you should also be aware of the following steps you can take after a car crash in New York City.
Step 1: Report the Crash
Immediately after an accident, call law enforcement and report the crash. Wait till the police arrive to carry out a preliminary investigation. They will examine the accident scene, interview the parties involved in the crash, obtain testimony from eyewitnesses and perform an inspection of the vehicle conditions. Using all this information, the police will arrive at a decision of which party was at fault for the accident.
After this report is filed, make sure you obtain a copy of it because it is going to be very important in proving the liability of the responsible party. Without this report as proof, it is quite likely that later, the other driver may even deny that the crash occurred, and based on their denial, their insurance company will refuse to settle your claim. In a situation of this magnitude, proving them wrong can be very difficult.
Step 2: Get Contact Information of Witnesses
As soon as you finish reporting the crash to the police, check if there are witnesses and talk to them. Get their name and contact information so that you can get in touch with them later if necessary for their testimony. What generally happens is that soon after a car accident in New York, people tend to move away, and they will not wait until the law enforcement authorities arrive.
So, when the investigation is on, it may turn out to be a case of your word against that of the other party involved in the crash. So, it is vital that you talk to the eyewitnesses and get their contact details so that the police may get in touch with them to determine who was actually at fault for the accident.
The police who arrive at an accident scene must collect information of the witnesses. However, they may not provide complete data in their report and while the name may be present, there may not be any contact address or phone number. So, in order to protect your own interests, it is important for you to take the initiative to collect all relevant information from the witnesses.
Step 3: Get Photo and Video Evidence from the Scene of Crash
While you are waiting for the police to arrive, take pictures and videos of the accident scene with your cell phone. Make sure you cover the damage caused to your vehicle, and your own injuries as well as the area around the crash scene. This will come in handy when you have to provide evidence of the damage and losses you suffered due to the crash.
It can prove to be especially useful in cases where the car accident as a result of poor road conditions or debris on the road or other forms of obstruction where a government entity has been guilty of poor road maintenance or repair.
Step 4: Seek Medical Attention Even if You Feel Fine
When one is not badly injured after an accident, it is natural to believe that the pain will go away after a little rest. Also, you may be worried about having to spend on medical treatment and therefore avoid visiting the doctor. In some cases, there may be no apparent injury or pain after the crash.
However, you must understand that whether you have an injury and suffer pain or not, seeking medical attention immediately after a New York car accident can be crucial when it comes to claiming damages for the crash. If the records show that you waited for a while before seeing a healthcare professional, the insurance company is very likely to claim that your injuries were not caused by this accident.
On this basis, they may refuse to settle your claim for compensation. Insurance adjusters will use your failure to seek medical treatment to imply that you are faking the injury. To avoid this, always see a medical professional soon after your accident even if you feel perfectly fine.
Make sure you keep all medical appointments following your initial treatment. This is important for two reasons:
Step 5: Have Your Injuries Described in a Clear Manner
When you visit a doctor after a car accident, make sure you describe in detail your injuries and any pain you feel anywhere in your body. Report all symptoms you notice, even if it feels like a tiny niggle. Small issues often turn into more serious complaints about time, and if there is no mention of an issue in the initial report, it can be difficult to later prove that the injury was caused by the accident.
Ask the doctor about having appropriate diagnostic tests performed. These test reports will serve as concrete evidence of the damage you have suffered. The doctor who examines you will be writing down all your complaints, and this information will find its way into your medical record. When you claim compensation for your injuries, the insurance company will look at these same medical records to evaluate your claims.
If they find no mention in the medical records of an injury you say has occurred during the accident, the insurance adjuster may say your claim is not genuine and refuse to settle it.
Step 6: Keep a Diary to Record All Your Injury-Related Details
Human memory is not foolproof and over time, we tend to forget minor details that could make a huge difference to the case. If you choose to not settle with the insurance company and instead, file a lawsuit for a court trial, it could take around two or three years till your case comes up for a hearing. There is no guarantee that you will be able to remember every single detail until that day.
Make it easier for yourself by keeping a diary to note down all the events that you remember to have occurred during and after the crash. Write down your symptoms and pain, the treatment you received, the medication you took, the time you took off from work, and details of money you spent on doctor consultations, therapy, and medication.
Step 7: Never Give a Statement to the Insurance Company
Soon after an accident, you will be approached by representatives of either the other party or your own insurance provider. The way they speak to you and commiserate with your injuries is likely to lull you into thinking they are trying to actually help you. In reality, they could be trying to catch you with your guard down, and innocent statements you make in casual conversation may later be twisted and used against you.
Even if it is your own insurance company, you must remember that all such providers always look to collect maximum premium and payout as little as possible when there is a claim. They are concerned only with maximizing their own profits and not really bothered about you getting the compensation you deserve.
Talk to a New York Car Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in New York, get in touch with an experienced car accident lawyer at the earliest. The car accident attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP regularly handle NYC car accident claims and they can advise you on how you need to proceed with your compensation claim.
We work with independent, experienced investigators and accident reconstruction experts to determine who was responsible for your crash. We also have access to the best medical and financial experts who can help us evaluate calculate the physical, emotional, and financial losses you have suffered for no fault of your own.
We give personal attention to all our clients, and we are known to be aggressive during the negotiation process, and this can help to maximize the compensation you receive from the insurance adjusters.
We do not charge any fees until we have recovered the compensation that is your due, and our lawyers are available to answer any questions you may have about your car accident in New York. To discuss the details of your NYC crash, get in touch with us today at 1-800-660-2264 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.
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