Although you can’t plan when an accident will happen, knowing what to do after you are involved in an accident can mean the difference between a smooth recovery and a life change for the worse.
The Suffolk County car accident lawyers with Carner & DeVita want you to be aware of your rights after an auto accident. The proper legal strategy can put you in the best position possible to make a full medical and financial recovery.
If you were injured in a crash, call (631) 543-7070 or contact us online to speak with one of our skilled attorneys one-on-one.
What to do after a car accident
A car accident can be a jarring experience. You may be unaware of the extent of your injuries due to adrenaline release, triggered by your fight-or-flight response. It is important to slow down, breathe deep, and take it one step at a time.
1. Call 911
As soon as the accident occurs, call and report the accident to the police so they can respond with emergency services. The quicker the police arrive on the scene, the more accurate they can be in determining what happened and who is at fault. In addition to contacting local police, if the accident caused $1,000 or more in damages, you must report the accident to the DMV within 10 days.
2. Check for injuries
After calling the police, check yourself and the other driver/s for any serious injuries. Do not move someone who seems to have severe injuries, but direct first responders to the injured parties as soon as they arrive on the scene.
3. Get to a safer location
Be aware of your surroundings. If possible, move to the shoulder of the road or a nearby parking lot to wait for the police. If the accident is severe and you are unable to move, stay put so first responders can take action with a clear picture of what occurred.
4. Collect evidence
Safely, take pictures of the damage to your car, your injuries, and the other person’s plates as well as any damage to their vehicle. Make sure you are also taking a record of anything else that may have contributed to the accident (broken traffic light, missing or damaged signage, road conditions, etc.) If there are any witnesses, be sure to collect their names and numbers if they are willing to share them.
5. Exchange information
You and the other driver should exchange insurance information. Your insurance companies will need to communicate with one another following the accident.
6. Seek medical attention
Your body may feel fine at first, however the next day may leave you feeling your injuries with more intensity. This could be due to shock triggered by the initial trauma. Make sure your head, back, neck, and spine are all checked for damage, and tell your doctor if there are any other areas you are experiencing pain as well as any other symptoms you are having. This includes trouble breathing, limited body movement, and more. Nothing should be left out.
7. Call a Suffolk County car accident attorney
After a car accident, you should contact a trusted car crash attorney as soon as you can. Your Suffolk County car accident lawyer can start collecting evidence, requesting proper documents, and communicating with the other driver’s car accident adjuster. We won’t let them deny or diminish your claim.
You pay nothing unless we win and we mean that. You came to us because you were injured by a negligent driver. We will make sure they pay for your damages, tangible and intangible, and that they cover your court fees as well.
Sometimes a trial is the only way to obtain the compensation that you deserve. If your case does go to trial, we will vigorously act on your behalf. Contact us online or give us a call at (631) 543-7070 for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your rights. Our team of Suffolk County personal injury lawyers are standing by to help you.
Make sure you file a claim in time
In New York, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim for damages. This deadline is known as a “statute of limitations,” and it’s very important that you follow this deadline in order to receive fair and prompt compensation. If you do not file in time, you could lose your right to compensation.
Damages you may be able to claim
You may be able to recover two main types of damages for your accident: economic and non-economic damages.
If you have received a bill, receipt, or lost money due to a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you’re legally allowed to pursue financial compensation for those economic damages. Essentially, anything you have to pay for after and because of an accident can be considered economic damage. That includes:
- Ambulance fees
- Emergency room expenses
- Physical therapy
- Pharmacy and prescription costs
- Cognitive therapy and counseling services
- Follow-up treatments
- Potential or lingering injury costs
- Property damage
- Car mechanic fees
- Rental car fees
- Personal property lost in the accident
- Income loss
- Lost wages from missing work due to the accident
- Loss earning capacity
- Loss of potential income.
Mental and physical issues that arise and linger after a car accident are called non-economic damages. These are harder to calculate, but that doesn’t make them any less of an option. Non-economic damages include:
- Mental hardships and trauma – This can include mental suffering, emotional distress, depression, anxiety, and grief.
- Physical pain and reparations – This includes pain felt, disfigurement, scarring, physical impairment, and more.
- Unexpected losses – These damages include the loss of a loved one or a permanent change in lifestyle due to the accident. Loss of consortium, loss of companionship, loss of quality of life or enjoyment of life.
- Social disparities or social standing – Dealing with apprehension, embarrassment, humiliation, and indignity due to your accident.
