If you tripped and fell on a sidewalk in New York City, you may be unsure of your next steps. Sidewalk accidents can be stressful, painful, and traumatic. In the chaos following the accident, you may not even consider seeking compensation.
However, taking the proper steps after a sidewalk accident can help you recover a settlement from the at-fault party. Read on to learn what to do after a sidewalk accident, then contact our sidewalk accident lawyer in New York for assistance.
1. Seek Medical Attention
The most important step you can take after a sidewalk accident is to seek medical attention.
Often, the adrenaline from accidents leads victims to believe they do not have any injuries or that their injuries are not very severe. However, the worst injuries often require immediate medical attention. Waiting too long after your accident to receive medical treatment can delay your recovery.
If your injuries seem mild, you can complete the next step before receiving medical treatment. Otherwise, we recommend calling 911 at the scene.
Additionally, receiving medical attention directly after the accident can assist your insurance claim or lawsuit. You can provide your medical documents as evidence to support your case.
2. Document the Scene
If you can, you should take measures to document the accident scene before leaving to seek medical treatment. We recommend taking photos of the dangerous conditions in the sidewalk that led to your accident. Take as many pictures from different angles as possible to ensure that the insurance company or judge can clearly see the cause of the accident.
If anyone witnessed the accident, you could ask for their contact information. They can provide an eyewitness statement that the hazard in the sidewalk led to your accident.
You may also be able to collect security camera footage of the incident. Your attorney can help you contact nearby business owners and residents to determine whether any camera footage exists that could help your case.
Be sure to leave the sidewalk unchanged while taking photos and documenting the scene.
3. Hire a New York Sidewalk Accident Lawyer
Once you are safely away from the accident scene and have sought medical treatment, your next step is to contact an NYC sidewalk accident lawyer for assistance.
Your attorney can provide many services to assist your accident case. First, they can examine the accident’s circumstances to determine whether you have enough reason to seek compensation from another party. Then, they can help you gather evidence to include with your insurance claim or lawsuit.
If you decide to take your case to court, your sidewalk accident lawyer in Brooklyn can guide you through this process and represent you in front of a judge. They can also handle all communications on your behalf, allowing you time to recover from your injuries.
4. Determine Who Is Responsible
If your sidewalk accident occurred due to a hazard within the sidewalk, such as a large crack or poor maintenance, you might be able to seek compensation from the person or party responsible for maintaining it.
New York has over 12,000 miles of sidewalks. In many cases, the City of New York is responsible for maintaining these sidewalks to prevent accidents and injuries.
Currently, New York is responsible for maintaining sidewalks outside its own property and most residential properties. If your sidewalk accident occurred on one of these sidewalks, you can hold the City financially responsible for your injuries.
Meanwhile, the city is not responsible for maintaining sidewalks outside of private properties, such as businesses. The property owners have a duty to maintain these sidewalks themselves. If your accident occurred outside a private property, you may need to hold the property owner liable.
Your sidewalk accident lawyer can help you determine who is responsible for your accident. Then, they can contact this party to begin the compensation process.
5. File an Insurance Claim
Filing an insurance claim is one of the main ways to seek compensation after a slip and fall accident. If the responsible party has liability insurance that covers this type of accident, you can file a claim with their insurer.
Ideally, the insurance company will reach out to you a few days after the accident. However, you may need to contact it yourself to provide details about your claim. Your attorney can also handle this process for you.
When you file an insurance claim, you must provide information about the accident and any evidence you have. You should be careful not to admit fault for any part of the accident, as doing so could reduce your payout.
For example, do not mention any distracting circumstances that may have led you to trip. Also, do not mention the type of shoes you wore during the accident.
Your attorney can advise you about the types of information to provide in the claim. Alternatively, they can speak to the insurance company on your behalf.
6. Take Legal Action
If you cannot receive adequate compensation from an insurance claim, you may need to take legal action against the at-fault party or their insurance company. Your sidewalk accident lawyer can help you through this process.
You may be able to seek several types of compensation in a lawsuit. First, you can seek compensatory damages that directly compensate you for the loss you incurred from the accident. These can include economic damages, such as:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Loss of ability to work
They can also include non-economic damages, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Depending on your case, you may also seek punitive damages that punish the at-fault party for reckless behavior. Your attorney can help you determine the types of damages to pursue in your lawsuit to improve your case outcomes.
If you recently experienced a sidewalk accident, our skilled attorneys can help you seek compensation from the responsible party. We have over 40 years of experience with personal injury cases in New York City, giving us the knowledge and skills to represent you well.