What do I do if I’ve been in a Car Accident?
A car crash is a sudden, terrifying event which can leave you shaken and confused. It can be difficult to know exactly what to do at this moment, and if there are injuries, then your attention is rightly focused on getting help for the wounded rather than thinking about who is responsible for the crash and how they will be made to pay for the damages caused. However, the things you do and say (or don’t do and say) in the minutes and days after an accident can have serious effects on your ability to recover compensation down the road. If possible, try to follow these tips for what to do after an accident. If you are unsure about how to pursue a claim for compensation, New York City auto accident attorney Leandros A. Vrionedes is always available, at 1-800-634-8144.
Get Medical Help as Needed
If there are serious injuries at the scene of the accident, don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1. Take care of yourself and others as needed until help arrives, but don’t try to perform any First Aid that you are not trained in, and don’t move an unconscious or immobile person unless absolutely necessary to save their life. Even if you feel okay after the accident and are lucky enough to walk away without feeling hurt, you should still schedule a visit with your doctor as soon as you can after the accident, preferably within a day or two. Your doctor will look you over and maybe order some tests to make sure everything is okay. Sometimes symptoms don’t immediately appear obvious, but it is always best to find and treat a condition earlier rather than later. If you experience any pain, dizziness or unusual symptoms in the days following the accident, be sure and let your doctor know.
Call the Police
The police should be called in any accident involving personal injury or property damage. If you are able to be present when the police arrive, you can give them a statement about what happened from your point of view. If you were not able to give a statement at the scene, follow up with the police soon after the accident to get a copy of the police report. If you think information is inaccurate or incomplete, you should be able to provide supplementary information. Your attorney can help you get a copy of the report and correct any misinformation.
New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law requires you to stop and exchange information with the other driver or drivers involved in the accident. The information you should exchange includes your driver’s license information, insurance information (carrier and policy number) and registration. When exchanging information, don’t volunteer information about your policy limits or get into a discussion about what happened or who is at fault.
While at the scene of the accident, it can be very helpful to your case if you are able to take pictures of the scene, including damage to the vehicles, the condition of the roadway, any other property damage, etc. If there are witnesses present, try to get their contact information. As soon as you can after the accident, write down any information you think may be important, such as the weather and traffic at the time, and how you think the accident happened.
File an Accident Report
Unless there was only minor ($1,000 or less) property damage, you are required by law to file Form MV-104, Report of Motor Vehicle Accident, with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. You can find this form online at the DMV website.
Notify Your Insurance Company
A car accident claim in New York can involve multiple insurance companies, including your own no-fault insurance and the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. It is important that you notify your own insurance company soon after the accident to protect your rights under the policy. Most policies require this notification as soon as practical after an accident.
Call an Experienced New York City Auto Accident Attorney
The sooner you call an experienced auto accident attorney after your crash, the sooner we can get started working on your case. It is important to gather important evidence while it is still fresh. Also, the insurance company may try to offer you a quick cash settlement very soon after the accident. The amount they offer is not likely to cover all of your damages and may be significantly less than your case is actually worth. If you call an attorney before you talk to the insurance company, sign any papers or accept any money, you will get the advice and help you need to protect your rights and avoid making any mistakes which can jeopardize your case.
In New York City, contact Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. at 1-800-634-8144 for a free consultation regarding your claim.