As one of the most heavily populated cities across the United States, New York City is well known for having some of the most highly congested roads, especially during rush hour times. And unfortunately, one of worst byproducts of having such highly congested roads is the sheer number of traffic accidents each year. And with over 2 million people injured just last and nearly 150,000 people treated at local NYC emergency rooms, such accidents can lead to major bodily damage. While some of these accidents definitely fall into the no-fault category, more often then not such traffic injuries are a result of roadway negligence and an overall lack of observation. In such instances, in which individuals are injured as a result of a negligent party, victims can often qualify to file personal injury auto accident claims. And while auto accident claims are certainly on the rise across New York City, according to Levine &Wiss’ own, Joel Levine, Esq. considered to the be the top auto accident attorney Brooklyn has to offer, many individuals are still relatively uneducated on the proper steps to take when seeking justice for their injuries. And unfortunately, an auto accident claim in NYC is often one of the most crucial personal injury claims around – as there are a number of common mistakes that can lead to claims being thrown out and leaving victims without the compensatory damages they deserve. As the top auto accident attorney Brooklyn has in practice, Mr. Levine and his team have put together a few crucial steps to help victims properly file their claims and start them on the fast-track to the justice they deserve!
· Stop, Breath and Take Stock of Any Injuries – Call 911
When you’ve been involved in an auto accident, its vital to stop and breath, as many individuals can be confused, in a daze and often reacting off instinct and adrenaline. In some cases, some victims have even been known to get up and attempt to walk around their vehicles with debilitating injuries such as broken legs, or even severe brain trauma. The first thing you need to do is to get a gauge of yourself and any injuries you or your passengers might have, make sure everyone is okay, and survey the situation. Once you have done this, the best thing to do is to call 911, no matter if the accident is big or small, this is your best recourse especially if you are looking to file a personal injury claim NYC courts will certainly want to hear your side, and the side of the other party involved in the accident – however, having a the police there, acting as a 3rd party, filing a report that offers their (expert) understanding of what has occurred and being able to assign fault as a result can go a long way during the personal injury claim later on. When speaking to 911, give your location, a description of the scene, any injuries, and what you believe to have happened on the scene.
· Gather as Much Evidence as Possible – Photos, Statements, and More
Once you are able to safely exit the vehicle and have got your facilities about you – it is vital that you gather as much evidence as possible. Be sure to act quickly, as things can change, and in many instances an at-fault party may look to alter the scene in any way that can benefit themselves. Take photos of the accident scene immediately, outline their fault, and maybe even take a video with a voiceover of what exactly occurred to cause your damaged (physical, mental and in terms of your property). Gather information about the road conditions, all of the other drivers information (license, vehicle information, plates, make, model, vin number, contact information and names of anyone in each vehicle or those who were on the scene and can vouch for what occurred). One of the most crucial aspects that can help you during any of latter parts of your personal injury claim is taking witness statements, from individuals who might have been involved, as well as those who may have been on the scene, without having any direct involvement in what occurred.
· Police Interaction at the Scene
Calling the police is important in any auto accident claim in NYC, as it is part of the law – however, it is important to understand exactly how to handle your police interaction on the scene. As the top auto accident attorney Brooklyn has to offer, Mr. Levine recommends that clients be courteous to police officers on the scene, and as a victim, simply try to give them your statement of the accident, and how the other party’s negligence caused your injuries or the accident overall. At this point, it is important to be careful with what you say and be as general as possible. By law, you are obligated to follow their directions, but only have to answer questions in identifying yourself, including your full name and address, proof of registration, and proof of insurance. In the event they are questioning you about any possession of drugs, or for any other action which might result in criminal charges, you have the right not to answer those questions. However, while its important to answer only what you need to, there are some point where providing a general recap of the facts of the case, outlining the other party’s negligence are important – again, be general and if you feel at all confused as to what happened, it might be better to ask for medical attention. In the event you are being ticketed for any reason, you have the right to kindly attempt to dissuade the officer from taking such action, but once it is given, simply accept it, sign for it and you may try to fight it at a later time.
· Car Insurance, No-Fault Laws, and a Personal Injury Lawyer
An important thing to do is to contact your insurance company and report the accident – this will open an investigation and a claims adjuster will be in contact with you. Its important to understand that New York States relies on a no-fault car insurance system in which No-fault insurance is designed to cover medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and lost wages if you’re in an accident. This generally means that you do not have to sue the other party’s car insurance, however, in certain instances in which you are seeking other damages, such as for a serious injury or property damages, you have the option of filing a suit against the at-fault party or their insurance – this can be quite confusing for most individuals in NYS, and it is therefore in your best interests to contact a personal injury lawyer such as Mr. Levine and the team at Levine & Wiss PLLC.
While there are simply the initial steps to take, there are a number of other important things you must do in the event you are looking to file an auto accident claim in NYC – however, having an experienced, knowledgeable personal injury lawyer on your side such as Joel Levine, Esq. means you have someone who can guide you through each and every step of the way, and help you to get the financial compensation, and the justice you deserve. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, be sure to contact Levine & Wiss PLLC as soon as possible.