Follow these steps to protect yourself from further harm after an accident:
- Get yourself to a safe place. Roadways are not a place to stand or linger, so pull your car off of the roadway, if possible. If not, place your emergency flashing lights on, and either remain inside your vehicle, or exit your vehicle to the side of the road.
- Call the police. In any situation involving an accident, you need to have a trained police officer assess the situation. Filing a police report with your account of what happened in the accident is vital in determining who will be held responsible for the crash.
- Get medical attention as soon as you can. Car accidents often involve violent collisions that contort the body and can cause a variety of injuries. Often, hidden injuries resulting from car accidents catch victims off-guard in the days following an accident. It is important that you seek precautionary medical attention as the effects of hidden injuries such as whiplash, TMJ, and traumatic brain injury can be devastating.
- Call an experienced personal injury attorney to advise you in protecting your rights. Bragoli & Associates will advise you of these, and other steps, you should take after an accident, when you call us for help. Our office number is 631-423-7755
Yes! Pictures of the damage to your vehicle can be very useful in putting pressure on insurance companies that refuse to acknowledge your injuries. Your attorney will be able to use them to show the severity of the accident and demonstrate the seriousness of your injuries. Pictures can sometimes be the difference in obtaining a reasonable settlement and being forced to carry a case through litigation. Try to get at least a few pictures of each side of your vehicle. A good way to do this is to walk around your car with a camera or camera-phone and snap pictures as you go. Please remember, while pictures are important, safety is a much bigger priority after your accident.
There are a number of things that you should avoid doing after an auto accident. Some of the most important things to remember are:
- Do not forget to call the police. Drivers involved in a car accident sometimes forego getting the police involved by just exchanging information. This can cause serious problems for any future claims you have against the negligent driver. The other driver could lie about his or her identity or insurance coverage, leaving you without any means of recovery or you could accidently lose or misplace the contact information. If you choose not to call the police, you will not have an official accident report to back up your account of what happened. A police report will benefit you as the victim of the accident, because it will support your story against the possibility of false representations by the other driver. So remember, after an accident call 911 first, then contact an experienced New York Personal Injury attorney.
- Avoid recorded statements. We urge that you avoid giving any recorded statements to insurance companies. It is important that you remember that there is a conflict between your interests and the interests of the insurance carrier. As an accident victim, your interest is in recovering for the loss that you have suffered to avoid large out-of-pocket expenses from the accident. The insurance company’s only interest is paying as little as possible on your claim. It is very rare that one of these recordings will benefit the individual. We at Bragoli & Associates, recommend that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney for advice on your case before giving any official statements to the insurance companies.
- Do not wait too long before seeking recovery on your claim. In New York, there is a set period of time for accident victims to sue for personal injuries. In most cases, personal injury actions must be brought within three years of the accident which caused the harm. This means that waiting more than three years after your accident to attempt to file a claim will bar your recovery completely. Even more stringent is New York’s statute of limitations governing wrongful death cases, which must be brought within two years of the death. It is very important that you protect yourself from these strict time limits by getting quick medical attention after your accident and contacting a New York Personal Injury Lawyer as soon as you can.
In New York, insurance companies offer what is known as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage provides protection for personal injuries that are caused by the negligence of a person with insufficient insurance to cover the costs. In order to be protected by this type of insurance, you have to carry it on your own policy. In situations where a negligent driver is uninsured, your uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage will provide compensation for damages you incur. These claims often operate in exactly the same way as a normal personal injury case, with the difference being that you are recovering from your own insurance carrier. It is very important to remember that in these situations, the representatives from your insurance company are not out for your best interest. Just like every insurance adjuster, they will be looking to minimize the insurance company’s loss. Contacting an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you for an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim is the best way to ensure that you are protected and properly compensated for your injuries.
In the case of a hit-and-run accident, where the negligent driver is never identified, an injured person can often recover under New York’s underinsured/uninsured motorist policies. (see above for more specifics)
Personal Injury cases are subject to a statute of limitation, which limits the amount of time a person can wait before initiating a lawsuit. Different types of cases have different time limitations. In claims for personal injury, the statute of limitation is three years for claims against the (third party) at-fault person and six years on an uninsured/underinsured claim against your own insurance carrier.
The simple answer to this question is, yes. New York subscribes to what is called a pure comparative negligence system in dealing with tort claims. This means that if you were partially at fault for an accident, you are still entitled to recover the damages that are attributed to the negligence of others. Determining how much fault will be attributed to each party is very difficult and will be left up to a jury if your case goes to trial. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to advise you on whether or not your claim is likely to succeed.
Personal injury claims are often long and complicated and insurance companies employ an army of adjusters and lawyers to protect their interests from prospective plaintiffs. If you are involved in an accident that is caused by the negligence of another person, that person’s insurance company will assign an adjuster, and very likely a lawyer, to handle your claim and defend the case. This means that you, as an individual, must deal with two professionals who are trained to make your claim go away for as little money as possible. Contacting an experienced personal injury attorney levels that playing field. The lawyers at the Bragoli & Associates, will represent you with the utmost tenacity. We will do everything necessary to ensure that your rights are protected and that you are not left holding the bag after an accident that you were not responsible for.
Not necessarily. In fact, a large number of cases resolve without the need for filing a lawsuit. However, even if we move forward and litigate your case, there is a strong possibility we can resolve the claim at, or before, trial. Thus, only a small percentage of cases ever see a courtroom.
This is one of the most difficult questions regularly asked by clients. Your case may go through several different phases before it is resolved. Immediately after the accident, you will have to seek medical attention for your resulting injuries. You may have to treat with several doctors, receive medical testing, and go through treatment procedures to determine the type and severity of your injuries. Once your injury has been identified and treatment has been completed, your attorney will attempt to negotiate a settlement on your behalf with the insurance carrier of the negligent party. If a settlement cannot be agreed to within a reasonable amount of time, your attorney should next file a law suit on your behalf. The New York rules of civil procedure govern the amount of time that it takes to fully litigate and try a personal injury case in civil court. This time can be lengthy based on factors such as the jurisdiction, the caseload of the judge, and complexity of the cause of action.
One of our goals at the Bragoli & Associates, is to ensure that we handle your claim in the most time-efficient way possible. We will attempt to move your case through pre-suit negotiations as quickly and effectively as possible. Most cases will move through this phase within four to six months. However, we will never ignore the best financial interests of our clients just to see that a case is resolved sooner. Our number one goal is to represent our clients in the most honest and effective way possible, This is our job and we take it very seriously.