The time immediately after an accident can be stressful for you and your family. You could be confused, stressed, and this can all be even worse if you are injured. The most important thing to do immediately after an accident is to take care of your health and focus on recovery. Once you are feeling more stable you may consider pursuing a personal injury claim to gain compensation for your injuries and damages. At this point you are probably wondering if you have a case, if you can sue, and what kind of damages you could receive. We’ve put together a list of the most frequently asked questions surrounding personal injury claims for you below. If your question is not on this list, visit our more thorough Frequently Asked Questions page here.
1. What should I first do after the accident?
We covered the steps to take after an accident in a previous article, but we will briefly review them for you here. These steps are important to preserve your right to file a claim for your injuries and damages. Generally, after an accident you should collect evidence that shows who was at fault for the accident and take photographs of the damages. Write down everything that occurred during and after the accident, including doctor’s visits, time lost at work, lost wages, and medical bills. If there were witnesses to the accident, make sure you get their names and contact information. Take detailed notes of any conversation you have with the other parties involved in the accident and inform them that you may file a claim for your injuries and property damage. For more information on the steps to take after an accident, click here.
2. Is there a time frame in which I have to notify a person that I’m filing a claim for damages?
The answer to this question is dependent on whether you are planning to file a lawsuit against an individual, a corporation, or a government agency. If you are planning to file a lawsuit against an individual or a corporation, there is not a set time frame in which you have to notify the other party. Regardless, it is advised to take action quickly. Acting on this quickly will improve the chances that the claim will resolve faster. This is not to be confused with the Statute of limitations, which will be detailed in point 4 below.
Just because you give notice to the other party that you intend to file a lawsuit does not mean that you are required to file one. Simply giving notice to the other party preserves your rights by preventing other parties from defending against a lawsuit with the claim that you waited too long to inform them of the injuries you sustained. Giving notice to the other parties involved gives you the opportunity to negotiate a settlement and handle arbitration at your own speed.
3. Is there a different time frame if I am filing a case against the government?
Perhaps you slipped, fell, and injured yourself on government property and wish to seek compensation for your damages. In cases against the government, there is a very limited amount of time that you have to file a notice of claim and it is much shorter than you would expect. In New York you only have up to 30 days to file a notice of claim. Some states have much longer notice periods where you may have up to one year. If your case against the government is not filed within these short time parameters, you may lose all your rights to gain compensation for your injuries and other damages.
4. Do I have to file a lawsuit within a certain time frame?
There is a very strict time frame in which you have the opportunity to file a lawsuit and if you fail to file a claim within this time frame, you will not have a chance to recoup any compensation from the parties responsible. There are laws that govern the time frame that one has to file a lawsuit and they are called the “statues of limitations”. You may have heard this term on a ‘Law and Order’ episode with respect to filing criminal charges, well they exist for civil cases such as personal injury lawsuits too. The statutes of limitations dictate the maximum time in which you have to bring forward certain types of lawsuits. The statutes of limitations are different for every state, so be sure to check your states statute of limitations immediately so that you are aware of exactly how much time you have to act. You can view the statutes of limitations for New York state here, however we encourage you to call our lawyers to analyze your case. Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer will also make this process much easier. They will be aware of the statute of limitations for your specific case in your state and be able to make sure that the lawsuit meets these deadlines.
5.Where can I find a lawyer to help me? Can I get a consultation for free?
The personal injury lawyers at the offices of David B. Lever and Associates have years of experience with many types of personal injury cases and will happily help you with your case. Read more about the different practice areas we specialize in here. We offer free consultations and case evaluations to everyone who calls us with a potential case. Although our offices are located in White Plains, New York, we frequently serve clients all throughout Westchester County, including Port Chester, Yonkers, and Mount Vernon. Do not hesitate to contact us today!