Deciding to hire a lawyer after a car accident is an important decision. There are many situations where you need to proactively seek out a lawyer to get things squared away before the problem gets worse.
You have to remember that insurance companies are not necessarily your friend. The insurance company–which may have treated you well and been kind on the phone–doesn’t want to pay anything more than it believes it has to. Realizing this, you can see that there are situations where a lawyer is absolutely needed to make sure that you’re getting the settlement that you deserve.
Here are some warning signs to watch out for in which you should hire a New York City car accident attorney:
There are many legal deadlines that are in place when it comes to a car accident in New York City. There is a statute of limitations which is a hard-and-fast date after which you’re no longer allowed to file a lawsuit. Your lawyer will know about this legal deadline and be able to help you meet it.
But there are other deadlines that you may not have heard of that are critical. Insurance companies have deadlines for notifying them “as soon as practical” or “promptly”, and if you don’t follow these requirements, then you could lose out on coverage. These deadlines remain even where the other party doesn’t have insurance because the Motor Vehicle Indemnification Corporation has strict deadline requirements as well.
Getting a lawyer to help you through these deadlines is essential in making sure you get the settlement money you need.
Evidence is crucial to a car accident case, both to determine the extent of the damages and to determine who was at fault and is liable. While you may take many pictures of the accident after the fact, surveillance camera footage does not necessarily have a long shelf life unless it is secured and preserved, something an experienced car accident lawyer can do. Most businesses delete or rewrite over their footage within days or weeks, a continually revolving video feed that only shows the most recent activity. By not securing this evidence immediately and making copies of it, you could lose out on critical evidence that can make the difference at trial.
Other fragile evidence includes roadway evidence- i.e., the stuff at the accident scene, such as the scattering of broken debris, skid marks on the pavement, etc. The police record this, but it can easily be lost, and if the pictures aren’t good, or the measurements aren’t good, this roadway evidence can be lost forever and potentially hurt your case.
Even a car can be fleeting evidence. Event data recorders can offer important information about speed and brake application. If this evidence is not obtained soon after the accident, it can be lost forever.
Generally speaking insurance companies focus on maximizing profits, so if there is a potential defense to their insured’s liability, the insurance company will certainly raise it. If you’ve been in an accident that you know is not your fault or is even partially not your fault, a lawyer can help you establish this fact. New York is a “comparative fault” state, which means that if you are partly responsible for causing the accident, the amount of your recovery will be proportionately diminished. An experienced car accident lawyer can anticipate and respond to this defense of “comparative fault” so that your financial recovery is maximized.
If you’re receiving medical treatment after a car accident, that’s a sign that you may want to call a lawyer. In order to recover for pain and suffering in New York, you generally have to show a “serious injury,” and insurance companies can be adept at arguing that you have not qualified when in fact, you do. A car accident lawyer will be able to walk you through this process.
Some damages are not going to be tallied up by a mechanic or an emergency room. Some injuries are longer-lasting–they may restrict your ability to do your job, or they may limit your ability to live your life. Some people are so traumatized by a car accident that they never drive a car again. Some people have PTSD that interferes with home life and mental health. These damages are sometimes harder to demonstrate because they’re less tangible, so insurance companies often overlook them. An informed lawyer can help you establish that you are entitled to compensation for pain and suffering.
Just like we talked about evidence disappearing rapidly–a rainstorm can wash away skid marks–so too can witness statements disappear or even change. Over time, memories fade, and important details can be forgotten and left out of statements. If witness testimony is important, then getting a lawyer to gather witness testimony is a must.
William Mattar is the largest motor vehicle accident firm in New York State and the #1 choice to call when looking for a car accident lawyer after New York City car accident. We will fight to get you compensation for your injuries. Submit a contact form or give us call. 844-444-4444.