How to Respond to in the Aftermath of an Accident?
When clients have been injured in a car accident, often they have several questions:
- Am I at fault?
- Do I have the right of recovery?
- I don’t have insurance, is there a remedy?
- I didn’t seek immediate medical attention, do I still have a cause of action?
An attorney should be retained immediately to help answer these questions for your specific case.
After an accident, it’s very important to obtain medical treatment immediately, even if you don’t feel anything right away. Often injuries tend to manifest themselves after the accident. You should get checked out by a medical professional and let them decide whether you have an injury or not.
In the aftermath of a car accident where injuries were incurred, you should always call the police right away. There may be damages for not calling. The insurance adjuster may think that you didn’t actually suffer an injury or that you are trying to hide something. You need to get the necessary information from the other driver and the police can help if you can’t obtain it on your own.
At the Scene of the Accident
At the scene of the accident, it is always safe to ask the other person for their name, address, and a copy of their license and registration. From this information, you can find out who the owner of the vehicle is. The owner of the vehicle is automatically responsible for the acts of the driver. Other than that, we do not recommend you say anything. Avoid sharing details about where you were coming from or going, whether you saw them or not, or any personal information. Less is best.
If you overshare, accidentally admitting fault does not impede your right to recovery. That’s why we have lawyers. New York is a comparative negligence state, which means that if you are somewhat at fault, your recovery is lessened by the percentage of the amount for which you are responsible.
If a ticket was issued at the accident scene, it could be damaging, but it doesn’t necessarily defeat the case. Whatever the police might say is hearsay. There are alternative ways of establishing who is at fault, other than through the accident report.
It’s always good to get pictures of the damage caused to both vehicles. Also, get pictures of the site of the accident. Having visuals of the site can help to get a feel of how the accident occurred. If you are too injured to take your own photos, but the other driver took pictures, they can always be obtained in discovery by a competent attorney.
Possible Financial Recovery
You can discuss with an attorney what claims can arise from your accident. Depending on whether you had a collision or not, you may be able to just recover the damage to the vehicle through insurance. If that is not available, it depends on the extent of the damage as to what you can claim.
The recoverable injuries are:
- pain and suffering (both past and future),
- lost income,
- the loss of consortium, and
- unreimbursed medical expenses.
Loss of consortium means, if you have a relationship with somebody and that relationship is unable to continue for a certain period of time, that person can be compensated for that loss.
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