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What NOT To Do After A Car Accident

Car accidents often leave individuals feeling shaken and uncertain. In the chaotic moments that follow, it’s common to slip up. However, there are certain actions that could harm both your health and financial situation post-collision. This article aims to highlight these missteps to help you steer clear of them. Many people unintentionally harm their potential legal case through actions taken right after the crash.

By reading through this guide, you’ll gain clarity on these potential errors and learn how to sidestep them. Whenever in doubt, remember to seek legal advice to guarantee you’re on the right track.

What NOT To Do After A Car Accident

After a car or truck accident, leaving the site of the accident or negotiating without an accident lawyer can jeopardize your legal standing and potential compensation.

When involved in a car or truck accident, what you do or don’t do can significantly influence the trajectory of any subsequent legal proceedings. Firstly, never leave the site of an accident . A case typically involves disputing parties, and the decisions made by the accident victims are scrutinized once court action starts.

In situations where a resolution isn’t typically reached outside the court, it may escalate to a point where an accident jury decides the outcome. A misstep like admitting fault on-site or failing to gather evidence can lead to an unfavorable verdict.

Refusing to Hire an Injury Lawyer

It is never a good idea to file a personal injury lawsuit without using a reputable and experienced accident attorney.

It is also not in your best interests to assume a personal injury case would not apply to your current situation. Traffic accidents in the state of New York tend to be complex with multiple parties needing to get involved and a lot of legal hurdles to overcome.

  • The legal process is complicated. You should not try to navigate the legal system alone.
  • If another driver who was involved in the accident has an attorney and you do not, you would be in a vulnerable position. As one example, you could be held responsible for an accident that was not your fault.
  • The full extent of injuries is not always clear immediately after an accident. If the severity of your injuries is not known until a later date, you may not be able to take legal action and ask for compensation. Do not depend on the statute of limitations simply because you currently feel your injuries are minor.

In addition to car accidents, scenarios involving commercial vehicles often present even more intricacies due to federal regulations and larger insurance policies. The need for a skilled lawyer is even more pronounced in such situations.

Ignoring this crucial step can compromise your rights and hinder you from getting the fair compensation you deserve. Safeguard your personal interests by enlisting a legal professional who understands the nuances of various types of accidents and can robustly represent you.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident

Never leave the scene of a car accident.

If you know or believe the accident has caused property damage or physical injury, the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 600 (1) requires you to wait for the police to arrive. You are required to provide your name and address, driver’s license number, and proof of insurance to the police.

If you leave the scene without reporting the accident and providing this information, the fine can be up to $250. You may also spend time in jail. Even if the accident seems relatively minor, take a sensible approach and obey the law.

Moreover, your responsibilities go beyond legal mandates. Ensuring that all parties have access to medical help, and providing accurate information protects everyone’s rights and well-being. Accidents, no matter how small, can have long-term personal and medical implications that might not be immediately apparent.

Admitting Fault

If you feel you were responsible or partially responsible for the accident, do not admit this to anyone.

It can cause a wide range of complications if you make such statements to the other driver, witnesses, an insurance agent, or the police. Whether the accident occurred on I-87, the Henry Hudson Pkwy, in University Heights, or anywhere else in New York City, do not admit fault to anyone other than your car accident lawyer.

During the chaos of a car accident, emotions run high, and there is typically a rush to discuss specifics or make initial statements. However, even well-intended remarks can be misconstrued or manipulated to benefit insurance companies.

It’s crucial to first consult with a legal professional who is experienced with car-related incidents. While the other driver might appear sympathetic, it’s wiser to reserve in-depth discussions for your personal injury lawyer to safeguard your rights and best interests.

Forgetting to Call the Police

It is essential to call 911 even if the accident is relatively minor.

You will need to speak with a police officer so he or she can document the facts of the accident. You and others involved in the accident should have injuries checked by paramedics and be transported to an emergency room. Ignore anyone who tells you it is unnecessary to call 911.

Often, after a car acciden, drivers might perceive it as a trivial matter and underestimate the importance of official records. Yet, police documentation can be a game-changer, especially when establishing responsibility or addressing discrepancies in the drivers’ narratives.

Moreover, not all injuries showcase symptoms right away, making a post-accident medical examination imperative. Taking extra care initially can prevent unforeseen troubles down the line. It’s worth noting that avoiding certain steps can be as vital as the actions you take.

Forgetting to Document the Scene

After you call 911, take steps to document the scene of the accident.

Write down all the information that is relevant to the accident. This includes the contact information of everyone who was involved in the accident, the time and date, license plate numbers, and relevant road or weather conditions. Include a short statement to describe what occurred.

Use your camera phone to take photos of the accident scene and damages. Securing evidence at the scene is pivotal when dealing with insurance claims and potential lawsuits.

If you sustain an injury, it’s crucial to get a medical report, as this can play a significant role in a personal injury claim. An insurance company may look for any gaps or inconsistencies in your account of the event to lessen their responsibility or challenge fault.

Collaborating with a personal injury lawyer early ensures that all required information is collected correctly and can be vital when navigating the complexities of accidents and subsequent claims. Always prioritize your health and safety, but when possible, diligently document every detail.

Contact the Law Offices of Stuart Kerner, P.C. for a Free Consultation

The few steps above can help you avoid many unnecessary complications. However, you should still bring in legal representation you can count on. Understanding the intricacies of a car accident claim requires professional input. Call our law firm at 718-796-7900 for a free consultation. The Law Offices of Stuart M. Kerner, P.C. can protect your rights after your car accident. Having an experienced attorney by your side can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the first thing I should do after a car accident?

Ensure your safety and that of any passengers. If possible, move to a safe location off the road. Then, call 911 immediately. Once everyone is safe and help is on the way, start documenting the scene.

Is it necessary to report minor accidents to the police?

Yes. It’s essential to report all accidents, regardless of their severity, to establish an official record. This documentation can be crucial if injuries surface later or if there’s a dispute about the incident’s details.

Should I admit fault at the accident scene?

No. Even if you believe you were responsible, do not admit fault at the scene. Such admissions can be used against you later in insurance claims or legal proceedings. Discuss the incident details only with your attorney.

Is it okay to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company directly?

It’s recommended to consult with a car accident lawyer before engaging with an insurance company. They might offer a settlement lower than what you deserve, and once you accept it, you may not be able to pursue further compensation.

Can I leave the accident scene if no one is injured?

You should never leave the scene of an accident without ensuring everyone’s safety, exchanging required information, and notifying the police. Leaving prematurely can lead to legal consequences.

How soon should I consult a car accident lawyer after the incident?

As soon as possible. A lawyer can guide you on the necessary steps, help you understand your rights, and ensure you don’t make mistakes that might jeopardize your claim.

Do photos and videos of the accident scene help?

Absolutely. Visual documentation of the accident scene, vehicle damages, any visible injuries, and surrounding factors can provide compelling evidence when claiming insurance or in any legal proceedings.

What if I discover injuries days after the accident?

It’s not uncommon for certain injuries to manifest days or even weeks after an accident. Always consult a medical professional after an accident, even if you feel fine. Documenting any late-manifesting injuries and their relation to the accident is crucial.

Are truck accidents handled differently than car accidents?

Truck accidents can be more complicated due to factors like federal regulations, the involvement of trucking companies, and typically more significant damages or injuries. It’s vital to consult a lawyer experienced in truck accidents in such cases.

Can I claim compensation if I was partially at fault for the accident?

In many jurisdictions, the concept of “comparative negligence” applies. This means you might still be entitled to compensation, but it could be reduced based on your degree of fault. It’s essential to consult a lawyer for specifics related to your situation.

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