A car crash scene is always jarring and confusing. If you suffer an injury in a car crash, it is important to know what to say and do after the incident to protect a compensation claim you may have against other parties to the accident.
Car crashes are unexpected and frightening. You could be hurt. If you are capable after a car crash, there are steps you can take to protect your rights to compensation—and ensure that you can defend yourself if the other driver blames you for their injury.
Some tips to protect your rights after an automobile accident
Consider these tips for protecting your rights after a car crash in the Bronx, or anywhere in New York:
- If injured, DO remain still: If you are seriously injured in a car crash, remain calm and still.Ask others to call 911 immediately. Accept medical attention from first responders and try to be clear about where and how you are hurt. Many types of injuries are not apparent during the shocking moments after a crash—but may cause symptoms later. DO get assessed by medical personnel on the scene and accept a ride to the hospital if suggested. DO NOT brush off medical personnel or witnesses by saying, “I am fine.”The fact is that you may not know for weeks whether you have a soft tissue or neurological injury.
- If able, DO help others: If you are mobile after a car crash, call 911 and help others who may be injured if you can. DO move out of traffic and encourage others to stand as far off the roadway as possible.
- DO record evidence at the crash scene: The pictures and information you record at a crash scene may provide crucial evidence for a compensation claim later. Use your Smartphone to take pictures of vehicles and license plates before they are moved. Take images of the traffic flow, road conditions, signage, skid marks, and debris around the crash site.All of this evidence will quickly disappear—so if you can record it with your phone, remember “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
- DO write down witness names: Along with exchanging insurance information with other parties to the crash, it is important to write down or record the names and contact information of people who saw the crash. While the confusion following a crash is a hard time to follow through on details, try to ask witnesses to write down a short summary of what they saw. Just like physical evidence, memory fades fast and speaking with witnesses sooner than later may preserve important details seen by other people. While you can provide your contact information to parties to the crash, DO NOT make statements about fault. DO NOT say that you did not see a car approaching, or stopped too quickly, or that you were at fault, even if you believe you are.
- DO keep all evidence from the scene of a car crash: After you have taken careful pictures of damaged vehicles, make sure you ask for and keep a copy of the police report.Keep items in your car that were destroyed or damaged, like laptops or anything else that displays the force of the crash within the car. Keep tow truck receipts, instructions or receipts given to you at the hospital, and all copies of medical records or instructions that you are provided by a physician.
- DO report the accident to your insurance company: Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to inform them of your accident. DO NOT give a statement to the insurance company for the party that you believe caused your crash without speaking with a qualified personal injury attorney first.
- DO NOT sign anything without getting legal advice: If you are offered a quick settlement, DO NOT agree or sign any documents. While you may appreciate getting the situation handled, insurance companies frequently try to settle injury claims for less than you could otherwise obtain if your injury was carefully documented and understood.
Staying calm and thinking about what to do next is difficult when you have been in a car crash. But it is important to gather evidence, get medical help, and make no statements about fault. If you are injured, these first steps, along with contacting a reputable personal injury attorney, will help you seek fair compensation for your injuries.
Experienced Bronx personal injury law firm helps you when you are injured in a car crash
The Law Offices of Evan W. Kohn has more than three decades of experience serving individuals and families who are injured in the Bronx. If you are injured, contact us or call 718-866-3914 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.