Being involved in a car accident is a traumatic experience that can leave you feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. In Buffalo, a bustling city with heavy traffic, it’s essential to know how to handle such situations properly. As personal injury attorneys with years of experience assisting accident victims, we want to help ensure you know what to do if you’re in an accident.
Buffalo car accidents occur for various reasons, but they often share one crucial thing: most can be attributed to driver negligence. Here’s a comprehensive guide with nine key steps to take if you find yourself in a car accident in Buffalo.
- Prioritize Safety
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Your safety and the safety of others involved should be your primary concern. Move your vehicle to a safe location, if possible, and turn on hazard lights. If anyone requires immediate medical attention, call 911 right away. Remember to stay calm and avoid any confrontations or arguments at the scene.
- Contact the Authorities
In Buffalo, it is crucial to report any motor vehicle accidents to the police. Dial 911 or the non-emergency police line to request an officer to come to the accident scene. The police report will serve as a crucial document for insurance claims and legal proceedings.
- Exchange Information
Exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved in the accident. Key details to collect include names, phone numbers, addresses, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance policy information. Additionally, gather contact information from any witnesses present at the scene.
- Document the Accident Scene
Take photographs of the accident scene, including the damage to the vehicles involved, skid marks, road conditions, and any other relevant factors. These visual records can be valuable evidence later when dealing with insurance companies or pursuing legal action.
- Seek Medical Attention
Even if you believe your injuries are minor, it’s essential to seek medical attention promptly. Some injuries may not manifest immediately, and a medical professional can provide an accurate assessment of your condition. Keep detailed records of all medical treatments, diagnoses, and expenses related to the accident.
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If you can pass the 90/180-day rule or demonstrate your physical injury meets or exceeds the state’s serious injury threshold, you may be entitled to file a claim for various compensation for your Buffalo car crash.
- Notify Your Insurance Company
Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide them with accurate and detailed information about the incident. However, it is advisable to consult with an attorney before giving any recorded statements to insurance adjusters.
- Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney
Contacting a reputable personal injury attorney in Buffalo can be highly beneficial in protecting your rights and navigating the legal process. An experienced attorney will evaluate your case, guide you through the legal complexities, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and help you seek fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
- Preserve Evidence
New York operates under a no-fault system that says injured victims must seek compensation for damages through their personal injury protection (PIP) or no-fault coverage.
Thus, it’s crucial to preserve any evidence related to the accident, such as medical records, photographs, repair estimates, and correspondence with insurance companies. This documentation will strengthen your case and support your claims.
- Be Mindful of Time Limits
In New York State, there are specific time limits, known as statutes of limitations, for filing personal injury claims. The 90/180-day rule is a way car accident victims can bypass New York’s no-fault insurance system if they suffer a non-permanent injury.
However, according to Chapter 28 § 5102(d) of New York insurance law, the injury must prevent them from engaging in normal activities for at least 90 days within 180 days of the crash. Consult with your attorney to understand the applicable deadlines to ensure you don’t miss out on your right to seek compensation.
Finding yourself in a car accident can be a challenging and overwhelming experience. However, by following the steps outlined in this guide, you can protect your rights, gather crucial evidence, and navigate the legal process effectively.
Remember to prioritize your safety and consult with a personal injury attorney who can provide you with the guidance and representation needed to secure the compensation you deserve.