We understand how devastating car accidents can be. They can cause long-term physical and financial harm to those involved. However, what many people don't realize is that how the aftermath of a car accident is handled can be just as critical as the accident itself. In particular, filing a police report after an accident can be one of the most significant steps you take. Keep reading to find out why.
What To Do Post-Accident
The aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming. Still, taking certain steps to protect yourself and your legal rights is important, including seeking medical attention and documenting the accident. This documentation can serve as evidence when you file a compensation claim.
Immediately after an accident, collect the following to help document your accident:
- File a police report
- Pictures or videos of the accident scene
- The vehicle information of any other cars involved
- The personal and insurance information of any other parties involved
- The contact information for any witnesses
The Importance of the Police Report
After a car accident, a police officer will usually be dispatched to the scene. The officer will create a police report, which documents the details of the accident, including contact information for any witnesses and the other driver involved. This report can support your claim in court, especially if there are disputes about the facts of the accident.
Reporting your accident to the police is also vital to ensure that you do not face criminal charges for leaving the accident scene without doing so. In fact, under NY law, if you fail to file an accident report after an accident that involves serious injury or a fatality, you may face criminal charges. Even accidents that only result in property damage (of $1000 or more) must be reported to the DMV.
Don't Forget to Keep Your Medical Records
Car accidents frequently cause serious injuries that require extensive medical attention. They also often result in property damage. It's important to document any injuries or damages sustained during the accident. This extends beyond the initial diagnosis of your injury and includes all costs and expenses associated with your medical care and recovery.
If you've been injured in a car accident, seeking medical attention should be your top priority. Even if you don't feel hurt immediately after the accident, some injuries can take time to manifest. Seeking medical attention quickly can prevent further complications and also serves as evidence of the extent of your injuries.
The Costs of an Accident
The costs of an accident injury are frequently more than just your immediate medical bills. Even seemingly small injuries can have long-term medical care needs and/or hidden costs you may not realize at first. This can be financially overwhelming and can threaten your economic stability.
Common damages an injured party may suffer include the following:
- Emergency medical care
- Hospital stays
- Specialist care
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Occupational equipment
- Lost wages
- Chronic pain and suffering
- Emotional suffering
Even getting to and from therapy appointments can cost you, especially if you lost your primary transportation method due to the accident. Because the financial costs associated with an accident can be so extensive, we recommend that people keep meticulous records and document every expense related to their accident, even their Uber receipts for rides to their physical therapy appointments.
What Comes Next?
If you or a loved one was injured or suffered property damage during a car accident, you are encouraged to contact a personal injury attorney. Speaking with an attorney does not mean you have to file a lawsuit if it is not in your best interest. Instead, your lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and advise you of your rights so that you can make an informed decision regarding seeking compensation.
At Foley Griffin, we are ready to schedule a consultation to review your case and help you identify the types of compensation that may be available to you, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We can also discuss the other ways in which we may be of service to you during this difficult time, such as negotiating with healthcare providers and/or representing you in matters involving your insurance company.
Contact our law firm online to schedule an appointment.