Being involved in a car accident can lead to unfortunate consequences. Injuries sustained during a car crash can be life-changing and influence the quality of your life for years to come. When you find yourself in such an uncertain situation, you might wonder what the first thing you should do in a car accident is.
A car accident lawyer will tell you that contacting the authorities as soon as possible is essential. Police officers will assess the situation and establish the circumstances of the accident. At the same time, you and the other parties will receive the necessary medical care.
You must be prepared to act on the spot when a car accident happens. Obtaining a police report describing the scene and asking witnesses for statements are essential steps to prevent eventual financial losses. The following points could help you understand what to do when an accident occurs.
Contact the Authorities
New York State Law demands that in case a car accident occurs, you should remain at the scene and contact the police by dialing 911. Request an ambulance to ensure that you and the other driver receive medical attention needed. If you suffered severe injuries or your property was damaged because of the collision, waiting for the authority’s arrival is the best option.
If there are other people injured at the accident scene and you can help them, be sure to inform the authorities about this and follow their instructions. Moving bodies without medical expertise can do more harm than good. You should also move your car out of the way to avoid a potential second collision with other traffic participants. Yet, do this only if you feel fine enough and if your car isn’t too damaged.
Exchanging information with the other driver is essential, especially if you sustained severe injuries requiring extensive medical care and treatment. Additionally, if your car has significant damages, you will hold the other party liable for the repair costs. The pertinent information to gather is the name and address of the driver, phone number, insurance company, driver’s license number, and license plate number for the driver and the owner of the vehicle.
You should also write down any contact details of potential eyewitnesses. This will be crucial later on in your case when you file for a personal injury claim. Be sure to also let the medical staff take a look at you no matter how superficial your injuries might seem at first.
It is crucial to have any information documented related to your wounds and accident scene. If you can, take photos and record the accident scene with your phone as well.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Notifying your insurance company that you were involved in a car crash is vital when you need help covering your immediate medical bills. Your health recovery is the top priority when you are involved in a car accident. Informing your insurance company as soon as possible increases your chances of winning an eventual lawsuit. They will compensate your bills and some lost wages so that you can take the much-needed time off.
Even if you think you have not sustained any injuries or that your car was not severely damaged, contacting your insurance company is a must. Some injuries will show only a few days after the accident, or after a thorough examination at the car service, you might find that your car has extensive damage.
Your insurance company will help you cover these expenses. In other cases, the other driver might not have insurance at all. You can avoid further complications by contacting your insurance company and by having underinsured coverage.
However, always keep in mind that insurance companies are also businesses and they will try to retain as much money as possible. This means that the money allocated to your medical bills, injuries, or property damage might not represent the true value that you should receive.
In case the insurance company denies, delays, or pays you a lesser sum, you should contact an attorney.
Seek Legal Advice from a Certified Attorney
Seeking legal advice immediately after an accident will help you understand the steps you must take to receive compensation for your damages. An attorney qualified in personal injury cases will know how to guide you through the entire process. Your lawyer can give you valuable advice, saving you time and energy. Additionally, they will help you file a lawsuit if it is needed and represent you in court to fight for your rights.
New York’s statute of limitation allows you to file a lawsuit in the first two years after the accident if you are suing New York State and three years if you are suing another driver. Having a lawyer guide you and represent you in court can help you successfully claim the proper compensation that you deserve for your injuries, property damage, medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and more. In contrast, you have time off to recover from your injuries while your lawyer will deal with all that paperwork, gather evidence, and hire specialists to prove who was at fault for the accident.
If the insurance company won’t reward you with the proper compensation that you deserve, denies your claims, or delays them, having an attorney by your side is crucial.
An attorney will negotiate and put pressure on the other parties so that you can receive what you are entitled to. Having a car accident lawyer by your side doesn’t mean you will go to trial with the at-fault parties.
Instead, it will act as an intimidating factor forcing the other parties to accept a settlement that is in your favor. Even if the at-fault parties give you more trouble, your lawyer will already have compiled enough evidence and paperwork to sue them if you want to. No matter how you look at it, contacting a car accident attorney will ensure that you receive proper compensation for all your troubles. Keep in mind that the longer your recovery takes, the more you are owed.