Car accident

Things to Consider Following a Car Accident

Things to Consider Following a Car Accident

A car accident can be a life-changing event, impacting a person’s physical and mental well-being, limiting mobility, leading to costly medical bills, and creating a sense of uncertainty surrounding the future.

When a motor collision occurs, it is common to be overwhelmed by what has happened and the aftermath of having to go through the process of filing a claim with the insurance company. Becoming overwhelmed can cloud a person’s judgment and affect decision-making skills, so it’s vital to take a step back and process the event before determining the appropriate next steps.

Considering collisions have the potential to impact people, vehicles, and property, as well as implications under the law, individuals need to understand their rights and how to best navigate these types of legal situations. Contacting a Personal Injury Attorney, such as Michael B. Schulman & Associates, immediately following the initial accident will provide the individual with the necessary legal guidance and support to proceed.

Impact on the Human Body

In New York City alone, 8,620 motor vehicle accidents occurred in October of 2022, leading to 1,799 injured motorists and seven deaths, according to the New York City Police Department. That’s just one month in one city. And unfortunately, many of these accidents lead to long-term consequences.

The first and most important step following a car accident is to seek medical advice immediately. Even if an individual feels ‘fine’ afterward, it is always best to head to the emergency room for a complete physical to be safe. Often, internal injuries, damaged ligaments and tendons, and even broken bones are not immediately evident. Injuries can be apparent in some situations, requiring an ambulance to ensure immediate medical attention is received. Yet, even if they are not, the force and impact from an accident still warrants a visit to the ER.

A strike from behind can often lead to conditions like whiplash, which involves the rapid back-and-forth movement of the brain within the skull, often damaging the shoulder and neck muscles while increasing the risk of a concussion. Pain may not be felt until the following days, so getting checked out by a healthcare professional straightaway is often beneficial.

It’s Common to Experience Shock

During the initial few minutes after a car accident, people may experience shock. When experiencing shock, the victim may believe they feel okay, especially if they don’t see any signs of injury, such as blood or a broken bone. This could lead them to believe that nothing is wrong with their health, which may result in them delaying their visit to the doctor.

In reality, shock is the body’s response to a perceived trauma. To protect itself, the body will reroute its blood supply to the vital organs and pump itself full of adrenaline, which can cause temporary numbness. This numbness will suppress the pain that would otherwise be felt immediately after the trauma, allowing the body to perform the necessary actions to get to safety.

Despite the frequency at which car accidents occur, very few people, if any, are prepared when they find themselves involved in a collision, and their reaction to the situation is often unpredictable. This can make it even more challenging for some to identify if they are in shock, which is why it is always advised that anyone involved in a collision should seek medical assistance immediately. Because there is no way to know what’s occurred or the extent of the injuries until a person receives a proper medical evaluation.

Any Injury Has Potential for Lasting Consequences

One of the main reasons medical care post-accident is so strongly advised is that what seems like a minor car accident with minimal visible injuries and damages may be far worse than it seems, leading to long-term complications.

By leaving any injuries unassessed, the likelihood of developing long-term consequences, such as mobility issues or chronic pain, drastically increases. If any injuries are left undocumented, even if fault is proven, the victim will be unable to include them in the claim, which can lead to further consequences such as lost wages due to an inability to work. Even if a person believes they have what appear to be minor injuries, getting a physical assessment by a healthcare professional will help to minimize the risks.

Impact on the Vehicle

After all potential injuries have been accounted for and received the necessary treatment, it’s time to assess the damages to the vehicle.

In most cases, the vehicle will sustain some form of damage. These damages can range from paint chipping off the body to an unsalvageable wreck. And just like the human body, the vehicle may have sustained some internal damages that cannot be seen from a quick walk-around. For this reason, it is always a good idea to get the vehicle assessed by a professional mechanic – preferably one that is both trusted and familiar with it.

To ensure that no additional damage is done to the car, have it towed to a preferred mechanic so that it can be thoroughly inspected before being driven again. Typically, the vehicle owner will be given the choice of where they would like to get their vehicle looked at and repaired. From here, the mechanic will detail the damage done and provide a quote for the necessary repairs that should be included in the insurance claim and other relevant reports.

Depending on the damages, the repair process could take some time, so the driver should be prepared to find another means of transportation, such as temporarily using a rental car or taxi services. If the repair shop cannot complete repairs, or the required repairs cost much more than the vehicle is valued, the vehicle owner and mechanic may agree that the car should be totaled.

The Law – Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney

Obtaining legal advice following a car accident is a beneficial way for victims to protect their rights and minimize complications throughout the legal process. Consulting with a personal injury attorney offers several advantages, including providing clients with legal guidance, support, and expertise on the client’s rights and next steps. This may include the attorney assisting their client in determining how much compensation is owed if the fault falls on the other driver.

Personal injury attorneys have their clients’ best interests in mind, so they will work closely with their clients to guide and support them throughout the legal process. Consulting an attorney allows individuals to gain accurate, honest advice about their legal options. This will often include a breakdown of the information needed to define the best path forward, such as related injuries and property damage, the vehicle’s damages, and any other factors that will impact the claim. Using a personal injury attorney in these cases helps ensure that the client is adequately compensated when a settlement is reached.

Insurance – Who Pays?

The most common question asked after a car accident is: who is responsible for the financial losses incurred? Before accurately answering this question, the victim must first determine whether the collision occurred in an at-fault state or no-fault state.

In an at-fault state, the driver that caused the accident is responsible for covering the damages as well as the losses of those they injured. In a no-fault state, each driver’s insurance provider is responsible for covering the costs associated with any related medical expenses of the respective drivers. In addition, drivers still maintain liability for any property damage they cause to others, even in no-fault states.

New York is a no-fault state. New York law requires drivers to maintain PIP coverage, which is a specific type of insurance policy designed specifically to cover these forms of loss. This does not mean that the insurance company will have their client’s best interests at heart because, from their perspective, their job is to minimize costs and maximize revenues. For this reason, as well as many others, having an attorney to support the claims process is critical.

Determining Compensation Eligibility

To receive compensation for losses, including property damage and injuries, it is necessary to file a claim with the appropriate insurance company. However, this can be a complex process.

Documentation and evidence are critical components in the compensation process, so it is essential to thoroughly understand all losses associated with the incident. This is where a personal injury attorney can be of assistance. Attorneys will offer guidance on the breakdown of the costs and damages, who is liable, and if additional variables affect the compensation, such as pain and suffering claims.

The attorney works closely with the victim and the insurance company to pursue fair compensation based on the evidence of loss and case law. Beyond any doubt, the attorney will minimize risk to the victim by handling all necessary communication with the various parties involved, alleviating the risk of the victim making statements to the insurance company that could be misleading or misconstrued, leading to additional loss or limitations on claims.

Know Your Rights

If you have recently been in a collision, we advise contacting a personal injury attorney in your area. This will ensure you have the full insight and information needed to receive full compensation for your losses – because even those involved in the most straightforward and minor car accidents can benefit from a consultation with an attorney.

Contact Michael B. Schulman & Associates to discuss your case with a trusted and highly experienced attorney. Get in touch today to book your free consultation.

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