Know what steps to take after a serious accident
Dealing with a car accident in Brooklyn can be overwhelming. Whether a speeding driver crashed into your car on I-278, a texting driver drove through a red light on Atlantic Avenue or a driver fell asleep at the wheel on I-478 and hit your car, accidents in Brooklyn often result in serious injuries that can have serious consequences. When these crashes happen, it’s critical that you take action right away. Otherwise, your legal rights and your health could be at risk.
An experienced Brooklyn car accident lawyer can help you with this complicated process. Below, you can learn more about what to do and how an attorney can help you.
Notify the police
If you have been in a serious accident in Brooklyn, call the police immediately. New York law requires drivers to report all car accidents that result in a serious injury or fatality. The investigating police officer or state trooper will fill out a New York Motor Vehicle Collision report for your accident. This report can often have a big impact on how much money you get for your accident.
Have a doctor examine you
Many car accident injuries might not be visible after an accident. You could have a concussion, another type of traumatic brain injury (TBI), or even organ damage that results in internal bleeding, which can be life-threatening if not treated immediately. Ask the police dispatcher to send an ambulance if you or anyone else appears injured. You may even need to be examined by an emergency room doctor at Kings County Hospital Center or another medical facility in Brooklyn. The bottom line is don’t take chances with your health. See a doctor right away.
Document your accident
Evidence helps build strong legal cases and car accident injury claims. This process starts right after your accident. If you can safely do so, take pictures of your accident. Make sure to get photos of your actual crash, any traffic signs near your accident, and debris on the road. Pay close attention to skid marks on the road as well. Are they any from either vehicle? Or are there no skid marks? Take pictures either way. If there are no skid marks from the other vehicle, the other driver probably never tried to slow down to avoid a collision.
Get statements from witnesses
Statements from someone who saw your accident can be powerful pieces of evidence in support of your accident claim. If someone saw your crash, make sure you get their name and the best phone number to reach them at. That way, investigators can talk to any eyewitnesses later about your accident.
Exchange information with the other driver
Get the other driver’s full name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, and insurance information. Give the same information to the other driver as well. If you do not feel safe talking to the other driver on your own, simply wait for the police to arrive. They can help you exchange such information with the other driver.
Don’t talk about your accident
Once you have exchanged information with the other driver, you should not talk with the other driver about your collision. The same goes for other passengers or bystanders who saw your accident. Anything you say – even something as minor as “I’m sorry” – might later be used to deny your injury claim. Insurance companies often do this, especially if an injury victim is eligible to receive thousands of dollars or significantly more. Don’t talk about your accident or post anything online about it. Insurance companies often check people’s social media posts for evidence they can use to deny accident claims.
Report your accident to your insurance company
In New York, you generally have 30 days to tell your insurance company you have been involved in a car accident. If you miss that deadline, you could miss out on your opportunity to obtain the money you deserve for your injury claim. However, it’s generally in your interest to notify your insurance company promptly.
Keep your comments brief when talking to your insurance company. New York has a “no-fault” car insurance system. That means your own insurance company may be responsible for paying for your accident. You would think they have your best interests at heart. But the reality is many insurance companies – even your own – will do everything they can to pay you as little as possible. That’s not right. But that’s how the system often works.
Don’t talk to the other driver’s insurance company
The other driver’s insurance company will contact you soon after your accident. Their questions might seem straightforward or innocent. Don’t answer them. They’re looking for any excuse they can use to reduce how much money you receive for your injury-related expenses.
This is because New York has what’s known as a “pure” comparative negligence system. Under this system, the amount of money you receive can be reduced if you are found to be partially at fault. The amount your settlement is reduced by is equal to the percentage you are at fault. For example, if your claim is worth $100,000 and you are found to be 25 percent at fault, you would only get $75,000 since you were 25 percent at fault.
Don’t give insurance companies any information they can use to pay you less. You don’t have to answer their questions. If they want more information, tell them to talk to your Brooklyn car accident lawyer.
Schedule a follow-up appointment with a doctor
Even if you have already been examined by an EMT or another medical professional immediately after your accident, schedule a follow-up appointment with a doctor. Many car accident injuries take time to develop, including whiplash and other painful neck and back injuries.
Make sure to follow the doctor’s instructions as well. If you don’t do so, two things might happen. One, you might not fully recover and be in pain for many months or even longer. Two, the insurance company responsible for compensating you might deny your claim. That’s because they might insist that you’re not really hurt since you didn’t follow your doctor’s instructions.
Contact an experienced Brooklyn car accident lawyer
There are so many legal issues that can come up after a serious car accident in Brooklyn. When you have an experienced Brooklyn car accident attorney, you can respond quickly and effectively to any issue or legal obstacle you encounter.
Your lawyer can help you understand the different legal options available to you. That way, you can make informed decisions about what to do next. Your attorney can then conduct an in-depth, independent investigation and demand the money you deserve for your injury-related expenses.
You only have one chance to obtain all the compensation you need for your past, present, and future expenses related to your accident. Make sure you make the most of your opportunity for justice. Contact a Brooklyn car accident lawyer who knows how to get results.
Your attorney can build a strong legal case in support of your injury claim and negotiate a settlement offer on your behalf. And if that approach doesn’t work, your lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf and fight for your rights in court in Kings County.