Motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians constantly put themselves at risk in Queens, New York street. Unfortunately, car accidents occur in large numbers, as is reflected in the NYPD TrafficStat data. Getting into a car accident in New York can be terrifying, even if it results in minor injuries. In addition, most car accident victims feel confused and lost after the accident and don’t know what to do. Although a Queens car accident lawyer can help you recover compensation, the steps you take immediately after the car crash can significantly impact the compensation you receive.
It’s essential to be mentally prepared with a checklist of actions you must take and things to avoid to protect your right. In this article, we’ll share crucial tips to help you stay calm after automobile accidents and increase your chance of receiving maximum compensation.
Steps to Take After a Car Crash
After a car accident in Queens, New York, there are some steps you need to take to handle the situation better. Firstly, you must give minor auto accidents the exact treatment you would give to a more serious accident. Additionally, New York law requires some actions to occur after a car accident. Finally, an insurance company also has the right to reject claims if specific steps aren’t taken. Therefore, below is a breakdown of the steps to take after your accident.
· Check for Injuries
After a car accident, you first need to check yourself and your passengers, if any, for injuries. However, even if you don’t believe anyone is hurt, you can’t rule out the possibility immediately. This is because the impact of a minor accident can result in an adrenaline spike that masks your pain response. Due to this, your car accident injuries might not be apparent immediately and only show symptoms after the collision.
· Stay at the Accident Scene but Move to Safety
According to New York laws, leaving an accident scene without exchanging information is illegal. So, no matter how much you want to distance yourself from the accident scene, stay at the scene. But first, look around and determine the safest spot at the accident scene to stay.
You can either drive your car out of traffic or get you and your passengers to a secure place close to the accident scene if you can’t drive. Note that you should only do this if you feel well enough. If you feel dizzy or disoriented, trying to drive your vehicle might expose you to further injuries.
· Call 911 and File an Accident Report
It’s important to call law enforcement to the car accident scene, regardless of how minor the accident might seem. If it’s an emergency, then you should dial 911 immediately. If you don’t notice any apparent injury and an ambulance doesn’t matter, inform the dispatcher that they should only send a police officer to the scene. This matters because you need the responding officer to write an accident report.
Police reports are quite crucial when it comes to proving liability after a car accident. Your Queens car accident lawyer can help you obtain this result when you file a car accident claim to recover compensation from the at-fault party. In addition, a car accident report can efficiently protect your legal rights with the insurance company, which might not be willing to cover damages without an official report.
· Seek Medical Care
Whether you feel fine at the accident scene or not, you must seek medical attention after your accident. You might want to see your primary care physician after the accident, especially if you experience new pain or symptoms days after the accident.
Sometimes, we’re tempted to believe that our pain will disappear when we rest a little. You might also be worried about the medical bills that follow a doctor’s appointment. However, you need to seek medical care after a car accident in New York, whether you have an injury or not. Therefore, it is essential to claim damages after a car crash.
If the records show that you waited too long to file an accident claim, the insurance company might claim your injuries are unrelated to the accident. They could also imply you’re faking the injury, so it’s best to visit a medical professional as soon as possible. Make sure you record all medical appointments and bills to help Queen’s car accident lawyers recover maximum compensation for you.
· Take Photos and Videos of the Car Accident Scene
Car accident victims need to gather evidence right at the accident scene. For example, check the back of the other driver’s car and take a picture of their license plate number. Also, take note of the model and make of their car if they choose to drive off. Even in a minor accident with little damage, it’s crucial to document everything to make it easier to accurately report the accident.
Take photos even if the property damage is minor. This gives you a record of the damage that Queens car accident attorneys can use later if the at-fault party tries to claim a different version of the events that took place.
If you can safely move around, take pictures of the accident scene. However, if you can’t, you should ask a witness or someone at the accident scene to help you make videos and take these photos. Let the pictures focus on the position of your car to other vehicles at the scene, the damage to your vehicle, obstacles at the scene, debris, and skid marks from the car accident scene. All this can serve as evidence in your car accident case.
· Don’t Accept Blame for the Car Accident
While you shouldn’t offer the other driver a statement of fault, you should also avoid apologizing for the crash. This is because offering an apology implies accepting fault, and the insurance company can use this against you when you file a car accident claim.
Ensure you stay calm while waiting for the authorities to show up. Even if you believe you’re partially responsible for the car accident crash, you should never admit blame in any way. Sometimes your empathy might create a false narrative in your head, causing you to accept blame for the accident. However, this could affect your chance at fair compensation, so stay quiet on such occasions. Instead, you should allow the police officer to come to his conclusions after accessing the scene.
