After a car accident on Long Island or elsewhere in New York, there are several steps to take to protect your rights if you have been seriously injured and are due compensation for your losses. There are also several mistakes to avoid in a car accident case.
Don’t be uncooperative. It’s usually counter-productive to make accusations or argue with other drivers or passengers after a car accident. It is better to stay calm and proceed in a business-like manner. When police or other emergency responders come to the crash scene, give them your full cooperation. Answer their questions truthfully with facts, not opinions and speculations. Don’t say anything to cast blame for the accident on yourself.
Don’t decline medical care. If anyone has been injured in a car accident, phone 911 for emergency medical care right away. If you feel that emergency care is not necessary, see a doctor as soon as you can. Some injuries that commonly occur in car accidents can cause serious problems that do not appear for 24 hours or more. A thorough medical examination will help ensure that any injuries you have are treated as well as documented, which will be necessary for a legal claim. Once you have seen a doctor, follow the doctor’s orders for treatment, medication, rest, etc.
Don’t ignore the accident scene. Document your car accident with photos or video if you can. Get pictures that show the cars’ positions and damage, any skid marks or debris or damage to street signs or the shoulder of the road, or anything that helps show what happened. Get pictures of your injuries.
Don’t forget to get contact info. Be polite and business-like when approaching the other drivers. Exchange names, and driver’s license and insurance information. If police respond to the crash, you may rely on them to gather and exchange this information. If there are passengers or other witnesses to the car accident, get contact information for them, and offer them your contact information.
Don’t delay contacting your insurance company. Contact your insurance company within 24 hours of the accident to report the accident. Be careful to avoid admitting fault or accepting blame for the accident. Do not downplay your injuries or your vehicle damage.
Don’t forget about the accident report. If a law enforcement officer responds to your accident, he or she should file a report. Ask how and when you can get a copy, and get it as soon as possible. An official record of the accident may be useful in a car accident case.
Don’t lose accident documents. There will be many records of your accident and injuries that you need to save. Start a file and save everything, including receipts for any payment connected to your accident and any records of work or school you have missed because of your injuries. Save any photos you made at the accident scene or afterward that show the extent of your injuries, vehicle damage or other losses. Document your recovery, including making notes about what you are going through with medical care, disability, rehabilitation, and any limitations or setbacks.
Don’t accept a quick insurance payment. If you accept a settlement offer from the insurance company, your case is over. In accepting it you will be required to sign a statement agreeing that you will not seek further compensation. Do not sign anything offered by an insurance company unless an experienced car accident attorney working for you has reviewed it and advises you to sign.
Don’t publicize your accident. Stay off of social media. You may be surprised how many people have lost car accident cases by posting comments and photos on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites that were later used to argue that they were not badly injured. Do not brag about a “big payoff” or revenge or any matter connected to legal matters stemming from a car accident.
Don’t put off contacting a lawyer. If you are seriously hurt in a car crash, you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as you can. A lawyer can provide a free consultation to help you protect your rights after an accident and advise you about your legal options. Once you retain legal help, your car accident attorney can handle the details of putting together an insurance claim and fight to ensure you get all the compensation you deserve. It is always best to get started on a car accident case as soon as possible.
Contact the Long Island car accident lawyers at The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, now for a free consultation and evaluation of your potential car accident case.
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