For minor fender benders that only caused slight vehicle damage, it may not be necessary to seek legal counsel. However, most car accidents are rarely simple and straightforward, and even though you may not feel seriously injured at the moment of impact, many injuries, such as whiplash, spine, and brain injuries can manifest later, after you’ve left the scene of the accident.
The experienced car accident attorneys at O’Connor & Partners, LLC understand the complex nature of accident-related injuries. We are committed to helping injury victims recover the justice and compensation they need to move forward with their lives after a wreck.
If you’ve been in a collision that resulted in seemingly minor injuries, it is still a good idea to see a doctor. It is also advisable to speak with an attorney to discuss your rights and legal options.
Understanding Hidden Injuries After a Car Wreck
Many car accident victims make the mistake of skipping the hospital after a minor car wreck. However, injuries can often take days, weeks, or even months to fully manifest, and even low-speed collisions can cause injuries such as whiplash and pulled muscles.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, it is in your best interest to check-in with a doctor afterward. It may be difficult to notice unusual symptoms or pain at the accident scene because of your adrenaline at the moment. Some types of brain injuries don’t become apparent for some time after the initial incident.
Until you have seen a doctor, do not tell anyone, especially the other driver’s insurance company, that you do not have injuries after a minor auto accident. If you tell an insurer that you are injury-free after a wreck, and then later your injury emerges, worsens, or you receive a diagnosis, the insurance company may deny your claim on the grounds that your injury occurred after the accident.
By visiting a doctor and contacting an attorney as soon as possible after an accident, you dramatically improve your ability to seek the just compensation you may deserve.
What Is New York’s “Eggshell Plaintiff” Rule?
The fact is that drivers or passengers with preexisting medical conditions, people with disabilities, children, and seniors are all more likely to be seriously hurt in a collision than other people on the road.
New York follows what is known as the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule (also referred to as the “eggshell skull doctrine”), which states that negligent drivers “take their victims as they find them.” This means that simply because someone was elderly, ill, frail, or suffered from a pre-existing condition at the time of a crash, he or she is not precluded from receiving just compensation for his or her injuries, even if those injuries were more severe than they might have been for a more healthy person.
The Eggshell Plaintiff Rule would not apply if your injuries arose solely because of your preexisting condition and not because of the car accident. However, if the negligent driver’s careless or reckless behavior exacerbated an already-present condition, that driver may be held accountable for the damages he or she caused as a result of that exacerbation.
Likewise, if the at-fault driver caused your injury, he or she is liable for the full scope of the damages, even if those damages were worse than would normally be expected because of your condition or age.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help?
It can be easy to underestimate the severity of your injuries and the complexity of your car accident claim. If you’ve been hurt in a wreck, an experienced car accident attorney can help you pursue the compensation you need to get your life back on track. Some of the ways a lawyer can help include:
- Investigating your accident: The immediate aftermath of a crash can be chaotic. In the emotion and confusion of an accident scene, it can be easy to overlook crucial details that can have a tremendous impact on your case. An experienced car accident lawyer has the knowledge and resources to conduct a thorough investigation, which may include documenting the scene of the wreck, obtaining police and medical reports, talking to witnesses, and more.
- Explaining your legal options: Ultimately, it is your decision how you would like to proceed after a car accident. Your attorney can assess the details and merits of your claim and explain all of your legal options. This will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about the direction of your case.
- Calculating your damages: An experienced personal injury attorney understands the physical, emotional, and financial losses you may be facing after a car accident. Your lawyer will pursue the maximum compensation you need to face your challenges both today and in the future.
- Negotiating with the insurance company: Insurance companies are in the business of making money, not paying out claims. They will do everything possible to pay less than you deserve, or deny your claim altogether. A seasoned attorney understands the tactics used by insurance companies to undermine legitimate claims. Your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf to recover a fair settlement.
- Taking your case to trial, if necessary: If a fair settlement cannot be negotiated with the insurance company, your attorney may advise you that your best course of action is to take your case to a judge and jury. The experienced litigation attorneys at O’Connor & Partners, LLC have extensive experience with these matters. We have the knowledge, skill, and resources necessary to present your most compelling case.
Call a New York Car Accident Lawyer Today
Don’t face your injuries alone. If you’ve been involved in a car wreck, contact O’Connor & Partners, LLC right away for a free initial consultation.
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Call (845) 303-8777 to discuss your case for free or request a free consultation online now. Our car accident lawyers serve clients in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, and other areas of New York.