After a serious car accident, the emotional, physical, and financial toll can be overwhelming. You might find yourself wondering when you should call a lawyer, especially when the insurance company starts calling and asking for information about your claim.
It’s important to make sure you understand your legal rights and obligations under New York State law. Working with the Syracuse car accident lawyers at Catalano Law can help you protect your legal rights after a car accident. And calling us early gives us an earlier start on getting you the money you need.
The insurance company will have a team of investigators, adjusters, and lawyers so they can begin building their case against paying you immediately after the accident. Their goal is to offer you as little compensation as possible for your personal injury claim.
Because they are starting to build their case as soon as they are aware of the accident, you should also get in touch with a lawyer as soon as you can. With an experienced car accident lawyer by your side providing legal counsel and guidance, you have a far better chance of receiving the compensation you are entitled to for your injuries.
If you are involved in a car accident, there are specific steps you should follow to protect your rights. In order of priority:
Call the Police
Contact the authorities to report the accident and let them know if you or any passengers sustained injuries. The responding police officers will speak with all parties involved and record the weather conditions (if those impacted the crash), road conditions, and the date and time of the accident.
These details are noted in the police report that will ultimately help your lawyer get the full picture of your accident.
Gather Evidence from the Scene of the Accident
It is important to document and take pictures at the scene. You can take pictures of the point of impact on the vehicles, road damage, skid marks, and any debris from the accident scene, as well as of your injuries. Ask nearby witnesses for their contact information so you can collect witness testimonies.
These photos and witness testimonies serve as evidence for your personal injury claim. Also, ask each of the parties involved in your accident for their contact information and insurance information.
Get Medical Treatment Right Away
Emergency personnel or paramedics can provide medical attention in the case of injuries caused by the accident.
No matter how minor you think your injuries are, it’s a good idea to see a doctor and tell them how you were injured, in case you suffer from something less visible, like a concussion, soft tissue injuries, or internal injuries. Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding prescriptions, additional tests, and follow-up visits.
Any medical records, bills, and prescription costs you have from this treatment can be used to prove you suffered damages from your car accident and are owed compensation.
An attorney can assist you with your insurance and personal injury claim. You should speak with a car accident attorney before filing your claim, and definitely before accepting a settlement from the insurance company.
Provide your lawyer with all information you have already gathered about the accident, such as the police report, photographs, and contact information for the other parties involved.
Your attorney can examine your medical bills, records, and prescription costs to help determine how much your personal injury claim is likely worth.
If an insurance adjuster calls you to obtain more information about your claim, a skilled car accident lawyer can coach you on how to answer any questions so as not to damage your case inadvertently.
An auto accident attorney can also assist you with the insurance negotiation process and help you determine whether you should settle or take your claim to trial.
You must file a no-fault claim for insurance within 30 days of your car accident. The claims adjuster will launch an investigation and contact you if they need more information for your claim.
Almost all auto insurance policies require that accidents are reported to them for further investigation regardless of who is at fault.
New York State law allows you to file a lawsuit against the driver who hit you after an automobile accident within three years from the date of the accident. Some exceptions exist, such as:
- A Child Who Was Injured in a Car Accident: Exceptions to the statute of limitations apply in cases involving minors. The child has three years from the date of their 18th birthday to bring a claim against the driver who hit them.
- The Car Accident Involved a Municipal Vehicle: Your case will likely have a shorter statute of limitations if you are dealing with a municipal vehicle such as a town’s tow truck. You must submit a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the accident to make a claim against a municipality.
At Catalano Law, our knowledgeable Syracuse car accident lawyers will walk with you through every step of your case to ensure you receive a fair settlement.
Whether you are in Central New York or the Southern Tier, we have the answers to all your questions so that you understand your next steps and your legal options. Call to schedule a free consultation with one of our car accident attorneys today to get started on your case.