A Step-by-Step Legal Guide About What to Do After a Car Accident in New York

In a densely populated urban center like New York City, car accidents are unfortunately routine. In addition to any physical injuries, even minor ones, a motor vehicle collision also unleashes a flood of emotions in the victims. Before you contact a New York Car Accident Attorney to represent your legal rights in a personal injury claim, several steps are advisable.

Keep in mind that each situation is different, however, especially depending upon the severity of the injuries and the degree to which you and/or your companions are physically or cognitively able to handle some of these tasks.

Law Enforcement Responses

Call 911 and provide the dispatcher with the specific location of the accident. Remember that a law enforcement response creates a formal written record of the accident and its potential causes (although a police report is not necessarily conclusive). 

Given all the calls that a police precinct responds to on a daily basis, it may take the NYPD a while to get there, but be patient. Leaving the scene of an accident could prompt criminal charges. In that context, avoid making any side agreements with the other driver or drivers to settle up with you; people often have a change of heart, mind, or perceptions after the fact. 

Requirements of Immediate Medical Care

A paramedic response may also be obviously required if immediate medical care is necessary at the scene. If possible, ask the officer for the incident report number and make a note of it.

Exit the vehicle if you are physically up to it, turn on your flashers, and walk to a nearby safe place to await the arrival of first responders. Depending on the specific scenario and whether your vehicle is still drivable, you may want to pull your car over to the side of the road, a shoulder, or to a parking area, although this may not always be appropriate out of concerns of preserving the original accident scene.

Use your smartphone to take pictures and/or videos of the accident scene from different angles, plus vehicle damage, road hazards, any injuries to yourself and your passengers or anyone else, the license plates of each vehicle that may be involved, and so on. These visuals constitute important, real-time evidence for your car accident claim. Remove all personal belongings and valuables from your car if it needs to be towed to a repair facility.

Claim for Compensation

Exchange contact and insurance information (and take a picture of the latter document is possible) with the other driver(s).  Don’t, however, get into any arguments about who’s at fault or make any statements at the scene that could jeopardize your claim for compensation. It can also be helpful to obtain names and cell phone numbers of any witnesses.

Request transport to a hospital for diagnosis and treatment of any injuries, if necessary, but err on the side of caution. Not all injuries will be obvious, however. Even if no significant medical treatment is deemed necessary at the time, make an appointment with your family doctor as soon as possible or visit a healthcare facility to get further checked out. The scope of your injuries may not be immediately apparent on day one, especially when the adrenaline is still pumping.

When you get home, notify your own insurance company that you’ve been in an accident but don’t go into any detail beyond the basics. This step should trigger no-fault insurance benefits under New York law.

Finally, consider contacting an Attorney at Omni Injury & Accident Law P.C., to schedule a free consultation. 

When retained, our firm will take charge of your entire car accident claim from start to finish, including all interactions with your insurance company as well as the other driver’s insurer.

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