When you’ve been in an accident, there are certain things that you can do in order to maximize your potential recovery under New York law. First and foremost, you should seek emergency medical treatment. This is important for your safety, and it’s important to prove that you suffered injuries in the crash. Once you’ve attended to immediate medical needs, you can set to work building your case:
It’s important to collect as much contact information as possible. This may be for other drivers involved or for witnesses on the scene. If another driver seems hostile, don’t approach them. In that case, you can ask law enforcement to gather the information for you. Your personal injury law firm can use this information to contact witnesses for statements and other evidence. If you have a phone or other camera with you, take pictures.
Report the accident to the police
The police are often the only professionals who get to look at the actual scene of the crash. They can look at skid marks, locations of vehicles and impact marks to determine what happened on the scene. The police report likely contains the law enforcement’s officer’s evaluation of the crash scene and information about witnesses that you may have missed.
Make a report to insurance
Even if you’ve been seriously hurt and you plan to pursue your case outside of New York’s no-fault insurance system, you should report the case to your insurance company. They should have a website or even a phone app to make this easy. If you hire an attorney as soon as possible, the attorney can help you work with the insurance company.
Continue to seek medical treatment
Part of bringing a claim for damages is proving your losses. This means proving the medical bills that you have now and the medical bills that you’ll likely have in the future. This makes it important to continue to pursue medical treatment. If your doctor makes recommendations for ongoing or follow up treatment, you should follow those recommendations carefully. If you have work restrictions, you need to follow those restrictions.
When you work with your personal injury law firm, they’ll likely have more specific instructions for you about your medical care. They may need to see the medical records of your injuries. You may need to give your attorney copies of the bills. Your attorney might ask you to see a doctor for an evaluation of your injuries and your prognosis for the future.
Find the right lawyer
You have a limited amount of time to pursue a case after you’re in an accident. In most cases, this limitation is three years, but it may be longer or shorter depending on the specific nature of your case. This is a strict limitation to bringing your case. That means, you need to find the right attorney quickly.
Your personal injury attorney is going to want to get to work on your case right away. They’ll want to interview witnesses while the case is still fresh on everyone’s mind. For your attorney to aggressively pursue your case, they’re going to prepare court filings, gather records and other evidence and even refer you to medical experts if it’s appropriate.
The sooner you get the right lawyer on board, the sooner they can begin fighting for you. At each step, their expertise can make sure that you complete the steps correctly in order to keep your case moving forward. They can make sure that your pleading documents comply with New York’s rules of procedure. They can make sure you gather the correct evidence for trial, and they can skillfully negotiate with the other party in order to try and resolve your case before trial. No matter where you’re at in the case, having your attorney on board can help you preserve your rights and maximize your recovery.