It can be difficult to know what to do after a car accident that is not your fault. Measures you can take to protect your safety and your rights include:
- Going to a doctor or emergency room as soon as possible
- Getting the insurance and contact information of the at-fault driver
- Consulting our firm for more information on your rights and options
While it is common to feel scared and uncertain after such an accident, it is important to know what to do when someone hits your car and how to protect your rights, and to be aware of your legal obligation so that you can recover damages. Our car accident lawyers in New York can help.
Ensuring Your Safety and Protecting Your Rights
After an accident, it is vital to take steps aimed at protecting both you and your passengers from further harm. To ensure everyone’s safety, you can:
- Move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic
- Turn on your hazard lights
- Check for injuries (both your own and the 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. It is important that you wait for authorities and, if possible, begin to collect evidence.
Prompt Medical Care Saves Lives
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 hours or days 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
You can record your symptoms and pains, and give your doctor an honest assessment of your health situation. If the person at fault decides to fight your lawsuit in court, the medical records can support your case.
Photos and Videos of the Scene
Pictures and videos are an effective piece of information from the accident scene and are valuable for settlement negotiations. You can use them to prove who the liable party is and pursue them for fair compensation. If you have a smartphone or a camera, you can take photos and videos of:
- The damage to your vehicle
- The surrounding area
- The positions of the involved vehicles
- The license plates of the involved vehicles
If you are not able to take photographs yourself – for example, if you are too badly injured – we may still be able to find visual evidence by speaking with witnesses and finding out if surveillance cameras or traffic cameras caught your accident on tape.
Eyewitness Contact Details
Another good way to collect evidence is by getting the names and contact details of witnesses. With this information, our team can locate and obtain detailed evidence against the liable driver. These witnesses can speak to:
- How the accident happened and who was at fault
- Each participant’s actions immediately after the crash
- Whether anyone appeared to be injured
When speaking with witnesses, we will have to determine how reliable each person’s story is. In general, it is better to speak with witnesses as soon as possible after an accident. Otherwise, they may start to forget what they have seen or be influenced by other sources of information, thus affecting the credibility of your case’s evidence.
The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance and Contact Details
It is always a good idea to exchange information with the at-fault driver. This includes:
- License plate numbers
- Their insurance company’s contact information
- Official names
- Personal phone numbers and addresses
- Driver license numbers
- Insurance policy numbers
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. It is important that you be proactive about taking the necessary steps to recover compensation.
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Seeking Help From Our Law Firm
You might think that you need to call the insurance companies involved in the matter immediately, but it may be in your best interest to contact a car accident lawyer from our office first. This is because insurance companies do not always have your best interests at heart. For instance:
- Insurance companies may offer you a lower settlement amount, meaning that you will not receive full compensation for your damages.
- Anything you say during or after the accident could impact your ability to collect damages. Insurance companies may use your own words to imply that the accident was your fault, so avoid unnecessary words that might implicate you are at fault. This includes apologizing or telling the other driver that you should have seen them.
- Insurance companies may not be willing to negotiate a settlement unless they feel you have a very strong case against them.
Fortunately, you do not have to navigate the legal system on your own. Our team can guide you through the entire process by:
- Determining the liability of your case over the phone at no cost or obligation
- Evaluating your case’s worth and letting you know how much money you can seek from the liable party
- Collecting evidence that proves your injuries really happened and that the liable party is responsible for them
- Negotiating with the insurance company to persuade them to pay a fair settlement
- Providing aggressive courtroom representation if the insurance company does not offer an appropriate settlement
Getting Damages From the At-Fault Party
With our help, you may find it easier to seek damages for any or all of the following compensable injuries.
- Loss of wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Temporary or permanent disability
The evidence you collect in the accident’s immediate aftermath, when combined with the evidence we collect during our investigation, can help convince the insurance company that they cannot win in court and should therefore offer a pretrial settlement.
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, as outlined by the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
- $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.
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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 that is not your fault and then have to deal with the legal system on top of recovering from injuries. Morelli Law Firm can be there for you throughout the entire legal process and investigate your claim to ensure that you receive fair compensation. Contact our experienced car accident attorneys for more information on what to do after an accident.