Chances are, after a car accident, your emotions are going to be running high. You’ll likely have a million thoughts running through your head, and none of them will be about following standard protocol or preparing for legal proceedings.
However, although it will be tough to remain calm and focused, it’s crucial you do so. You might not be thinking that far ahead, but chances are that after your accident, you’re going to want to hire an NYC law firm to file a personal injury claim.
These kinds of claims provide accident victims with compensation for their damages, so you won’t be left facing mounting medical bills, exorbitant property damage costs, and an inability to work without any financial cover.
Unfortunately, though, your ability to take this step and recover the compensation you deserve is directly related to what you do in the hours and days after your car accident. The following guide offers a detailed explanation on how to proceed, so you can ensure you have no issues recovering the settlement you deserve.
Immediately After the Accident
Call the Police
First, check yourself and your passengers to ensure no one is in any immediate danger. Once you’ve confirmed you’re all alright, get out of your car (checking the traffic before doing so), and approach the other car’s vehicle. Ask the driver if they and their passengers are okay. If no one in that vehicle is hurt, inform the driver that you’re going to call 911.
Once you contact an emergency operator, let them know what happened. You don’t need to go into too much detail about the kind of accident you were in; instead, simply say that you and another party were involved in a car crash and you need a police officer to report to the scene.
Document the Scene
Once you know an officer is on their way, you can begin taking pictures and videos of the scene. Start by documenting any injuries on yourself, and then move on to documenting any injuries on your passengers. Next, take pictures and videos of your vehicle. Focus on the areas with the most damage, but be sure to take pictures of the entire car. Then, focus on your surroundings. You’ll want to take pictures of the site where the crash occurred, as well as any street or traffic markings.
Provide a Statement
By the time you finish taking pictures and videos of the scene, the officer should arrive. When they get there, they’ll inform you and the other party that they’re going to collect your information and take statements on what happened.
When the officer gets to you, have your driver’s license, car registration, and car insurance paperwork ready. After the officer has collected this information, tell them what happened. Avoid any incriminating statements like, “I’m sorry,” as these will be included in the police report and could impact how the officer perceives fault in the crash.
The Days After the Crash
See a Medical Professional
Let the doctor know what kind of accident you were in, and explain if you’re having any symptoms of an injury. These might include headaches, stiffness, dizziness, decreased cognitive abilities, pain, or difficulty sleeping. Once the evaluation is complete, ask for a copy of the record, as well as an itemized bill for the service.
Hire an Attorney
Although you may be tempted to attempt filing a personal injury claim on your own, it’s highly advised you avoid doing so. Personal injury law is incredibly complex, and even the smallest of missteps could cost you your ability to secure compensation for your damages.
Beyond that, an attorney will make the process worlds easier. Not only will they guide you through every step of the proceedings so you understand every aspect in full, but they’ll also handle all communications and paperwork on your behalf. This will allow you to focus your energy and efforts on getting better after your crash and moving forward with your life.
Once you hire your attorney, you should instruct any person who contacts you regarding the accident to get in touch with your lawyer. Insurance companies will often try to trick accident victims into providing statements on what happened in the hopes the victim will say something libelous in their favor. If the insurance company does call you, simply state that they should get in touch with your attorney for any information regarding the accident.
Begin the Proceedings
Once you’ve found an attorney you like, you’ll want to schedule an initial consultation to get the ball rolling on the legal proceedings. During this consultation, your lawyer will take note of any injuries or property damage sustained to help determine what the value of your claim is.
Bring the other party’s insurance and contact information to this appointment so your lawyer can get in touch with their insurer. They’ll want to start the proceedings as soon as possible to ensure you file within the state’s statute of limitations.
A statute of limitations refers to the amount of time an individual has to take legal action after an accident. In New York, the personal injury statute of limitations is three years from the date of the injury. This might seem like a long time, but it can pass quickly, so it’s advised you get started as soon as possible.
Maintaining Your Right to File a Claim
Although the above list may seem like a lot to remember, it’s crucial you do your best to do so. By following these tips as outlined, you’ll stand the best possible chance of filing a successful personal injury claim.Updated Date: 14 June 2021, 18:12