5 Tips to Remember if you are Involved in a Car Accident
Nobody wants to be involved in a car accident. It’s stressful and sometimes results in serious injuries that can greatly affect your life. However, if you are involved in a car accident, here are five quick tips to keep in mind that will make it easier to deal with the consequences of your accident:
#1.) If at all possible, take pictures of the damage to both vehicles and get a police accident report. You may think that it may be easier to just exchange information with the other driver but that can sometimes complicate matters. Recollections of how the accident happened may fade and change over time, but a police report will document drivers’ versions of how the crash happened, contributing factors to the crash, and may also include the police officer’s opinion of which driver is at fault for causing the accident. The police report will also document any witnesses to the accident. Even in obvious cases, fault for the accident may be disputed by a driver’s insurance company. The police report may include a statement of what an independent witness observed. Further, the police report will verify the other driver’s contact and insurance information which will make reporting the claim to your insurance company easier. Pictures of the damage taken at the scene of the accident are always helpful to document the points of impact and the extent of the vehicle damage.
#2.) Make sure to report the accident to your insurance company and complete a No-Fault application within 30 days the accident, if you are injured in any manner. This is very important to do. Often people assume that if the other driver causes the car accident, then the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay for medical bills just like they may be paying for their vehicle damage repairs. However, this is not the case. New York is a No-Fault state. That means when you are injured in a car, no matter who is at fault for the accident, the insurance company for the vehicle that you were in at the time of the accident has to pay for your medical expenses and pay lost wage benefits to you, with certain restrictions. However, if you do not submit the No-Fault application within 30 days, the No-Fault carrier may deny payment for your medical treatment and lost wages.
#3.) Get all necessary medical treatment. If you are injured in any manner you should get yourself checked out by a medical professional who can give an opinion about what medical treatment you need. This seems like common sense but some people avoid going to see a doctor for a variety of reasons. If your injuries turn out to be something serious and you need to bring a personal injury case, it is important that they are documented properly. Think of it like this; in a criminal case the evidence are things like the weapon or fingerprints, but in a personal injury case, the best evidence is your medical records documenting your injuries and limitations. And keep in mind that any treatment related to the car accident should be covered by the No-Fault insurance.
#4.) Do not discuss your accident on any form of social media. If you are seriously injured and need to bring a lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident, the defense attorney may request and be granted access to your social media accounts. They may be granted access to your comments and posts about the accident or your injuries, along with your friends’ comments and your photographs. Keep your comments and pictures regarding the accident off of social media.
#5.) Consult with an attorney who specializes in personal injury matters. Do your research to find a respected firm and attorney that has a good reputation in the community. Also, make sure you choose an attorney who is prepared to help you in all aspects of your case. Some attorneys won’t assist clients with the No-Fault aspect of their claim, or perhaps are not trial attorneys and would not be willing to take a case all the way to a jury trial. It’s important to have an attorney that you trust and is equipped to handle every possible aspect of your case. Many clients also find it very important to have an attorney that is easily accessible and can give their case the detailed time and attention it deserves.
Hopefully, you will never be involved in an accident and won’t need these tips. However, in the unfortunate event that you are one of the millions of Americans every year that is injured in a car accident, please keep these tips in mind to make a difficult situation easier for you to deal with.