steps to take car accident

No matter how carefully you drive, there are times when you may be involved in a car accident on the streets of New York. Being in a car collision can be a shocking experience, but it is important that you don’t panic and instead respond with calmness. Read on to know more about what steps you need to take as per the law if you have been involved in an automobile accident in New York.

Things to Remember After an Auto Accident in NY

The first legal requirement is to stop your vehicle as soon as the crash has occurred, and remain at the scene of the accident. Stay calm and assess the situation around you. Check yourself, any passengers in your car for any injuries, and if necessary, call 911 or for an ambulance. If you find the other driver in the accident to be seriously injured, make that call for them.

If the automobile accident site is such that your remaining there will affect the flow of road traffic, move your vehicle to the closest safe spot and stay there. Check your vehicle for damage, paying special attention to any fire hazard.

You will provide all the necessary details such as your name, address, and vehicle registration number to other parties or parties involved in the accident. If you are not the owner of the motor vehicle you were driving at the time of the accident, you will have to provide the name and address of the vehicle owner.

What Information Must One Provide Following an Accident?

The parties that have been involved in an accident have to exchange the following important information:

  • Name, address, and other contact details
  • License details of all vehicles that were part of the accident
  • Details from all involved parties regarding their motor insurance

If the collision occurred with an unattended vehicle, try to locate either the driver or the owner of the vehicle to exchange the necessary information. If the driver or owner cannot be located, leave a note on their vehicle giving your name and contact information and describing, in brief, the details of the collision.

If the accident has caused damage to private property, all the parties involved in the collision must provide their relevant information to the person who owns the property or, if the owner is not present, to the caretaker of the property. A person who only witnesses an accident but is not a party to it is not legally required to provide any such information.

Collect Witness Details and Take Photographs of the Accident

Soon after your automobile accident in New York, identify the people close by who have witnessed the events. Get their name, address, and contact details, and let them know that you will be contacting them if required.

Take photographs of the damages sustained by your vehicle. These will help your insurance provider assess the level of damage caused by the accident. They can also be produced in court if required along with older pictures of your car before the collision to showcase the extent of damage caused by the accident.

If you need to move your car to a safe spot out of the flow of traffic, make sure you take the photographs in the original accident site and before you move your car. Make sure your photographs capture the visible damage to the car. Get photos of your car’s position relative to the other cars in the collision.

Prepare Your Notes of the Accident

The events in an accident are vivid in one’s memory for the first few days after the collision. However, with time, this memory may fade and you may no longer be able to provide a precise account of what exactly happened. This makes it crucial to prepare your own notes of the accident soon after it occurs.

Here are some of the major details you should record in your notes:

  • Date, time, parties involved and their relevant details
  • Accident location details
  • A step-by-step account of the events as if you were a witness
  • Description of the weather conditions
  • Conversations before, during, and after the accident

Get Medical Treatment and Keep Records

If you have been injured in an accident, it is vital you get immediate medical attention. Even if there is no obvious injury, make sure you visit a doctor and have a thorough examination to rule out any damage.

Make a note of the contact details of the physicians, surgeons, physical therapists, and other health professionals who treated you. Keep records of diagnostic tests, procedures, and treatments you undertake and get copies of all medical reports. This will be important later to provide evidence of your expenses for medical purposes.

When one is injured in an accident, besides the physical injuries, one also experiences discomfort, pain, and suffering. These factors are not as easy to prove as expenses on the treatment. However, you can claim compensation for the suffering you underwent too.

Keep notes of the consequences of the injuries on your ability to attend work and your overall lifestyle. Make a note of any loss of sleep or anxiety or depression you suffered due to the accident. If you saw a therapist for these issues, keep records of these sessions too. Record the leaves you took from work and other effects of the injuries on your personal life.

Inform about the Accident to Your Insurance Provider

Once you have taken care of your medical treatment, the immediate next step must be to contact your insurance provider in New York and give them details of the automobile accident in which you were involved. Make sure you provide accurate information regarding the accident and the injuries you sustained and do not say anything that can be misleading. If the later inquiry reveals that you knowingly provided incomplete or inaccurate information, it can work against your case of recovering damages.

Get a Property Damage Valuation

Ask for the damage valuation done by your insurance provider. If you are not satisfied with their estimation, get repair and replacement quotes from two other service providers and produce these to your insurer, stating your concerns about their valuation. If your insurer is not open to negotiation on this aspect, get in touch with a competent and skilled New York accident attorney who can guide you on how to proceed in this matter.

Be Wary of Early Settlement Offers

If your insurance company is swift in offering you a settlement of your claims, make sure you check the documents thoroughly and verify whether you are being offered compensation for all the physical injuries and other damages you have suffered. Even better, consult an experienced New York accident lawyer who can read the fine print for you and make sure you are not being shortchanged.

Many types of injuries do not show up until weeks or months after the collision. This makes it advisable to wait for some time until you are sure the compensation being offered is what you rightly deserve for all the damages and losses you have suffered.

Use Discretion When Talking About Your Accident

Do not discuss the accident with anyone other than persons you trust such as a partner or a spouse. Of course, you will have to speak of the accident to the police, the doctors treating you, the insurance provider, and your New York accident attorney, but be wary of representatives of other insurance companies calling you as they may represent the other parties involved in the accident. If you receive any such call, inform your accident lawyer about it. 

Also, be careful about what you post on social media because insurance providers have been known to track these accounts to discredit your claims of injuries. If you claim that you were injured and required medical treatment and leave from work, but your social media accounts show you have traveled or participated in sports activities during the same timeframe, it will discredit your claims.

Procure a copy of the Police Report Generated

When a law enforcement officer responds to a collision, they prepare a police report of the incident. It is your legal right to receive a copy of this police report. Get in touch with the proper law enforcement agency as soon as possible and procure a copy of the report they have generated. Some agencies mail report copies at no cost while others require you to pay a photocopying fee.

Talk to a Skilled New York Automobile Accident Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident, first make sure you get the necessary medical treatment to deal with the injuries. Soon after, get in touch with our experienced auto accident attorneys in New York at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP at 212-344-1000 to set up a free case evaluation.

With decades of experience in dealing with car accidents in New York, our team of lawyers will guide you through the complex legal process of claiming compensation for the injuries and damages you suffered in the collision.

Whether it is organizing your medical records, collecting evidence regarding the accident, interviewing the eyewitnesses, reconstructing the accident events, or negotiating with your insurance providers, our car accident attorneys will be with you every step of the way to make sure you get the maximum compensation you are legally entitled to receive.


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