As one of New York City’s best personal injury law firms specializing in accident cases, Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier P.C. has a unique perspective on the actions that you should—and should not—take following an automobile collision. Unfortunately, we have seen just about every mistake that can be made by those involved in an accident; many times, those mistakes stand to cost the victims of someone else’s negligence thousands of dollars and extra pain and suffering.
Being involved in an accident is bad enough. As tough as they are, it is common for New York City residents to have injuries and experience stress after the crash. Having to deal with police and insurance companies is a legal and emotional minefield, and it adds another layer of complexity to what is already an unwelcome and trying situation.
Our experience as a top New York City personal injury firm given us the knowledge we need to help our clients recover the damages to which they are entitled. That experience has also empowered us to share our knowledge with others so that they don’t have to make the same mistakes as so many others. To help you before your accident happens, Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier has compiled a list of the things you definitely should NOT do following a vehicle accident.
Number One: DO NOT drive away or forget to call the police
You’ve just been in an accident. Your head is spinning, and you aren’t even sure whether or not you are hurt yet. The other driver does a cursory check to see if you are alive, then suggests that the damage isn’t that bad. They might even ask you to forgo police involvement. After all, his “brother” owns a shop and can fix your damaged car, free of charge.
Don’t fall for it! First of all, it is against the law in the State of New York to leave the scene of an accident or not report a collision to the police. If you do so, you can be fined or even arrested. Even if you aren’t charged with a crime, failing to call the police will mean you won’t have a police report. That will make dealing with your insurance company more difficult down the road.
Number Two: DO NOT admit guilt or fault
When the police do arrive, stick to the facts. Keep the talking to a minimum. The police are there to investigate the accident and to facilitate the exchange of insurance information. It is not a court proceeding. Give a simple, factual statement about what happened and leave the editorializing for your attorney.
It is imperative that you not engage the other driver in conversation. That is why you call the police. If you use a phrase such as “I’m sorry,” that can be used against you later when you seek to claim damages.
Number Three: DO NOT put off getting medical treatment
Being involved in a traffic accident in New York City is a stressful experience, and your adrenaline is bound to be pumping. That excitement following a wreck can mask the symptoms of a severe injury. Even if you feel fine, you should still get checked by a medical professional. Do not let fears about the cost of a doctor or emergency room visit scare you away; since New York is a no-fault state, it is very likely that your auto insurance policy will cover your medical care following an accident. The longer you wait after a crash to disclose an injury, the more difficulty you will have in proving that you are owed compensation for your care, pain, and suffering.
Number Four: DO NOT forget to take pictures
We all carry around mobile electronic devices these days; you could very well be reading this article on one right now. Not only can we use our mobile phones and tablets to access the internet and make phone calls, but we can use them as powerful evidence gathering devices as well. Your insurance company may appreciate the pictures, and photographs taken at the scene of the accident could well mean the difference between proving you are owed compensation and going home with less money than you expected. As a New York City personal injury law firm, Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier P.C. finds pictures of the accident scene to be compelling and useful evidence in pursuing your case.
Number Five: DO NOT delay in contacting your insurance company
Time is of the essence. Delaying talking to your insurance company only makes things difficult. Once you have made sure that you and everyone else in your vehicle (and others at the scene) are receiving care, your very next call should be to report the accident to your auto insurance carrier. Getting them in the loop early opens up options for services to you and ensures that your claim will be handled swiftly and with the minimum amount of friction.
Number Six: DO NOT talk to the other driver’s insurance company
Insurance companies are businesses. They do not always have your best interests at heart. If the other driver’s insurance company calls looking for a statement or offers a settlement, you should decline that conversation. Dealing with insurance companies is why you hire an experienced New York City personal injury attorney that specializes in accidents, like Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier P.C.
Number Seven: DO NOT go it alone. Get an experienced accident attorney working for you.
Insurance companies have lawyers, so why shouldn’t you? Once the dust has settled, you need to get in touch with an experienced New York City personal injury attorney to fight for your rights. A lawyer can help ensure that you get the settlement to which you are entitled.
Since New York is a no-fault state, there are many instances where the parties to an accident cannot sue each other in court. But, there are circumstances where bringing suit against the other side isn’t only allowed, but beneficial to protecting your future as well. It is especially important that you get a quality New York City personal injury attorney to represent you if:
· You have broken a bone
· You received a permanent injury that limits the use of a limb or organ (such as if you are paralyzed)
· Your injury significantly limits a body function or system (like a traumatic brain injury)
· You’ve been considerably disfigured
· You’ve been substantially disabled for at least 90 days
That is why you need the experience of Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier P.C. to help you determine the next steps you should take. When you’ve been injured in an accident, you don’t need to fight the insurance companies or navigate the courts alone. Since the early 2000s, we’ve been helping New York City’s injured get the justice they deserve. Call us at (212) 777-9400 or contact us on our website today.