After a car accident, you need to find an experienced car accident lawyer who will treat you with compassion yet be aggressive enough to litigate your case if the insurance company refuses to offer a fair and reasonable amount. Once you find the perfect attorney, you should know what to expect when working with a car accident attorney in New York, including costs and procedures.
Initial Case Evaluation
Your initial case evaluation at Kaplan Lawyers, PC, is always free and without obligation. Meeting attorneys before you retain them is something you should always do to ensure you can work with the attorney. As much as the attorney evaluates your case to ensure it’s a good fit for the firm, you should evaluate the firm, its staff, and its attorneys to ensure it’s a good fit for you. We understand that you are most likely out of work and don’t have the money to throw around to find an experienced lawyer you can work with.
During the case evaluation, you will be able to ask questions about your case and the firm, including questions about our procedures and the cost of representing you. We work on a contingency basis, so you don’t pay for our services unless you win your case.
Starting a New Case
Since settling a car accident case is usually faster than litigating, we like to try to settle first. Many insurance companies will eventually offer a fair and reasonable settlement. However, some won’t; then, we have to get ready to litigate. Since we know insurance companies don’t like to pay out, especially for life-long medical care, we treat every case as though it will see litigation.
In most cases, we investigate the case and collect all the evidence that is available. Not only does that make us ready for litigation quicker, but we can also use the results of the investigation and the evidence we collect to back your settlement offer.
Investigating the Case
The sooner you retain us, the sooner we can get our investigators on the case. Evidence tends to disappear – sometimes after a time and sometimes immediately. The weather can destroy evidence, municipalities repair roads, homeowners repair the property, and the at-fault driver often repairs the vehicle. If we get there early enough, the accident scene can provide quite a bit of information about the wreck.
Physical evidence from the accident scene isn’t the only evidence that can help your case. We can help you collect other evidence, such as the police report and medical records, including therapy records.
If you are receiving ongoing medical care, you will have to submit medical bills and records as you receive them.
In many cases, your attorney may have to question witnesses – take their depositions, or request documents from others involved in the wreck. This is all part of the discovery phase of the trial and usually happens if you have to file a lawsuit.
Steps to Recovering Compensation after a New York Car Accident
To recover the compensation you deserve, you must take certain actions, even before you retain a car accident attorney. The first thing you need to do is seek medical attention. You must also file a crash accident report. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, you should see a doctor immediately. Some injuries take hours or even days to manifest.
Always keep every doctor’s appointment – the at-fault driver’s insurance company checks on this and will be less willing to pay what you deserve, citing that you are not hurt as bad as you say.
Additionally, do not post anything about the accident, your injuries, or your recovery process on any social media site. Insurance companies troll your accounts to see if you are injured as badly as you say.
If a doctor suggests any type of therapy, agree to it and keep all appointments. Again, the insurance company will look for signs that your injuries are as bad as you say. If you can’t make an appointment for any reason, be sure to document it.
Keeping a Journal
One of the best ways – and easiest ways – to help your case is to keep a journal. Document all doctor’s appointments, therapy appointments, how you feel each day, the level of pain you have each day, how a specific injury is healing, especially if you have more than one, and anything else related to the accident and your recovery.
Make copies of any receipts you have from spending your own money on co-payments, prescriptions, and other expenses related to the accident. Keep the copies with the journal and file the originals. The journal helps your attorney tell your story, and the receipts ensure you recover repayment for the money you spent out of pocket.
How Long Does a Settlement or Trial Take
Settlements could happen in as little as a week or as much as several weeks. Once the insurance company comes to a fair and reasonable settlement, it will still take a few more weeks to draft the agreement and process the case.
Litigation could take months or even years. As with a settlement, there is a short period of a few weeks for the attorneys to draft the final judgment, the court to review and execute it, and to process the case.
Processing Your Case
Once you sign a settlement agreement or receive a trial verdict, the attorneys must take several steps to process your case, including:
- Draft the settlement agreement or final judgment and forward it to the opposing attorney or the court.
- Once the plaintiffs and defendants sign the agreement or the court signs and file the final judgment, the defendant’s attorney cuts a check and mails it to your attorney, who must deposit the check into an escrow account.
- The check could take up to 14 days to clear the bank. Your attorney cannot take the next steps until the check clears.
- Your attorney reviews the settlement agreement and the contingency agreement you signed when you retained the firm.
- The attorney reviews any outstanding medical expenses, so be sure you turn in all personal receipts and medical expenses not covered by insurance.
- The attorney pays any outstanding expenses.
- Your attorney reimburses your auto and health insurance companies if you use them to cover medical expenses related to the accident.
- The firm deducts its percentage.
Finally, the firm cuts you a check and mails it to you. You can deposit the check and use it as you wish. However, depending on the size of the check, it could take up to 14 days to clear your bank.
Contact a New York City Car Accident Attorney
After a car accident, you should seek medical attention immediately. The next thing you or a loved one should do is contact a New York City car accident attorney at Kaplan Lawyers, PC, for a free case evaluation and get your case started.