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How soon should I call a lawyer if I’m injured in a car accident?

One of the downsides of living in New York where so many people come to follow their careers and dreams is that our roads are particularly congested. The sheer number of vehicles, all in a hurry to get somewhere, means we are more likely to be involved in a car accident.

If you’re injured in an accident , should you call a lawyer and, if so, when?

At the scene of the accident

The scene of the accident is not the time to call. You should assess your injuries and the injuries of other victims. Someone might need urgent medical attention and an ambulance should be the first call, if necessary. Keep in mind that injuries from car accidents, even minor ones, may not be obvious for hours or even days.

If no one is hurt, but there is more than $1,000 in damage, you are required by law to report it to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days or risk losing your license.

Calling your insurance company

You should notify your insurance company if you have been in an accident. However, avoid talking about the specifics of your injuries or the details of the accident on the phone, particularly if you think you may have been partially at fault. That’s not their business and those comments might come back to haunt you later.

Strictly speaking, your insurance company is required to compensate you for medical expenses, damage to your car and any property damage. However, this conflicts with their ultimate goal of making a profit. Your insurance company will not hand out one dime more than is absolutely necessary. As a result, anything you say on the phone while providing information about the accident will be noted and can be used against you later.

You should call an attorney if…

  • You suffered serious injuries or if someone died
  • You’re not sure yet how serious your injuries are – symptoms may take days to appear
  • The other driver was obviously at fault
  • You think the other driver was at fault, but maybe you were a little at fault, too
  • You observed the other driver driving recklessly immediately before the accident
  • The other driver has injuries or might have injuries

A motor vehicle accident lawyer can help guide you through the process of reporting the collision without ruining your chances for a future personal injury claim. It doesn’t cost you anything to call and learn about your options.