Understanding What to Do After a Queens Car Accident: Explained by Our Queens Car Accident Lawyers
No one plans to be involved in a Queens car accident. That is, after all, why it is called an accident. However, we need to have a plan if we are involved in an accident. Not only can this help save your life, but it could help protect your claim to compensation. This is because insurance companies already plan for accidents. And they plan by teaching insurance adjusters how to undervalue your claim or get you to accept less money than you deserve. Sometimes insurance adjusters will even try to convince you that your claim should be denied. This is simply not right.
Here at COHEN & COHEN PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS, P.C. , our experienced Queens car accident lawyers keep insurance companies and insurance adjusters honest. We do not let them attack a valid claim for compensation under New York law. The best way to prevent an unscrupulous insurance adjuster attack is to make sure that your claim is defended right from the start. We share what to do after a Queens car accident to help you begin your defense today. Do not forget to call our law firm for a FREE consultation to learn how we can help protect your rights to compensation under New York law.
What to Do After a Queens Car Accident
There are certain steps that everyone should take in a motor vehicle accident. Whether you are in a car, hit by a truck, on a motorcycle, a pedestrian, or in a ride-sharing vehicle, make sure to take these steps to protect your rights:
1: Call 911 for Help, Even if You Aren’t Sure if You Are Hurt
Always call for help. Do not try to do this alone. The police can respond quickly and immediately evaluate the situation and your health. If you are hurt, tell 911 that you are injured and an ambulance is needed. Even if you do not think your injuries are severe, call for help and ask for an ambulance. It is better that medical professionals arrive quickly rather than they do not. Further, it is important to call 911 to get the police there even in a smaller accident. The damage could be more significant than you realize, to both the car and yourself. Having an official document such as a police report is crucial to establishing your claim. Do not ignore this important part of your possible case, especially if you are hurt in a crash.
2: Seek Medical Attention, Even If You Do Not Think You Are Hurt
This is a common theme: Even if you do not think you are hurt, get evaluated. This is because a Queens car accident could result in bodily injuries that do not always manifest itself right away. This means that victims may be seriously injured and not realize it. This is common with back injuries and neck injuries which can take weeks to manifest themselves, but a victim may still need surgery—including a spinal fusion which is permanent and irreversible. Other types of personal injuries may not seem serious, but could be fatal. This includes a small brain bleed which could cause a mild headache, but if a victim tries to “sleep it off” or use pain medication to treat it (like ibuprofen which thins the blood), a brain bleed could be fatal. Trained medical providers can detect even subtle brain bleeds, but you cannot. Always get evaluated and always tell providers everything that is bothering you and hurts—do not be a hero, this is your body and you need to protect it.
3: Take Photos or Videos, If You Are Able To
If you are medically able to, take photos and videos of the accident scene. Make sure that you and anyone in your vehicle is okay first and stable. But if you are able to, take photos or videos of the vehicles, the scene, the traffic signs or patterns, the other vehicle, the other driver, your injuries, their injuries, and anything else. It is also a good idea to take a photo of responding ambulances or police vehicles so you can tell the department and the providers. Make sure to document as much as you can. If you are unable to do so, ask a passenger to help. This is an important piece of evidence for your Queens car accident case. But most important, DO NOT delete any photos or videos you have—even if they are blurry or come out poorly, or you do no think that they will help you case. This is because it could be spoliation of evidence and harm your claim.
4: Gather Information from the Other Driver, Police, Ambulance, and Witnesses
You need to get information from the other driver by exchanging insurance, contacts, and similar information. But you also need to make sure you get the information of first responders like the police and ambulance. Most importantly, make sure to get other witnesses information immediately too. Name, phone number, and address if possible. This is because a witness is a very important part of a Queens car accident, especially one that occurs in an intersection. If you have an accident in an intersection, it is important to have these neutral witnesses because intersection accidents are often hotly contested and he-said/she-said arguments. If you are unable to get the other driver’s information, ask the police to provide it for you. Also make sure to get the names fo the other first responders so you can ask them questions later.
5: Keep a Log or Journal
Anytime you have even a little bit of an injury, make sure to keep a log or journal of the accident. This includes recording doctor appointments, medications, and limitations you have with your injuries. Note what disability you have and how you are feeling. Make sure to record all contacts with insurance companies and other individuals too, so you know when they contact you.
6: As Soon as Practicable, Report to Your Insurance Carrier—But Vaguely or Ask for Form
New York is a no-fault state. This means that everyone injured in a motor vehicle accident first turns to their insurance company to get their benefits paid out immediately for medical bills and lost wages. This is the purpose of no-fault insurance, to get victims immediate help and then the insurance companies can figure it out later and seek indemnity or contribution. Thus, the general requirement in New York is that victims of a motor vehicle accident must submit their claim as soon as practicable but usually within 30 days unless there are extenuating circumstances (i.e., catastrophic injury) which prevent you from doing so.
However, do not report too much to your insurance company! They will use that information against you. Remember, they pay your claim first. They are a business. Insurance companies do share information, and they will work together to chip away at your claim—even from your own side.
7: This is Why it is Imperative to Hire a Queens Car Accident Lawyer BEFORE You Contact Insurance
The truth is, if you have a significant enough claim to an insurance company that you are worried about your compensation, you will likely need a personal injury lawyer. Queens car accident lawyers like our law firm take personal injury cases on a contingency fee agreement. This means that we do not accept compensation upfront and there is NO COST to having our law firm represent you. Rather, we get paid a percentage of what we recover for you in a settlement or court award. This means you do not pay anything out-of-pocket.
Part of your claim is your no-fault claim. If you have a severe enough personal injury accident that a lawyer firm will take your case, a Queens car accident lawyer will handle your no fault claim as well. This is because your no-fault claim creates documents which could be used against you. Thus, having an experienced Queens car accident lawyer like ours at COHEN & COHEN PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS, P.C. , and ensure that the paperwork which is submitted is properly done to support your claim. We do not fall into traps of the insurance company or adjusters, and most times the adjusters do not even try to undermine our claims—they usually just accept our representation and pass it to counsel. That is because when it is an insurance adjuster versus you, it is an unfair fight for you. But when it is an insurance adjuster versus us, it is now an unfair fight in your favor.
Do not go this alone, ask our compassionate and experienced law firm how we can help you today with your bodily injury claim after a Queens car accident. We hope this information on what to do after a Queens car accident was helpful, and please do not hesitate to call us for a FREE consultation by dialing 800-247-8164 or use our convenient and easy-to-use contact us box available here.