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Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

How To File A Car Accident Claim

Drivers negotiating after an accident

When you’re injured in an auto accident, you’re vulnerable. At The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, we’ve got your back. With over a century of collective experience, our knowledgeable car accident attorneys have successfully handled countless car accident claims throughout Long Island and nearby areas including Nassau County, Suffolk County and Queens. We know what it takes to protect you and your claim while pursuing the compensation that you deserve.

No matter how serious the car accident, our Long Island accident attorneys have the skills and resources to help you build a strong personal injury claim. Our experienced car accident attorneys will work with you to evaluate your case and craft a strategy for your recovery. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact us today for a free consultation.

Preparing to File a Car Accident Claim

The following tips may help you build your claim after a car accident. If you’re unable to gather information after the crash, try to find someone you trust to do it for you.

1. Contact Authorities

  • Contact emergency medical services if needed. There is no time to waste in a car accident. Injuries can be serious. If you or anyone else was injured in the accident, contact emergency medical services and get everyone the care they need.
  • Contact the police and get a report about the accident. Even if the accident seems minor, it’s important to have a police report. The report will contain key details about the wreck that can help later on.

2. Collect Accident & Witness Information

  • Swap insurance information with the other driver and collect his or her contact information.
  • Get the contact information of witnesses to the accident. Many people who witness an accident assume that someone else will act as a witness. Before long, everyone who saw the accident has left the scene. If you can, get the contact information of the people who saw the crash occur.
  • Write down information about the vehicles involved in the accident. This includes make, model, and license plate numbers.
  • Write down the time and date of the accident for future reference.
  • Write down what exactly happened while it is fresh in your mind. This includes what directions the cars were traveling in, street names, and the actions that led to the crash.

3. Take Photos

  • Take pictures of the car accident scene including the vehicles and debris. Emergency responders and those nearby may move debris. By capturing the scene immediately after an accident, you’re helping investigators understand what happened.
  • Photograph any injuries that happened due to the accident.
  • Photograph drivers, witnesses, and others involved including emergency personnel. This will help investigators place people at the scene and may provide important evidence for who was present.
  • Take pictures of the surrounding area. Weather and lighting can change quickly after an accident. When you capture the surroundings at the time of the accident, you can give police, insurers and your attorney important information about how the accident happened.

4. Get a Medical Evaluation

In some car accidents, injuries are clear: broken bones, lacerations, and other serious problems. However, there are many cases where injuries won’t show up until later. For example, whiplash may take hours or even a day before it shows up. You may not feel internal bleeding or other hidden injuries until the shock of the accident wears off. If you’re in a car accident, don’t assume that you’re OK. Get an evaluation as soon as you can.

A medical evaluation is important for your health and for your injury claim. Get one after an accident and don’t wait until symptoms show up. Medical professionals will evaluate your condition and let you know if there are any problems. If you have an evaluation and feel pain after your appointment, contact the person who examined you and set a follow-up visit.

A medical examination will provide important health care records that can support your claim. Too often, people don’t get an examination and later try to claim they suffered from the accident. It’s hard to recover compensation for injuries when there are no professional records backing up the claim.

5. Speak with Your Insurer, But Watch What You Say

  • Contact your insurer and report the facts of the accident. Don’t engage in speculation or give opinions. Don’t accept blame and don’t admit fault in the accident. The insurance company will handle its investigation and will do its own damage calculations.
  • It is OK to tell your insurance company that you were hurt in the accident, but do not discuss your injuries in detail. You will not know the extent of your injuries right away or how they will affect you in the future. And you don’t want to downplay or exaggerate what you are going through.
  • Do not sign any settlement offer or accept a payment from the insurance company without speaking to a knowledgeable car accident attorney about your rights. The insurance company will be looking out for its own best interests. You need someone who will look out for you.

After an Accident, Remain Calm

A serious car accident can understandably cause people to lose control of their emotions. Those involved may think that they know what caused the accident, but there may be circumstances that no one involved can fully understand until after an investigation is completed.

If you’ve been involved in an accident, stay calm and remember the following tips:

  • If emergency responders and police are on the scene, fully cooperate with them.
  • Give responders the facts and not opinions. In many cases, drivers think they know what happened, but they may be wrong. Don’t blame the other drivers or yourself.
  • Don’t admit fault. You may be at fault, or the other driver may be. A full investigation will determine who was truly responsible. When you admit fault, this can be used against you later in an investigation, even if you weren’t actually at fault.

Our Car Accident Lawyers Will Fight for You

At The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, we know how stressful and painful motor vehicle accidents can be. It can be tempting to take a quick check from an insurer, but you may be accepting less than you should. Insurance companies often want to settle cases for as little as possible, but we can fight for the compensation that you truly deserve.

Our experienced Long Island car accident lawyers can handle your car accident claim from start to finish, taking the pressure off you and your family. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, we’re here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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