Getting into a car accident is chaotic, confusing, and stressful. It’s hard to remember what you ought to be doing, especially if you’re injured.
But knowing what to do in the event of an auto accident can ensure insurance companies do the right thing. Which means you get the money you need to pay your medical bills, replace your car, and get on with your life.
Take a wrong step and you may get far less than you need.
Get medical attention.
“But I feel fine.”
You feel fine now. Some injuries take a few days to present themselves. Fail to get medical attention right away and you create a great big loophole for insurance companies to waltz through.
It may be obvious to you that your shoulder or neck injury is a result of your car accident, but insurance companies will argue there’s no provable direct link.
And obviously if you’re severely injured getting the proper medical treatment should be the only thing on your mind. Don’t worry about anything else until your condition is stable.
Just don’t talk to your insurance company, and don’t sign anything if it isn’t related to getting you treatment at the hospital.
Call a lawyer.
Call a lawyer before you call your insurance company. The consultation is free. Personal injury lawyers work on contingency, which means we don’t get paid until and unless you do. And while we do take a percentage of what you get paid, we will get you much more than you’d have gotten on your own.
For one thing, when I go to work I investigate every last possible source of liability, and can make claims for you for lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. This usually means you’ll be far better off.
Meanwhile, your insurance company will be attempting to tempt you with paltry “settlement offers” that won’t even begin to cover your expenses. For example, they are unlikely to account for the recovery of future medical expenses. To recover those in a suit you must provide credible, non-speculative testimony the future treatments will be required (i,e., physical therapy). Your insurance company is certainly not going to volunteer to go looking for that evidence.
And if you sign anything, you could lose your chance at a personal injury suit. If you say anything, you could create evidence that can be used to undermine your claims.
Better to have a lawyer all lined up. Let me contact the insurance companies on your behalf. The less you deal with them, the better.
Gather as much evidence as you can.
Once I go to work for you I’ll be gathering as much evidence as I can, but there will still be some items you can put your hands on a little easier than I can, such as medical bills or receipts. I will give you a list of things I will ask you to try to get your hands on.
If you’re not too injured to do so you can begin gathering evidence right at the accident site. Take photos of the accident. Mark the license plate number of the other vehicle, as well as the car’s make and model. Get the other driver’s contact information and insurance information. Gather witness names and their numbers. Get a copy of the police report.
Obviously you’re not going to do any of these things if you’re in the back of an ambulance speeding towards the ER. But in the event that you’re still walking, talking, and able to function, these are good uses of your time before the police and paramedics show up.
If you’ve been in an accident, don’t try to handle the problem alone. Contact my office today. I will work hard to fight for your rights and to get you all the damages you are entitled to under New York law.