It’s common to feel scared and shaken up after being in an accident. It’s important to know what to do when someone hits your car, how to protect your rights, and be aware of your legal obligation so you can recover from your damages.
After being in a car accident that was not your fault, you will need to take measures to protect your interests and seek fair compensation. By preparing for the worst, you’re ready to tackle it if it happens. An experienced car accident lawyer can help.
Ensure Your Safety
You should take steps to make sure you are safe as well as any passengers in your vehicle, even if the accident is not your fault. To ensure that everyone is safe, you will need to:
- Move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic
- Turn on your hazard lights
- Check for your injuries and injuries of passengers
- Compose yourself and the passengers before exiting the vehicle
- Call 911 if you, your passengers, or another driver is injured
If the other driver leaves the scene, do not leave. Wait for authorities, and begin to collect evidence.
Take Photos and Videos of Scene
Pictures and videos are an effective piece of information from the accident scene and are valuable for settlement negotiations. You are able to prove who the at-fault driver is and pursue them for fair compensation with this evidence. If you have a smartphone or a camera, you can take photos yourself or simply ask another individual to help.
Take several pictures and videos of the damage, the surrounding area, the positions of the involved vehicles, and their license plates. By taking photos of injuries immediately after the crash and several days after the appearance of the bruising, you can strengthen your evidence.
Get Eyewitness Contact Details
Other than ensuring you are safe and informing the police of the accident, it is vital that you get the names and contact details of witnesses. With this information, your lawyer can locate and obtain detailed evidence against the liable driver.
Keep in mind that the success of a court case after a car accident that’s not your fault will largely depend on the testimony of neutral witnesses.
In understanding the strength of your case, your attorney needs to gauge what the eyewitness recalls. Therefore, it is better if you can get the statement immediately for more precise proclamations. Other than forgetfulness, bias and compromise might enter the witness’s statement, thus affecting the credibility of your case’s evidence.
Get the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance and Contact Details
You might need to exchange information with the at-fault driver. The other drivers involved in the accident are also supposed to report the matter to their insurance companies, but do not expect that they will. You will need to take the necessary steps to recover compensation. There is crucial information to obtain from the other driver, such as:
- License plate numbers
- Their insurance company’s contact information
- Official names
- Personal phone numbers and addresses
- Driver license numbers
- Insurance policy numbers
Be mindful of the words you use while conversing with the other drivers as you obtain their contact and insurance information. Although the humane thing to do is to help other people during such emergencies, avoid unnecessary words that might implicate you are at fault. Avoid apologizing, telling them you should have seen them, or offering to pay their medical bills.
Seek Prompt Medical Care
Medical care is critical after a car accident that is not your fault, even if your injuries seem minor. The doctor might spot severe injuries that are not obvious to you. Additionally, some injuries might take several hours or a few days after the accident to become apparent. There are several common injuries you can sustain during a car accident, such as:
- Confusion and unconsciousness
- Tingling in legs and arms
- Head injuries and spinal cord damage
- Internal bleeding
- Neck and back injuries
- Broken bones and ribs
Record your symptoms and pains in your journal, and give your doctor an honest assessment of your health situation. If the person at fault decides to fight your claims in court, the medical records will support your case.
Seek a Lawyer’s Help
The settlement of accident claims involves a push and pull between the involved parties. You might think that you need to call the insurance companies involved in the matter immediately, but it’s in your best interest to contact a car accident lawyer first.
Insurance companies may offer you a lower settlement amount, meaning that you will not receive full compensation for your damages. Fortunately, you do not have to navigate the murky legal waters alone. Our lawyers are always ready to offer you legal assistance.
What Are the Insurance Requirements in New York?
The insurer of the person who caused the accident may be responsible for your damages. In New York, registered vehicles must be insured with the following minimum limits:
- $10,000 for property damage for a single accident
- $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for death for a person involved in an accident
- $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for death for two or more people in an accident
The state of New York does not accept out-of-state vehicle insurance coverage of any type. If your motor vehicle is registered in New York, it must have New York State auto liability insurance coverage.
Morelli Law Firm Can Help After a Car Accident That Is Not Your Fault
Nobody wants to go through the trauma of a car accident and take action on top of recovering from their injuries. The Morelli Law Firm can be there for you throughout the entire legal process and will investigate your claim to ensure that you receive fair compensation.
Our dedicated car accident lawyers are ready to step in and help fight against insurance companies and at-fault-drivers. Contact us today for your free case review.