I Just Had A Car Accident, What Do I Do?

At some point, almost every New Yorker will be in a car accident. According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 294,757 motor vehicle crashes in New York in 2012. That total includes 1,082 fatal car crashes. If you have a car accident, it is important to know what to do. Here are some steps to follow:

What to Do After a Car Accident in New York

Prevent Further Injuries or Damage: Move your vehicle to the side of the road. Put on your hazard lights. If you have them, put up flares or warning signs.

Get Help. Dial 911: If anyone is hurt, dial 911 for medical help and the police. Do not move the injured person, especially if the injury involves a head or back injury, as movement may worsen the condition.

Have the Police Prepare an Accident Report: Make sure the police prepare an accident report. An accident report will protect you and will prove essential for insurance or legal purposes.

Exchange Information: After the accident, New York State law requires you to exchange information with all drivers involved. You should provide the following and collect the same:

  • Name
  • Insurance Company
  • Plate Number
  • Address
  • Policy Number
  • Phone Number
  • Driver’s License Number

If the driver’s name is different from the name on the insurance card or registration, ask what the relationship is (e.g., parent, friend, employer, etc.) and write down that information.

Collect Information and Evidence:

  • Witnesses: Attempt to identify witnesses to the accident. Write down their names and contact information.
  • Take Photos: If you have a camera with you or in our phone, take photos.

Take care of any medical needs:  See a doctor as soon as possible to treat any medical needs. What may seem like a minor hurt may not go away on its own; when in doubt see a doctor.

If the Police Did not Prepare an Accident Report: In New York State, each driver involved in a motor vehicle accident involving an injury or a death must report it to the police. If the accident involved $1,001 or more in property damage, each driver must file form MV-104 with the NYS Motor Vehicle Departmentwithin 10 days of the accident. Failure to complete these actions could result in a suspension of your license or an arrest.

Notify Your Insurance Company: New York law and insurance policies require you to notify your insurance company. If you fail to notify your insurance company of an accident, the insurance company may deny you coverage for the accident.  

If appropriate, contact an attorney experienced with car accidents: If the motor vehicle accident involved a death, significant injuries or substantial property damage, you may be entitled to seek compensation above what insurance will pay. If you think you may have a lawsuit or if you have questions, you should seek the counsel of an attorney experienced in auto accidents in New York State.

What Not To Do At the Scene of a Car Accident

Do Not Leave the Scene of the Accident: Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime in New York and can bring jail time.

Do Not Panic: Remain calm and follow the above steps.

Do Not Make Any Statements to Anyone Other than the Police: If the police come to the scene of the accident, you should tell the police officer your version of the accident. You should exchange the required information with the other driver, but do not have any discussion with the other driver. Do not engage in arguments with the other driver. In the heat of the moment, you may say something that is inaccurate which can be used against you in the future.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident, you may want to consult a New York personal injury attorney experienced with car crash cases. At the Schlitt Law Firm, we would be glad to answer your questions and assist you. There is never a charge for the consultation.  You can call us at 1-800-660-1466 oremail us. You can also visit our website or read more on our blog, New York Law Thoughts.

The Schlitt Law Firm
New York Personal Injury Attorney
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This material is intended for informational uses only. It is not meant as legal advice. To receive legal advice, you should consult an attorney. Remember, past results do not guarantee similar outcomes in the future.

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