Do’s and Don’ts After a Car Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you are facing many stressful issues. Your injuries may be significant with immediate medical concerns and expenses. You may also be facing time out of work, which means lost wages and a large pile of bewildering paperwork.
You may have been told by your insurance company or others that you do not need an attorney. However, it is important to remember that your insurance agent works for the insurance company, and not for you. An insurance agent’s goal may be to have the insurance company pay as little as possible on your claim. Therefore, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible following your car crash. A lawyer with the right experience will advise you and your loved ones to decide on the right course of action and protect your rights.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to help you following a car accident:
DO contact your car insurance company following the accident and report the claim. Cooperate with your insurance company. Read all insurance documents carefully, and contact your attorney if you have any questions.
DO record the circumstances of the accident. Take pictures of the vehicles involved, as well as the accident site. Get someone to take high-quality photographs your injuries. Record the names and contact information of other drivers as well as any witnesses. Keep a written account of all conversations with insurance companies, agents and the police.
DO obtain a copy of the accident information exchange form from the police. It will make it easier to later obtain a copy of the full police report when it is ready.
DO check all filing deadlines. There is a limit to the amount of time you have to file some documents, so make sure time does not run out. For example, a New York State Report of Motor Vehicle Accident (Form MV-104) must be filed within 10 days from the date of certain accidents or the DMV may suspend your driver’s license until your report is received.
DO follow your doctor’s instructions, and keep all medical appointments or promptly reschedule them, if necessary.
DO be mindful of social media. Be aware that any content on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter may be used against you in a personal injury claim.
DON’T apologize or admit any liability for the car accident. If interviewed by police, stick to the facts as you recall them and try not to speculate or guess. A simple “I do not know” is an appropriate response if you are unsure of any specific details.
DON’T give a recorded statement to another person’s insurance company.
DON’T sign a HIPAA release allowing another person’s insurance company to obtain your medical records.
DON’T go to a medical exam with a doctor retained by an insurance without first consulting with your attorney.
DON’T accept a check for your personal injuries. Do not sign any release of liability for your personal injury claim or accept any settlement payment without first consulting with your attorney.
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a car accident, please contact us to learn more.
About the author: Peter J. Gregory is a partner with the firm. He is a trial lawyer with extensive experience resolving disputes in state and federal trial courts. His personal injury practice focusses on advising clients who have been injured or lost loved ones in accidents caused by the carelessness or recklessness of others. Please feel free to contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (585) 512-3506.
This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.
McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. is a full-service law firm based in Rochester, New York, providing high-quality legal services to businesses and individuals since 1979. With over a dozen attorneys and a full paralegal support staff, the firm is well-positioned to right-size services tailored to each client. We are large enough to provide expertise in a broad range of practice areas, yet small enough to devote prompt, personal attention to our clients.
We represent a diverse range of clients located throughout New York State and New England. They include individuals, numerous manufacturing and service industry businesses, local governments, and health care professionals, provider groups, facilities and associations. We also serve as local counsel to out-of-state clients and their attorneys who have litigation pending in Western New York courts. For more information, please contact us at 585.546.2500.