experience & dedication...

Alkalay & Smillie, PLLC

in Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire

Office: (603) 447-8994
Fax: (603) 297-2866

Articles of Interest

Attorney Edward Alkalay writes a regular column for the Conway Daily Sun newspaper entitled "The Legal Corner." His articles address a wide variety of timely legal issues. Click on the titles below to review his past articles.

Back to Articles of Interest

The Legal Corner: The Legal Corner: What to do if you are an accident victim

May 9, 2012

About a year ago, I wrote an article about what victims in automobile accidents need to know. People have continued to ask me questions about the process and what to do if they have an accident, as well as what the benefits are to hiring an attorney. In this article, I will further explain the process and the most important steps to take if you are in an accident.
(1) What you should do immediately:
Contact the police. The police will be able to get medical help to the scene very quickly if necessary. In addition, the police write a report that will confirm the time, date, and location of the accident as well as the identity of the parties and the insurance companies involved. When talking to the police make sure you give an accurate description of the accident and if you are hurt make sure you tell the police. If possible take pictures of the cars and the accident scene on your cell phone.
If you are injured, accept medical attention. Many clients have told me that they did not accept medical attention at the scene of accident because they did not feel that bad, thought that they could shake it off, or were embarrassed to do so. Do not ignore even minor pain after an accident, because oftentimes the pain will get worse a day or more after the accident. Moreover, the pain may linger for a long time (or even permanently). It is important to see a medical practitioner immediately to treat and document all potential injuries. When talking to the doctor and nurses provide an accurate description of how you were injured in the accident and explain all the injuries you sustained. You should also follow up with all further treatment that your doctor recommends including physical therapy.
(2) What to do next:
If you are contacted by an insurance adjuster, remember that he or she has a job to do. Whether the adjuster is friendly, rude, intimidating, or empathetic, he or she has hundreds of cases and has one goal: to save the insurance company as much money as possible. Adjusters may try to interview you, ask if they can visit with you and take pictures or ask you to write a statement. Do not agree to let the insurance adjuster do any of these things. If you have already talked to an adjuster, that is ok, but you should not accept any settlement offer without seeking an attorney’s advice first. Insurance adjusters always offer far below what victims are entitled to when they are not represented.
As time passes, keep a record of whether your injuries are getting worse or better. Also, write down what activities that you could do before the accident that you are unable to do after the accident. Obviously, continue with follow up medical care.
Unless it is a very minor accident, you should at least have a consultation with an attorney. While there are certain types of cases where people can adequately represent themselves, personal injury and automobile accident cases are not one of those cases. First, most attorneys do not require you to pay any up-front fees for a consultation or representation in accident cases. The typical attorney-client fee agreement is a contingency agreement. In this type of agreement, the attorney agrees to represent you for no up-front costs in exchange for one-third of the total recovery. If you recover nothing, your attorney recovers nothing.
Additionally, insurance adjusters will almost always substantially raise their settlement offers when they know a lawyer is involved. In addition, if an attorney is involved the adjusters will know that if they do not settle at a reasonable amount, the case will go to court. While no attorney can guarantee a result, hiring an attorney in accident cases, and other personal injury cases, often produces better results with no up-front costs.

Edward D. Alkalay is a partner at Alkalay & Smillie PLLC and can be reached at (603)447-8994 or ed@northconwaylawyers.com. (This article conveys general information and should not be relied on for legal advice without further research and/or consultation with an attorney.)

Back to Articles of Interest

By: Edward D. Alkalay