New York Personal Injury Attorneys
What to Do if You Are Involved in an Automotive Accident in New York City
The streets of New York City are teeming with pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists—all attempting to quickly arrive at their destination. Unfortunately, this leads to countless accidents each year. How one reacts in both the moments immediately after the accident and in the weeks that follow can have a dramatic effect on your rights and a possible case. The rights that can be impacted range from getting your medical bills and lost wages covered to achieving the full potential of your recovery.
Here, the New York City car accident attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo P.C. discuss the important steps to take after an automotive accident in New York City to keep you safe and well-prepared for any potential lawsuit that may arise.
Stay at the Scene of the Accident and Collect Appropriate Information
In the aftermath of an accident, one may feel flustered or nervous. Perhaps your instinct is to just get out of there, once you have made sure all parties appear unharmed. This would be a mistake. Aside from any criminal issues associated with leaving the scene, if you leave the scene of the accident, without getting the other driver’s license, registration, and insurance information, you risk being unable to track down that driver in the future. It is far too common that someone has no idea the extent of his/her injuries in the moments after impact. Adrenaline is flowing and there is a sense of relief that someone wasn’t more seriously injured, so there is no time to assess your injuries. Assuming you are fine or will be fine is short-sighted.
In the event of a car accident, obtain as much information from other driver, take pictures of the scene and vehicles, using your phone, or have someone do so for you. Pictures can be important to show the point of impact, the extent of the damage, and the force of impact. Often, these pictures prove critical to corroborate your account of the accident in the future. Additionally, if there are any witnesses on the scene, take as much information about them as possible, but their name and number would be critical.
Notify the Police, Who Can Assess the Situation
It is important, and in some cases mandatory, to notify the police in the event of a car accident. Police officers will arrive at the scene, gather information, and memorialize the damage and nature of the accident in the police report. Interestingly, police officers often interview the involved parties, as well. This can be fruitful in the future to the extent that, before the parties have an opportunity to hire attorneys, the person who caused the accident may be forthcoming about their fault. In accidents that are clearly more serious, the police may do some investigation, including attempting to gather witness information and search for cameras that recorded the accident.
Obtain Medical Treatment, if Necessary
Regardless of whether or not you intend to bring a case, seeking timely medical treatment for your injuries is important. Certain injuries can get worse if not treated immediately—particularly, those involving the neck and back. Additionally, it could very well be the case that after the accident, one believes that the pain will just go away and hope for the best. That individual may have immediate pain and injury, but delays treatment in hoping it will resolve.
Despite the pain being immediate or in the short duration of the accident, a delay of medical treatment might mislead someone to believe later that the injury was not related to the accident. It would be unfortunate for an implication to be drawn by a failure to immediately seek medical treatment where it was truly because one just hoped the issues would resolve. Documenting your pain and injury in short order after the accident will serve to further corroborate that the injuries you suffered related to this trauma.
Request a Consultation with a New York Car Accident Lawyer
In addition to the basics of what to do after an accident, there are legal ramifications with timelines that make it wise to reach out to a lawyer immediately. For instance, in New York, you have thirty days to file for no-fault coverage. No-fault coverage will pay at least the first $50,000 in medical bills and lost earnings that come as a result of the accident. Additionally, the days and weeks following an accident are the ideal time to do an investigation. Witnesses can be lost, videos can be deleted, and scenes of an accident can change. Thus, it is prudent to speak with an attorney who can conduct a thorough investigation of the cause and circumstances of the accident and preserve all available evidence. Finally, some accidents involve municipal entities (such as buses) that require a claim against the city or another municipal entity. In the event there is a possible municipal defendant, there are quick deadlines that may need to be satisfied, including filing a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the accident. These deadlines are crucial to know, understand, and observe.
Injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident can have catastrophic and life-changing effects on one’s life. It is imperative that, if you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of a car accident, you follow these general rules and ultimately call an attorney to help guide you through the process. If you have been involved or injured in a car accident, the New York City car accident attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo P.C. can ensure that you do not have to weather that storm alone. The firm’s skilled team of attorneys can provide you with guidance into your legal options and help you through the process of filing a claim. Contact our New York offices today.