No one expects to be in a car accident. Despite traffic laws, law enforcement and road safety campaigns, car accidents happen. In some cases, they are just that – accidents. In other cases, negligent driving or some other factor involving the other driver or vehicle may play a role in the liability of an accident. Either case, while there is no surefire way to prevent a vehicle accident, it's best to be prepared for what follows.
And in New York, with some of the densest populations in the country, car accidents happen all too often on New York City streets and roads. In this blog post, we list the following as some car accident mistakes to avoid when the unexpected happens.
Not Receiving Immediate Medical Attention
If you have suffered serious injuries, emergency vehicles and first responders will arrive on scene and you will be transported to a hospital for immediate medical attention. But even if you escape the accident unhurt or are minorly injured, it is vital to visit a medical professional at the earliest for an evaluation.
The adrenaline rush and chaos that ensues in the aftermath of a car crash can distract you from feeling the symptoms of injuries. They may become apparent after 24 hours or even more when the shock wears off, while some internal or soft tissue injuries like whiplash can take weeks or even months to appear.
Seeing a doctor will ensure that your injuries receive timely medical treatment and don't worsen over time. Besides, the medical documentation will serve as an essential piece of evidence should you file a compensation claim. It will help establish that the injuries resulted from the accident and not some other event.
Failing To Gather Evidence
As you wait for emergency personnel to arrive, take the opportunity to document the accident scene and gather evidence. Take photographs of all vehicles involved in the accident from various angles. Also, take photos of the road, skid marks, debris, or property damage that may have occurred. That will help demonstrate to the insurer and jury who was at fault and how the accident occurred.
In addition, approach the other driver(s) politely if you deem it safe and exchange information with them. Ask for their name, contact information, license, insurance policy number, and note down the vehicle license plate.
Lastly, if someone has witnessed the car crash like other drivers or pedestrians, record their statements and obtain their contact information while offering yours too. Witnesses could be of immense value in providing credibility to your injury claim.
Delaying Contacting an Attorney
For the best chances of receiving fair compensation for all damages incurred, it is in your best interest to contact your car accident attorney soon after the accident. Remember, each state has its time limit, or statute of limitations, within which you must file a lawsuit.
In New York, the statute of limitations is 3 years from the date of the accident. Failure to do so within the specified time frame may result in you losing your legal right to file a claim and recover any compensation for your losses from the responsible party.
A skilled and experienced New York car accident attorney will work with you from day one by gathering evidence, providing guidance about the intricate legalities of a claims process, and advising you about the best way forward.
They will deal with manipulative insurance companies who will go to lengths to undermine and devalue your claim and protect your legal rights by fighting for the compensation you deserve.
Rushing To Accept an Insurance Settlement
One of the most common car accident mistakes many victims make is signing a settlement offer in haste without consulting their attorney. Insurance companies are notorious for making lowball offers to accident victims and trying to make the least possible compensation.
The financial hardships you may be going through and the need for some quick money to pay the piling medical bills may compel you into accepting a menial compensation way below your claim’s actual worth. Signing a settlement offer will mean losing your rights to file a personal injury claim and securing additional compensation.
A New York car accident attorney will fight to negotiate the best settlement amount and may take the case to trial if the at-fault party refuses to offer a fair payout.
Not Taking Into Account All the Damages
The physical and emotional trauma following a car accident can often render it hard for accident victims to fully value their claim by realizing the extent of losses for which they can claim compensation.
There are several types of damages for which you can sue the negligent party if you have suffered serious injuries. You want to get reimbursed for all financial losses, extending beyond the mounting medical expenses like hospital bills and ongoing care. These may include lost wages, pain and suffering, and mental trauma. An attorney may be your best bet to getting maximum compensation including intangible losses.
With emotions and stress levels running high, it is natural not to be able to think straight and keep a calm head after a car accident. However, by avoiding some common car accident mistakes, you can deal with the aftermath of a New York car accident smoothly and maximize the value of your injury claim.
Get Help after a New York Car Accident
Some people will avoid pursuing a personal injury claim as they don’t want to get involved with what they think will be a lot of hassle and effort. At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we first work to ensure that your health and well-being are restored, and then get to work beginning the process of getting you reimbursed for your losses. We handle the communications and negotiations with insurance companies and build your case to pursue maximum compensation for your injuries. Don’t be left on the hook for medical bills and expenses that are not your fault.
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we are dedicated to assisting clients throughout New York State with their car accident and personal injury cases. We have decades of experience and the extensive resources you need to secure a fair case result. Our compassionate attorneys put client care and your needs first. Contact us immediately for a free legal review.