Maximum compensation for your car accident injuries
It’s impossible to know exactly how much compensation you may be able to recover without knowing the unique circumstances of your case. The amount of compensation you may be entitled to depend on several factors, including:
- Severity of the accident
- Types of injuries that you suffered
- Injuries requiring long-term care
- How your life has been affected by the accident
- Cause of the crash
The answers to these questions will help shape your lawsuit and guide your attorney to an agreeable amount that covers all of your tangible and intangible losses.
We’ll help you deal with insurance the smart way
Insurance will try to pay out as small of a settlement as possible. They may also make misleading statements concerning your rights and the best course of action for you to take.
When an insurance company’s offer is far too low to cover both tangible and intangible damages and they refuse to fairly compensate the injured, that leaves going to court as the final option.
By preparing the case for trial from the beginning, we’re steps ahead of the insurance company. We will gather evidence, records, reports, and more to protect your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for the injuries you’ve suffered.
Causes of car accidents
Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous aspects of driving on the road today. In 2016, there were more than 3,100 fatal accidents caused by distracted driving. New York has passed a hands-free law in an effort to prevent people from using their cell phones while driving.
However, cell phones are not the only distraction on the road today. Passengers, the radio, and even billboards can be a distraction to drivers.
Speed limits are posted to tell people what speed is safe when driving on a specific road. Unfortunately, they are not always followed. In 2018, 200 accidents involving speeding resulted in a fatality. Despite laws that can heavily punish speeding drivers, speeding remains a constant problem on the roads, and those who drive too fast can cause serious accidents.
Though distracted driving has become a serious problem, drunk driving is statistically much worse. In 2017, 30% of all fatal accidents in New York involved an alcohol-impaired driver. Of course, alcohol isn’t the only way a driver may be impaired. Illicit drugs may cause a driver’s senses to slow down and cause a collision.
Following too closely/tailgating
We have all been stuck behind drivers who insist on driving below the speed limit or otherwise too slowly for our taste. This can cause tailgating, or following a driver too closely. Tailgating is highly dangerous. If the driver in front suddenly brakes, you may have little to no time to react.
Illegal driving maneuvers
There are a variety of illegal driving maneuvers that can cause serious accidents. For instance, making an illegal U-turn or blowing a stop sign can put a car directly in the line of oncoming cars. Different illegal driving maneuvers carry different penalties, but for many, the convenience of making the maneuver outweighs the penalty or risk involved.
Driving when you are tired can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. Your senses are dulled, and your reaction time is much slower. However, many don’t consider drowsy driving all that dangerous. The truth is drowsy driving accounts for tens of thousands of car accidents a year.
Improper prescription or over-the-counter drug use
Just because a drug isn’t being used illegally, doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous for drivers. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs come with side effect warnings. Any drugs that warn against using heavy machinery, or say they can cause drowsiness, should never be taken before operating a vehicle.
Common car accident injuries
- Traumatic brain injury – An easily overlooked injury from a car accident is a traumatic brain injury. In some cases, it can take days or even weeks for traumatic brain injuries to have severe enough symptoms to be diagnosed.
- Neck/back injuries – Injuries that can quickly change your quality of life are neck and back injuries. It can sometimes feel like you have a “kink” in your neck or shoulders, a pulled muscle, or stiffness. These annoying early symptoms can become severe if not treated carefully.
- Broken bones/fractures – Broken bone and fractures are some of the most common injuries that come from serious car accidents. Depending on the type of fracture, healing time may be a few weeks to several months. Fractures also tend to be breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria.
- Whiplash – If your head was whipped forward and back in your car accident, you may be suffering from tenderness and stiffness in your neck and shoulders. This type of injury is referred to commonly as whiplash.
- Soft tissue damage – If you’re experiencing pain, tenderness, and limited mobility, you may have soft tissue damage from your accident. Ligaments and tendons are important as they keep our limbs moving.
- Internal damage – Any damage that happens internally is called internal damage. Most of the time, this results in internal bleeding, which can be hard to catch early. This is one of the reasons it’s so important to go to a doctor soon after your accident as internal injuries can be life-threatening. Chest injuries and seatbelt injuries are easy way to get internal damage in car accidents.
- Lacerations – Cuts, scrapes, and lacerations are common in severe accidents due to windows busting out and sharp metal compressing in on the accident victims. Lacerations are bad by themselves, but more dangerously can lead to amputation if infected.
