Car crashes are terrifying. They are loud, chaotic and can cause serious damage. Painful injuries can require extensive medical treatment and time to recover.
Medical treatment is costly, as is missing work for your recovery. There are steps to take after suffering an injury in a collision that will help to hold the negligent driver who caused the collision accountable for the damages you suffered.
1. Check for injuries and seek treatment
After a collision of any sort, the top priority should be to seek medical attention for injuries. The physical well-being of all parties involved comes first. Check yourself and any passengers for injuries. If the other driver is unable to call for help, you need to call 9-1-1 for them. Be aware that some injuries may not present symptoms immediately due to shock. As soon as you feel pain following a motor vehicle collision, whether it is hours later or the next day, see a doctor and follow the treatment plan provided.
2. Notify the police
In New York, it is not necessary to report minor car crashes to the police if there are no injuries and only property damage has occurred. However, a police report regarding the collision should include photographs, details about the scene, any traffic law violations and information from witnesses. All of the information gathered by police can be useful in any attempt to prove the negligence of the at-fault driver.
3. Report the crash to insurance
While your focus should be on your recovery in the immediate days after injuries from a crash, you should file a claim with your car insurance as soon as possible. Review your policy to verify how many days you need to file within. It is necessary to exchange insurance information with the other party following a collision. Be as polite as possible during this exchange, but do not apologize or admit fault. Apologies can suggest an admission or acceptance of fault and this can hinder any attempt at recovery. The fault in car crashes lies with the negligent driver so you should file a claim with their insurance too.
After an investigation, the insurance companies will contact you with settlement offers. Do not sign anything without careful consideration. Insurance companies are not looking out for you, they are looking for a way to settle the matter quickly and for as little money as possible. When you are the victim of a negligent driver, losses you may recover include vehicle repair, medical bills, future medical bills and lost wages.