· Obtain the Contact Information of All Motorists and Witness at the Scene
It’s also helpful to exchange names, phone numbers, addresses, vehicle license plates, driver’s license numbers, model and make of vehicle, and insurance company details with the other driver. This might be difficult to obtain because the other driver might be reluctant to share this information.
This is another crucial reason for inviting law enforcement officials to the scene. Although they might not be willing to share this information with you, they have to give it to the officer for the police report. Additionally, you should talk to anyone who witnessed the accident. Ask for their names and contact information, as your Queens car accident lawyer can invite them to provide testimony if your car accident case proceeds to court.
· Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
After the accident, you should remember to report the accident to your insurance company. The longer the wait, the more challenging it becomes to make a claim and receive reimbursement for your damages through insurance. Of course, it’s always best to submit your insurance claim immediately, but if you can’t, it should be within 30 days of the accident. This is a strict rule in New York City because of the no-fault insurance laws.
In addition, New York requires you to file a car accident report with the Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days of the accident. This is important if the car accident resulted in over $1000 damages. Failure to do this might result in the suspension of your license.
· Speak to Experienced Car Accident Lawyers
There are varying reasons why you should call a car accident attorney after your auto accident. Maybe your insurance coverage isn’t enough to cover the medical costs, car repair expenses, and lost wages. When you want to file a car accident case, you’ll need an experienced attorney. A Queens car accident lawyer can provide legal counsel on the best action to take. Taking legal action is not something car accident victims should do alone; that’s why contacting a personal injury law firm is crucial.
New York Traffic Laws and How They Affect Car Accident Cases
Several New York laws affect how things occur after a car accident. If you would like to file a personal injury claim against the other driver, these laws are crucial and can impact your chances of recovering financial compensation after an accident.
· Drivers Should Exercise Due Care
Many sections in the New York Vehicle and Traffic laws protect pedestrians. These laws also try to prevent accidents by prohibiting dangerous driving behaviors. According to New York laws, anyone convicted of reckless driving would be found guilty of a misdemeanor.
Distracted driving is among the main causes of car accidents, and the state has tried to minimize this by prohibiting the use of portable electronic devices while driving. The law states that every driver needs to exercise due care to prevent collisions with pedestrians, bicyclists, or even domestic animals on the road. If drivers don’t exercise due care, they violate this law and would be found liable in a car accident case.
If you don’t understand the traffic and vehicle laws, your car crash lawyer can explain them further to help you understand how they apply to car accident cases like yours.
· No-Fault Insurance Law
Every driver with a registered vehicle in New York City is required to have no-fault insurance in place. This insurance coverage covers drivers up to $50,000 for economic losses from a car accident, regardless of who is at fault. This insurance aims to help you cover expenses after a car accident. You can only file personal injury claims if economic losses exceed the $50,000 benefits limit or you’re filing a claim for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
This means that while you can file a personal injury lawsuit, it all depends on the circumstance of the car accident. First, ensure you submit a no-fault insurance application immediately after the accident. If you believe your case goes beyond the benefits offered by the no-fault insurance, then a personal injury attorney can help you decide if you should file a claim.
· Stature of Limitation
The statute of limitation for New York car personal injury cases is three years. Therefore, Queen’s car accident lawyers can only help you file a claim within three years of your accident for the claim to be valid. Although three years might seem like a long time, it’s best to file as soon as possible. This way, the evidence is still recent, as well as the memory of witnesses. This increases their credibility and improves your chance at fair compensation.
· Comparative Negligence
New York City uses a comparative negligence law when it comes to liability. This means fault can be divided between the two people involved in the accident, depending on their circumstances surrounding the accident. However, many factors go into determining each driver’s percentage of fault. Therefore, your level of liability also determines the amount you receive as compensation.
Contact a Queens Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one suffered severe injuries in a New York car accident, it’s essential to take the steps carefully outlined above. These steps will protect your rights and increase your chance of a fair settlement after the accident. When filing a claim, you should also contact the best Queens car accident lawyers.
The personal injury attorneys at Elliot Ifraimoff & Associates, PC, are experts at car accident claims and can advise you on the best step to take in your compensation claim. During a free consultation, we’ll review the facts of your case to find out how we can help you recover the maximum compensation to cover your medical bills and lost wages. We’re also excellent negotiators and will fight to recover maximum compensation from the insurance adjusters. To discuss your minor car accident case further, contact us today.