A car accident is a terrifying experience.  Many people initially feel they are fine, just bruised or sore after an accident and thankfully for many their symptoms do resolve and they recover quickly without any long-term injuries or consequences.  In our experience, people often suffer “soft-tissue” injuries to their neck and back which do not immediately present as serious but can develop into debilitating life-changing injuries weeks and months after the accident.  For this reason, it is important to seek medical attention, whether it be from your primary doctor, an urgent care or emergency room as soon after an accident as possible to document your complaints in the event you are not so fortunate. While your medical care and treatment should be your utmost concern following an accident there are some key essential steps you should take following an accident to insure and protect yourself in the unfortunate event you suffer from serious personal injuries.

First, be aware that in New York State every motor vehicle insurance policy is required to include No-Fault insurance which provides, at a minimum, up to $50,000 in health insurance and loss of income benefits for anyone who is an occupant in the vehicle at the time of the accident.  It is important that you use No-Fault to pay for your medical expenses and not private health insurance or Medicare/Medicaid to avoid having a lien asserted for those medical payments against any recovery you may receive in connection with a claim or lawsuit. You simply have to contact the insurance company that insured the vehicle and tell them you were in an accident and need medical treatment and they will set up a No-Fault claim and assign a claim number which you then use just like an insurance card.  You will be required to submit a form called an NF-2 within thirty (30) days of the accident. You can find a link to the NF-2 form in the Forms section of our website.  

Second, if possible you should get the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident and photographs of the damage to the vehicles.  If you suffered visible damage such as cuts or bruises, it is also a good idea to take photographs. This type of evidence can make a big difference in a claim for personal injuries.

Third, you should obtain a copy of the police report and if the police report does not accurately account how the accident occurred or any other item such as the damage to the vehicles you should immediately file an MV-104 with the Department of Motor Vehicles.  A link to the MV-104 can be found on the Forms section of our website.

Fourth.  Be careful who you speak with!  You may be contacted by an insurance agent to obtain a statement about the accident and your injuries.  You should not give a statement unless and until you have spoken with an attorney.  The statement may be used in any subsequent claim or lawsuit and may not be in your best interest.

Fifth.  Do not wait to seek medical attention.  If you do see a doctor, make sure to tell him or her what happened and what is bothering you.  Do not miss appointments and keep a record of which doctors you visit.

Finally.  Ask questions!  We sincerely hope you never need to use this information, but if you do we hope you trust us to help you navigate through this difficult and stressful time.  

For more information contact the Massasrelli Law Group.  We put the personal in personal injury.

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