If you’ve been hurt in a car accident in New York, securing legal representation is among the wisest moves to protect yourself and increase your odds of recovering maximum compensation. While your lawyer will take on the brunt of the legal legwork to resolve your claim, there are practical steps you can take to help your attorney build a solid claim.
What can you do to help your lawyer pursue your claim? Below, you’ll find some practical steps you can take to ensure your attorney has the information they need to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Steps to Take Following a Car Accident in New York
Seeking compensation after a car accident begins in its immediate aftermath. Taking as many of these steps as possible will make it easier for your lawyer to pursue your claim:
- Contact law enforcement – Contact the police so an officer is dispatched to the scene. Not only will they control traffic and summon paramedics as necessary, but they will complete an accident report of the incident. The information contained in a police report can help your attorney build a compelling claim.
- Seek medical attention – Get checked out by a doctor, even if emergency responders already treated you or you otherwise feel fine. Not only does this protect your health and safety, but your medical records are also vital to your attorney. They can help them establish the extent of your injuries and medical expenses.
- Document the scene – Documenting the scene means taking photographs and videos of the area where the accident occurred, the damage to your vehicle or bike, and your injuries. You can also help your attorney by collecting the contact information of any witnesses.
- Keep notes – Memories can fade and even change over time. Write down your memories of the incident as soon as possible while they are still fresh in your head. Include everything you can remember about the accident, even minor details. Things that might seem of little consequence to you could be valuable to a trained personal injury lawyer.
- Keep a paper trail – Estimating the value of your claim is easier when you keep detailed records of your medical expenses and other bills. Always keep repair receipts, medical bills, and records of out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident. Your lawyer will also need tax documents and pay stubs to help them calculate the value of any wages you’ve lost while being unable to work. Having these documents ready for your attorney makes it easier for them to estimate your financial losses and allows them to fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.
- Follow all medical advice – Seeking medical attention immediately after an accident isn’t always enough. Your medical records need to show you kept follow-up appointments, took medication as prescribed, and stuck to your doctor’s treatment plan. Failing to follow medical advice can demonstrate to an insurance adjuster that your injuries were not serious or that you made them worse by foregoing treatment, giving them a reason to diminish the value of your claim.
Things that Can Make It Harder for Your Attorney to Pursue Maximum Compensation
Just as important as the things you do after an accident are the things you don’t. Here are some common mistakes that could jeopardize your case and cost you money:
- Giving an official statement to an insurer – Allow your attorney to manage communication between you and the insurer. Never give an official or recorded statement to an insurance adjuster. Insurance adjusters do not work for you and are not looking out for your best interests. If you give conflicting statements, omit details, or forget key facts, you might give an adjuster the ammunition they need to minimize your payout or deny your claim altogether.
- Accepting a settlement offer without an attorney – Never accept money from an insurer without discussing the settlement agreement with an experienced New York accident attorney. An initial offer is made in hopes you’ll be desperate for a quick solution. Initial offers are generally pennies on the dollar – far less than what you deserve. And once you sign the settlement offer, you’ve agreed to waive your right to a lawsuit. In other words, there’s no going back for more when you find out that the settlement wasn’t nearly as generous as it seemed.
- Posting to social media – Do yourself and your attorney a favor and stay offline after an accident. Insurer adjusters and opposing attorneys will likely monitor your accounts for anything they can use against you. They might twist your words or take photos out of context to argue that you’re not really hurt or that you’re somehow to blame for the accident. Do not post on social media platforms until your attorney resolves your claim. Posting online can make your attorney’s job more complicated.
- Not fully cooperating with your attorney – An attorney works for you. They’re your advocate. However, an attorney cannot create a compelling compensation claim without your help and cooperation. Never attempt to hide or conceal information from your attorney. Be honest and straightforward about the cause of the accident and the extent of your injuries. It is harder for an attorney to build a claim based on fabrications or half-truths that make you look good than it is to build a case on the facts – even if the facts aren’t 100 percent flattering.
Let an Experienced New York Accident Attorney Help You Today
Hurt in a car accident in New York? Struggling to get the money you need to rebuild your life? You don’t have to go head-to-head with an insurer alone. An experienced New York personal injury attorney can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. The personal injury team with Finz & Finz, P.C. has won over $1 billion in settlements and verdicts for our clients. Let us review your claim and outline your options for pursuing meaningful compensation.
Contact our New York office today to request a free legal consultation with a car accident lawyer in New York.