Let an experienced Suffolk County car accident lawyer on our team help you
Your needs and the full enforcement of your rights are our #1 priority. After you receive your free consultation and decide to utilize our services, one of our experienced Suffolk County personal injury lawyers will meet with you to explain your rights and how to best protect your interests. We can come to you at home or in the hospital, if necessary.
Your attorney will aggressively negotiate with insurance companies and other parties to make sure that you are properly compensated for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost time from work, and other expenses associated with the accident. Sometimes a trial is the only way to obtain the compensation that you deserve. If your case does go to trial, we will vigorously act on your behalf. You can count on our considerable expertise.
Our team at Carner & DeVita is standing by to help you. Give us a call at (631) 543-7070 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your rights.
Suffolk County car accident questions and answers
When you are injured, your needs and the full enforcement of your rights are our #1 priority. After you receive your free consultation and decide to utilize our services, an experienced Suffolk County car accident lawyer will meet with you to explain your rights and how to best protect your interests. We can come to you at home or in the hospital, if necessary.
Your team of skilled attorneys will investigate the facts of your case and determine the strength of any claim that you may have. By speaking with witnesses and performing meticulous legal research, they will uncover the full facts of your case and build a strong claim for a settlement amount that accurately reflects your current and future damages.
Our firm will make sure that all legal papers are filed properly and on time. There are many different deadlines that you must meet when filing a claim. If you miss a deadline, you may be barred from filing a claim to collect money for your injuries. Your Suffolk county car accident lawyer will aggressively negotiate with insurance companies and others to make sure that you are properly compensated for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost time from work, and other expenses associated with the accident.
After your car accident, your lawyer will most likely try to prove the legal theory of negligence. In very few instances, your crash may have been caused by the intentional actions of someone else. But most likely, it will be caused by someone acting in a way that a reasonable person wouldn’t — which is the basis of negligence.
There are two types of insurance you will typically need to rely on after you have been injured or sustained significant personal property damage in a car accident:
1. No-fault insurance
Regardless of who is at fault in an auto accident, New York State insurance law provides that basic no-fault benefits will cover*:
- Reasonable and necessary medical and rehabilitation expenses;
- 80% of lost earnings with a maximum of $2,000 per month for 3 years;
- Up to $25.00 a day for one year for specific expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
*(up to your policy limit and subject to certain limitations and exclusions) New York State mandates that motorists carry a minimum of $25,000 in no-fault personal coverage. Individuals can also add a Supplemental Uninsured Motorist Coverage endorsement to this policy to protect themselves in the event that they’re injured by someone with no insurance coverage or an insufficient coverage limit. Since this type of coverage is for your direct benefit, all automobile owners should carefully review these provisions of their policy. We would be happy to explain and assist with a free consultation.
2. Liability insurance
Liability insurance claims are third-party claims available to those “seriously injured” in a car accident with another driver who is allegedly at fault for the incident. Unlike other states, New York requires claimants to meet the minimum standing for damages by having a “serious” injury. There are many different kinds of injuries that fall into the category of “serious injury,” so assessing whether a particular injury is “serious” is best left to review and consult with your Suffolk County car accident attorney. New York State mandates that all motorists carry minimum liability coverage of $50,000 for bodily injury to all persons and $10,000 for property damage, per accident.
After a collision, you may be asked to provide a written statement to the insurance company. Never do so without speaking to an attorney first! Just like on phone calls, the insurance company is looking for ways to reduce the amount they pay out to you. Your Suffolk County car accident lawyer can help you fill out insurance forms and provide statements as needed without hurting your case.
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Car accident FAQs
- Is my car accident claim worth seeking compensation?
- How do you prove emotional distress in a New York car accident case?
- How long will it take to receive my settlement after an initial offer from the insurance company?
- How can my attorney prove I was not at fault in a car accident?
- What should I do at the scene of a car accident?
- How long do I have to file a lawsuit after a car accident in New York?
- How much will it cost to hire a car accident lawyer?
- Can I claim mental health issues that arise from a car accident?
- Can I file a car accident lawsuit even if I was issued a ticket?
- How soon should I get a lawyer after a car wreck?
- Do you have to go to court for a car accident?
- How long does it take to receive a settlement from a car accident?
- If I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt in my auto accident, can I still recover damages?
- What if no motorist was issued a ticket?
- I lost a loved one in a car accident, can I sue for wrongful death?