Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do immediately after an accident?
Don’t panic. We’ll get you through this. If you are able to move your car, do so. Try to get as far to the side of the road as possible, and put your hazard lights on. If you are far out of the roadway, stay in your vehicle until emergency personnel arrive. If you cannot move your car, put your hazard lights on and move as far off of the road as you can.
Make sure that you call police, as well as EMS if needed. Law enforcement officers can investigate the scene and make a report of the accident, which is often essential evidence in your accident case. Having police document statements by the other drivers could be extremely important if they decide to change their stories later.
If you need medical attention, make sure that you do so as soon as practical. In fact, if you are seriously injured, call for an ambulance if one is not already on the way. Even if you feel fine after your accident, you should still see your doctor because there are some injuries that do not reveal themselves right away. Back, shoulder and neck injuries can show up much later, as can traumatic brain injuries. Failing to see a doctor after the accident can make it much more difficult to connect the accident to the crash.
You might hear from insurance companies immediately after the accident. Do not have any discussions with them until you have talked with an experienced attorney at Bragoli & Associates P.C.. We can help you take all the necessary steps after your accident to help you maximize your potential recovery.
What are the biggest mistakes that people make after an accident?
- Not calling police to the accident scene. Sometimes the accident seems so minor that you feel it isn’t necessary to do anything other than trade insurance info with the other driver. This is a huge problem because the other drivers might not be completely honest with you. Once they leave the scene, they’re gone forever, and you could be stuck footing the bill. If they lie to police, there are serious consequences.
- Talking to any insurance company – including your own. Insurance companies are in the business of protecting their bottom lines. If you give them any information at all, they can twist it to use against you. Whatever you say can come back to haunt you. You should contact one of the lawyers at Bragoli & Associates P.C., before you talk to any insurance company.
- Not filing a claim soon enough after the accident. There are two important reasons to file a claim quickly: First, you can connect the injuries you have to the accident, and second, there are strict time limits on bringing your claim. If you wait too long, you will be unable to bring a claim against the responsible parties.
What about the accident scene? Should I document it somehow?
If you are not injured and are able to remain at the scene of the accident, take as many photos as you can. Almost every cellphone has a camera, and cellphone photos can make all the difference if your case ends up going to trial. Everything you can do now will help in the long run. Document the conditions at the time of the crash, as well as the vehicles involved. Having this evidence can be extremely important to establish your version of events.
I was hit by an uninsured motorist. Am I out of luck?
Absolutely not, in most cases. Many people who have motor vehicle insurance have coverage that allows them to recover compensation from their own insurance companies if hit by an uninsured motorist. While this may seem like a much less adversarial case than going up against another outside party, know that your insurer isn’t necessarily going to be looking out for you here. They’re still concerned with limiting the amount of compensation they will have to pay to you. Do not talk to them until you have an experienced attorney on your side.
The driver who hit me fled the scene. Is there any way for me to recover compensation?
Yes. We can help you with this. We will sit down with you and review your situation to determine the next steps to take to help you deal with the aftermath of your accident.
When do I need to know if I want to sue the other party or parties in my crash?
The sooner you bring your suit the better, as it is easier to connect your damages and injuries to the accident sooner rather than later. Additionally, New York has strict laws in place regarding when personal injury lawsuits must be brought. We can explain all of your options to you when you call our firm.
The police report seems to blame all drivers involved for the crash. Can I recover any compensation for my injuries?
Most likely, but it might depend on the circumstances. Often, in matters like this, the insurance companies are much less likely to simply pay or settle a claim. The case might find its way into court, and here is where things can get challenging. Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side from the very beginning can help you determine the best action to take early on in the process to avoid situations where you are unable to recover any compensation.
Should I settle my case or take it to trial?
There’s no easy way to answer that without investigating your case. With that being said, most cases settle. We are able to get the insurance companies to see your side of the story, and make an offer that is reasonable and fair for your situation. However, if they are unwilling to come to the table and negotiate in good faith, we prepare for trial from day one. If they want to see us in court we welcome the opportunity to try your case, if that is in your best interests.
I am really struggling financially after my accident. How long before I see compensation from my case?
We understand that this can be a difficult time for you, especially if you are seriously injured. We are prepared to help you explore available options while your case is ongoing. The amount of time a case can take to get through the process will vary, which, is something that insurance companies will try to use to their advantage. If they know that you need the money, they might try to quickly settle a case for a small amount in the hopes you accept their offer before you know what your case is worth. Or, they could string you along for months trying to make you more desperate to accept whatever offer they make.
While it can be challenging to be patient in this situation, it is extremely important that you are well informed of your options before you decide your next steps. When our lawyers take on your case, we talk to you about the goals you have for your claim. We then pursue the most efficient resolution methods possible to get to a point where you are compensated fairly for your injuries and damages. We are not a law firm that drags things out needlessly. If an insurance company makes what we feel is a fair offer on your case, we tell you the pros and cons of accepting that offer, and do what you tell us to do.
I’ve been told I can handle my own accident case. Do I really need an attorney’s help?
We’ve talked to countless people who decided to take matters in to their own hands. They want to believe that the insurance companies are looking out for them and decide to settle before talking to a professional. Only later do they discover that there was much more compensation available to them. When they come to us to try to help them reopen their cases, we have to tell them that they are out of luck. Once a case has been settled there is very little we can do for someone.
It is absolutely essential that you get things right the first time. When you work us, we can give you honest answers about your case. We can explain what your claim might be worth, and what we can do to help you maximize the compensation available to you.