After a serious auto accident, it can be difficult to know where to turn for help. Knowing what to do — and perhaps more importantly, what not to do — after a car accident can help to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the full measure of compensation available for your claim.
At Orin J. Cohen Law, I represent victims who have been injured in auto accidents on Staten Island, in Brooklyn or in other parts of New York City. I work hard to ensure that my clients have the information they need to secure the best possible outcome in every case. Below is a brief summary of the things you should and should not do if you have been injured in a car accident.
Seek medical attention: If you have been injured, always put your own well-being first.
Exchange information with the other people involved in the accident: Especially in the event of a multicar crash, you can never be sure who actually caused the accident. Get as much information as you can.
Take photos of the accident scene: If you are able, take pictures of the collision and the surrounding area, including traffic signs, skid marks and anything else you feel might be relevant.
Cooperate with police: Provide an honest account of how the accident happened and answer their questions to the best of your ability.
Call your insurance company: Give them the best account you can of the accident while it is still fresh in your mind.
Get a copy of the police report: The police report often provides good insight into what the negligent party says about the cause of the accident and the accounts of other witnesses.
Get the contact information of witnesses at the scene: Some witnesses may have helpful information or photos that did not make it into the police report. It may be beneficial to speak with some of these people later in the process.
Hire an attorney: By hiring an attorney at the beginning of your case, you send a message that your claim should be taken seriously and that you will not settle for the insurance company’s first offer.
Say anything that could compromise your claim: Say as little as possible until the police get there. Don’t say anything that could be interpreted as an apology. If someone asks if you are OK, do not say you are “fine.” It may come back to haunt you.
Talk to anyone from the insurance company without first talking to a lawyer: Insurance company representatives are very good at twisting innocent remarks into an admission of liability. They are trained to get specific answers designed to hurt your claim.
Sign anything without having your attorney review it:Insurance company representatives may ask you to sign an “incident report” at the scene. Remember, these people are not your friends. Be leery about anything they ask you to sign.
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