Being involved in an automobile accident can cause a significant amount of stress and anxiety. It can also leave a person with many questions about what to do following a crash. We understand that so many people have big questions about vehicle accidents and, for this reason, we have provided some general answers to a few basics questions that might arise after being involved in car crash.
If you have any specific questions regarding your accident and would like to meet cwith one of our automobile accident attorneys, give us a call or fill out our online contact form to learn more. We offer free consultations.
What should I do if I have been involved in a car accident?
First make sure that everyone is okay. Call 911 so that a police officer will respond to the scene, and to ensure that anyone who has been injured can get medical attention. Get information from the other driver (name, phone number, insurance information). Ask any witnesses for their contact information, too. If it is possible to do so, take pictures of the scene. In the weeks that follow, keep extensive records concerning police reports, medical bills, car repairs and any other relevant financial or medical information.
What should I say following the crash?
You should speak to the police as honestly and truthfully as possible and you should ask for the information of the other driver and witnesses. Aside from that, you should say very little after being involved in a car accident. There can often be a number of contributing factors that lead to an automobile accident, and it is unreasonable to assume that you will know what lead to the crash. What you say to the other driver might be used against you later. For this reason, it is best never to admit fault or apologize to the other driver.
Should I seek medical attention?
Yes. After being involved in a car accident, a person might be in shock and unaware of the full extent of their injuries. It can also be the case that injuries will worsen over time, and it will be helpful to have your injuries documented at a medical facility.
How should I deal with insurance companies after a car accident?
You should notify your own insurance company of the crash. However, your attorney will be able to deal with insurance companies in the days, weeks and months that follow a crash. DO NOT give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company. You are under no obligation to talk to another driver’s insurance company. They will likely try to shift the blame onto you if at all possible. Let your attorney handle the conversation.
What if the other driver flees the scene?
If the other party leaves the scene after a crash, you should still call the police and contact your attorney. You can still receive payments from your insurance company for many of the damages you have suffered. If possible, try to get the license plate number or the make and model of the hit-and-run driver’s vehicle. The police might be able to use that information to track down the other driver.
Do I need an attorney to handle my automobile accidents claim?
No. However, the insurance company employs an army of attorneys, claims specialists, and experts to win the case, so in order to get the compensation that you are entitled to you will need to hire an attorney that specializes in this type of law. Our legal team has decades of experience and a proven track record of maximizing settlements, and we are in the best position to guarantee that you get everything that you are entitled to.
How long do I have to bring a claim?
The statute of limitations (or time in which a claim must be brought from the date of the accident) is 3 years for a personal injury claim. If a claim is being brought for wrongful death, the claim must be brought within 2 years from the date of death. If the claim is being brought against a municipality, the time to bring a claim is significantly shorter depending on who the claim is against, so you should consult with an attorney immediately.
Can I bring a claim even if the other driver wasn’t 100% at fault?
Yes. New York law follows the pure comparative negligence rule. It states that an injured party will receive compensation for their injuries in proportion to their percentage of contribution to the accident. For example, if a jury believes that a claimant was 10% at fault, the other driver is responsible for 90% of the claimant’s damages.
Do I have to pay any legal fees if I lose my case?
No. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee, which means that if you don’t win your case we don’t get paid.
How much is my case worth?
If any attorney tells you that they know how much your case is worth before reviewing all of the documentation, then they are lying or incompetent. However, our legal team has decades of experience and will maximize the value of your case.
How long will it take to settle my case?
Every case is different, but our legal team utilizes the most advanced technology and aggressive legal strategy to expedite our clients’ cases, generally resolving cases years faster than any other firm.
How will my medical bills get paid?
Whether you were the driver or passenger in the car, your medical bills will be paid for by the company that insured the car you were in. However, you must file a No Fault application with the insurance company within 30 days from the date of the accident; if you fail to do so, you have waived your right to file the claim for benefits.
Does No Fault pay for anything else?
Yes. No Fault will also pay for lost wages, prescription costs, transportation to medical providers, and reasonable expenses for household services.
Why does my insurance company have to pay the bills if the other driver caused the accident?
The insurance companies were involved in the drafting of the legislation that created this policy. They agreed to this plan so that injured parties can get the treatment that they need even if it is unclear who caused the accident — liability will not determine who pays.
Why would the insurance companies want that?
The insurance companies agreed to the legislation because the law also limits access for injured parties to the court system. The statute states that an injured person can’t proceed with a lawsuit unless they have sustained a serious injury as defined by the legislation, which significantly restricts an individual’s ability to collect money for pain and suffering.
What is the legal definition of a serious injury?
A serious injury has been defined as death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement; fracture; loss of a fetus; permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system; permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.
How will I know if my injuries will be considered serious?
Many of the injuries sustained in automobile accident cases become progressively worse with time, and their seriousness may be difficult to determine shortly after the accident. However, the automobile accident attorneys at Kaplan Lawyers PC recommend that you retain an attorney immediately so that all filings are completed to protect your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to.
How can I get my car fixed?
If you have collision coverage, we would recommend that you contact your insurance company and submit a claim under your policy. If you don’t have collision coverage you will have to file a third-party claim with the other driver’s insurance company. However, a third-party claim can take significantly longer to resolve, and the insurance company will try to twist your words against you; therefore, we recommend that you contact a legal professional before contacting the insurance company directly.