How to protect your rights after a car accident | Cohen & Cohen Law Group, P.C.
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How to protect your rights after a car accident

Driving around in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and surrounding areas is risky. Regardless of the care you take while driving, another driver's negligence could leave you and your passengers injured and facing medical bills, lost income, and other financial and emotional damages. It might be a good idea to become familiar with the do's and don'ts after involvement in a collision.

The steps you take immediately after the accident will play an essential role in your successful recovery of damages. The first thing to remember is never to leave the scene of the crash. Also, keep in mind that the other driver may try to convince you not to report the accident but rather resolve the issue between the two of you. If you agree, your decision might be one that can come back to bite you.

Steps to take after an accident

It is your legal obligation to stop after involvement in any accident, even if it was a minor bumper bashing with little or no damage. The following steps are crucial to protect your rights in the event of an insurance claim or a civil lawsuit:

  • Do not move the vehicle: Leave the moving of the cars for the police, unless they block the traffic.
  • Injuries and damage: If your condition allows, check on the other parties to see whether anyone needs medical care. Call 911 if injuries occurred.
  • Contact police: Call the police to any accident. You will need a case number for any claims you might file later.
  • Limit discussions: Never admit liability or any fault to anyone at the crash scene, including police, first responders or anyone else -- even if you think you were at fault. How you feel about the accident is nobody's concern, and beware, the shock and emotion can cause you to implicate yourself unintentionally.
  • Gather information: Make a note of the other driver's name, address, and other contact details. Gathering his or her insurance details is also crucial, including the name of the company and the policy number.
  • Vehicle information: You will need the make, model and description of the other vehicle, along with registration information and the license plate number. If might be a good idea to take photos of the vehicles and the damage.
  • Accident information: To make sure you remember the details of the accident, it might be a good idea to write it all down. Record the date, time, location, along with road and weather conditions, the directions in which the vehicles traveled and any other relevant information.

It might be months before you pursue damage recovery through the civil justice system, and having notes to refresh your memory can be invaluable.

Your legal rights

If another party's negligence caused your car accident injuries, you could pursue a claim for financial relief. Instead of accepting a settlement offer from the insurance adjuster, a consultation with an experienced New York personal injury attorney might be a good idea. Legal counsel can suggest the best way to proceed. Armed with all the information you gathered at the time of the accident along with medical reports and proof of expenses, you might have grounds to file a civil lawsuit in pursuit of economic and noneconomic damages.

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