Car accidents occur every day in Westchester. The full effects of an accident on a person’s body are often not obvious at first. You may be injured and not even know it until the adrenaline wears off. Sometimes that dull ache from what seems like just a bump or bruise turns into sharp searing pain a few days later.
We do not want to be injured. We tell ourselves the pain will go away in a few days. However, it is extremely important that anyone hurt in a car accident receives proper medical care immediately. When a person declines medical care at the scene of an accident, that fact is recorded in the police report and often times it will be used against them by the insurance company later on. It is important that people understand their legal rights.
Avoid making statements that jeopardize those rights. Talk to a Westchester car accident lawyer before answering questions, making a statement, or accepting a settlement offer. Insurance companies work hard to minimize their claim expenses, so you should have an injury attorney in Westchester working hard to evaluate your claim and help you obtain compensation to meet future needs.
Types of Compensation That May Be Available
New York is a “no-fault” state. This means that a person injured in a car accident is entitled to certain insurance benefits regardless of fault. Even if the injured person caused the accident, they may be entitled to payment of medical bills and money to compensate them for lost wages from time out of work due to the injuries sustained in the accident. Expenses such as prescription drugs, housekeeping assistance, and transportation to medical facilities can be covered as well.
However, there are deadlines and procedures that must be followed, so it is wise to talk to a Westchester car crash attorney to find out the best way to proceed. No-fault insurance claims, for example, must be filed within 30 days. If you delay, the insurance company may use lateness as a basis to deny your otherwise valid claim.
When a person is injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of someone else, the injured person may also be entitled to compensation beyond no-fault benefits. The injured person may be able to sue for pain and suffering in addition to medical bills and lost wages.
Seeking Damages for a Car Accident in Westchester
The insurance company for the negligent party does not voluntarily pay money in the form of damages where it has no legal obligation to do so. The injured person must be able to demonstrate a theory of liability. This means that before the insurance company will pay, the injured person must show why the driver was negligent: what rules of the road were broken, what sections of the vehicle and traffic laws were violated.
Additionally, in seeking damages the injured person must show that the injuries were caused by the car accident. This is one reason why it is important to seek immediate medical attention following an accident. The insurance company will likely point to the police report stating that you declined medical treatment at the scene of the accident to argue that you were not injured. The insurance adjuster for the negligent driver may also call you once they get your information from the police report. Often, they will ask you to give a recorded statement, or they will simply record their conversation with you without informing you, which may be legal. Sometimes they will ask you to sign a document releasing them from liability for a small sum of money that covers only a portion of your medical bills.
People often don’t realize that by signing a release with the insurance company they are waiving their right to seek further compensation. For all of these reasons, it is extremely important that you contact a Westchester car accident attorney BEFORE you have any conversations with the negligent driver’s insurance company.
Let a Westchester Car Accident Attorney Assist You
A Westchester car wreck lawyer should offer you a free consultation about your potential claims. During a free consultation, the lawyer should explain your rights and help you determine the best way to proceed based on your individual circumstances. Time to file a claim is limited, so take action today to help secure your future! If you are suffering from injuries and other negative effects of a car accident, call a Westchester car accident attorney, such as Tomkiel & Tomkiel, right away! We are here to help.