An Overview of the "Do's and Don'ts" Following a Car AccidentFeb 3, 2017
The Don'ts: What to Avoid After an Accident
Car accidents can be terrifying. If you're involved in accident, it is understandable that your emotions would be running high and perhaps it might be hard to think straight. Maybe this is your first accident; what do you do? What should you NOT do? After an automobile accident, there are certain mistakes that you should avoid. Saying or doing certain things after an accident can be used against you later in a lawsuit or an insurance claim, even if you were being well-intentioned at the time.
Parker Waichman LLP has decades of experience representing automobile accident victims. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a car accident lawsuit.
Do not apologize for the car crash. This may go against your instincts, but saying you're sorry after an accident can be used against you later. You may say "sorry" as an automatic response after a collision, without realizing its implications. The other driver can use your apology as evidence that you admitted to causing the accident, even if you did not.
Another mistake involves failing to file a report or contacting the police when necessary. If the accident is very minor and nobody is injured, calling 911 may not always be necessary. However, you should call the police if the damage is substantial. In New York, drivers are required to call the police when car accident damage totals $1,001 or more. If there was an injury, death or damage to a parked vehicle or other property, or a domestic animal was injured, call the police. Failing to call the authorities when required can carry serious penalties.
What if you were involved in a New York car accident, but you can't tell if the damage is over $1,000? If you are uncertain, call the police anyway. When it comes to car accidents and liability, it is better to err on the side of caution. Auto repairs are costly, and it may not take much to rack up bills at the car repair shop.
Contact an experienced personal injury attorney who knows the ins and outs of working with insurance agencies. You want to be compensated fairly for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. The insurance adjustor's job to save the insurer money; they may be sympathetic to your situation, but it is still their responsibility to keep their employer's best interests in mind.
Do not handle your injury claim by yourself. If your accident was caused by a negligent driver, you have legal rights. A personal injury lawyer can help obtain the best settlement possible for your injuries. Pursuing the claim on your own may result in a lower settlement. Additionally, Parker Waichman personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee, meaning that you do not pay unless we win your case.
Do not stop receiving medical treatment for your auto accident injuries if necessary. Your health takes precedence over everything. While taking time off work to receive treatment may be costly or difficult, continue to visit the doctor or hospital as necessary for your injuries. Failing to do so could not only affect your physical recovery, but the other driver's insurance company could use this to argue against the severity of your injuries later.
The Do's: Documenting the Scene, Obtaining Contact Info
Just as there are certain things you should not do, there are also specific things you SHOULD do after a car accident. As previously stated, you should contact the police if necessary after an accident. Similarly, you should seek medical attention for your injuries. Keep in mind that not all injuries are immediately apparent. You may want to consider seeing a doctor even if it seems like you are unharmed. Have a record of all your injuries, including medical records and medical bills. Take pictures of your injuries.
You should remain calm and be courteous to the other driver. A car accident can be stressful, but keeping your composure will help avoid a hostile interaction.
Make sure to obtain the name and contact information of all drivers involved in the accident. Obtain the names, contact information and statements from eyewitnesses. These individuals can help prove what happened later.
You should also document the other driver's vehicle, including the make, model, color and license plate number. Document the scene. This includes taking pictures of the accident scene as well as any damage to the cars. While the accident is still fresh in your mind, document how the incident occurred. The insurance company will ask about these details later.
Check to see if there is security footage, or any other type of evidence that showed how the accident occurred. For example, some stores have cameras out front where you can see cars passing by on the street.
There are also several pieces of information you should obtain if the police are called. This includes the police officer's name, badge number, phone number and police report number. When you contact your insurance company to file a claim, they will want this information. Having it ready ahead of time will make the process move along more smoothly. When the police arrive to the scene of an accident, they will assess the situation and obtain statements from everyone involved.
File a claim with your insurance company as soon as you are able. The longer you wait, the more complicated things may get and details of the accident can start to fade. Tell them everything you remember about the accident.
Legal Help for Car Accident Victims
Parker Waichman has decades of experience representing car accident and other accident victims. If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident, you may have valuable legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).