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Perhaps you were badly hurt in a car accident in Buffalo or Niagara Falls. The following are just some of the steps that accident victims should take immediately after the crash. Ultimately, you may want to determine if you can file a personal injury claim for your losses. Not everyone can file such a claim, New York being a no-fault state, but it depends on the extent of your injuries.

What should happen immediately

The first thing to do after a crash is to assess everyone’s condition and to call 911 when anyone is injured. Even if the accident was minor and does not require an ambulance, you should still call 911 for police. The other driver may not be cooperative, after all, and the police will be able to send an official report to the insurance companies.

Next, the parties involved should move their vehicles out of the way of traffic. If possible, they should light flares or lay down reflective triangles around the vehicles. After that should come the documentation of the crash and the exchange of information, including names and insurance information. You should photograph the damage, get the phone numbers of any witnesses and find out the number of the police report.

Understanding how insurance works

If your injuries qualify for New York’s “serious injury” threshold, or if your economic losses total more than $50,000, you may file a personal injury claim. Otherwise, you’ll be receiving benefits through your own insurance provider. With a personal injury claim comes the notion of negligence. How much of the crash was the other driver’s fault? This will largely determine how much you’re eligible for in compensation.

Having a lawyer on your side

Filing a claim is an unfamiliar process for most car accident victims, so you may want a lawyer by your side. If retained, the lawyer may bring in third-party accident investigators and medical experts to help strengthen the case before it goes to the negotiation table. The lawyer may speak on your behalf, litigating as a last resort.

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