The moment you experience a serious car accident, shock and adrenaline take over. Unfortunately, while these feelings impact your physical well-being, they can also inhibit your decision-making. As such, there are certain steps you should take after a crash that you may not even think about once the accident occurs.
Before you move forward with your claim, it’s vital to recognize the various steps you should take that help protect your rights after a crash. These six steps are crucial, so make sure you do the following as soon as possible following the collision you experience.
- Exchange information
- Report the accident
- Take photos
- Speak with witnesses
- Get medical care
- Hire a lawyer
1. Exchange Information
Cautiously approach the other driver(s) involved in the crash and begin exchanging information. While New York has a no-fault law and you typically go through your own insurance provider, there’s also a severe injury threshold that would allow you to take legal action against the responsible driver.
You should have the other driver’s:
- Driver’s license number
- Name and address
- Contact information
- Insurance policy information
- License plate number
2. Report the Accident
Report your accident to your insurance company to begin your claim. You want to provide only the facts of your accident until you can speak with a lawyer about your rights. Also, report the accident to local law enforcement to come out to the scene and create an accident report.
The accident report can provide the location, time, and date the accident occurred, contact information for all parties involved, statements, and more information that you can use to help build your claim.
3. Take Photos
Your evidence is vital when pursuing a claim. Taking photos can help you show just how severe your accident is. The photos you want to take include the following:
- The accident scene, which can show signs of negligence such as tire marks, defective traffic signals, etc.
- The damage to all vehicles, which can show the angles of the vehicles and how the accident may have happened.
- The visible injuries you sustain, which can challenge any claims of pre-existing conditions.
4. Speak with Witnesses
If you notice witnesses who may have seen the accident, you can speak with them to get their statements. While insurance adjusters often question the validity of your witnesses and their claims, it can still be a helpful piece of evidence to have.
If your witnesses are willing, ask them to write down their statement, sign and date it, and provide their contact information.
5. Get Medical Care
Far too often, people don’t seek medical care after a crash because they don’t feel any pain or their only experiencing minor aches. Some injuries have latency issues that can cause you to feel the effects of your injury hours, days, or even weeks after they occur.
It’s helpful to seek medical care soon after your accident to receive a proper diagnosis. If your damages exceed the severe injury threshold, you may have additional legal rights to pursue compensation.
6. Hire a Lawyer
Sometimes, even dealing with your own insurance provider can be challenging. You want to protect your rights to the fullest, which may mean hiring a lawyer to help you. Insurance adjusters often look to use various tactics against claimants, but with a lawyer, you can better recognize the things you should and shouldn’t say.
A lawyer safeguards you from large legal teams that work with insurance companies and trained adjusters who focus solely on their company’s profits.
At The Paris Law Group, PC, we know you may have numerous questions after a car accident. Our New York car accident attorneys seek to provide you the highest level of advocacy, so you can feel peace of mind and confidence as we pursue the justice and compensation you deserve.