Knowing what to do at the scene of a New York car accident can be a lifesaver especially when it comes to dealing with insurance, other drivers, and the police.
If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you know how disorienting and scary those initial moments are. Even if you were unaware of what to do at the time, this information could still help. In any event, seeing a doctor is one of the most important things you can do after leaving the scene of the accident. Make sure to see a medical professional within 48 hours of a crash.
Next, contacting a qualified New York car accident attorney can help you pursue the money you need to cover your injuries and other damages. Call and schedule a free, no-risk consultation with us at (631) 543-7070. Carner & DeVita have been helping the victims of car accidents since 1957, and we will work tirelessly to fight for a positive outcome.
Check for Injuries and Move to a Safe Place
Once an accident is over, do a quick body scan and make sure you’re not too hurt to move. If you notice a lot of blood, you feel incredibly disoriented, or you experience intense pain when trying to move, wait for help.
Car accidents result in a variety of common injuries including broken bones, cuts and bruises, head trauma, spinal cord injury, and internal organ damage. If you believe you or a passenger has suffered a serious injury, your primary concern should be getting medical attention immediately.
If you and your passengers are not in immediate danger, you should try to move your vehicle out of harm’s way. A shoulder or a nearby parking lot is fine as long as other drivers involved are aware you’re moving to a safer place. It would be prudent to advise other drivers to move their vehicles somewhere safe as well.
Throughout this early dust-settling phase, be sure to avoid some common pitfalls when responding to the stress of the event. Avoid saying anything about any injuries you may have, especially if you don’t immediately feel injured. Sometimes car accidents result in pain, trauma, and bodily damage that we are not immediately aware of. Telling other drivers or witnesses “I’m fine!” or “I’m not hurt!” can make it harder in the long run to pursue damages.
Call the Police and Request an Officer to the Scene
Once you are in a safe place, call the police. In some minor accidents, you might think it’s overkill to get the police involved, but in reality, it’s very difficult to ensure any damages are properly documented without a police report.
On top of the benefit of having a report documenting the events and results of the crash, New York law requires all accidents to be reported when the damages are over $1,000. So outside of minor fender benders, if you don’t call the police after an accident in New York, you could be breaking the law.
When a police officer arrives at the scene, they will begin taking statements from those involved in the accident. When they interview you, be sure to answer any questions honestly, but avoid providing too many unneeded details. Over-sharing can lead you to accidentally incriminate yourself or otherwise weaken your chances of recovering an adequate amount to cover your damages.
Collect Evidence, Exchange Insurance Information
While waiting for the police to get to the scene of the accident, take pictures of the accident. Try to get close-up pictures of the damage as well as wide-angle shots that capture the whole scene. Capturing the area surrounding the vehicles can help highlight environmental hazards or causes and can help in your case down the line. Filming the accident scene is also a good idea. Capture photos of your injuries and damage to your vehicle as well.
If there are witnesses around, see if they’ll consent to making a recorded statement. Evidence is the core of any case, and you’ll want as much evidence as possible to move fault away from you and onto the negligent party. Since personal injuries in New York are dealt with in a comparative contributory manner, any point of negligence that can be placed on you will mean a decrease in the amount you’re able to recover in damages.
In other words, you may receive less money from a third-party insurance settlement if you’re accused of partial fault.
When speaking to other drivers, exchange insurance information and take a photo of any documents they provide. Take a picture of their license plate and vehicle, and make a note of any odd behavior that may indicate intoxication, drowsiness, or any other impairment.
Seek Legal Assistance From a Seasoned New York Accident Lawyer
Car accidents are terrifyingly common events that can leave you in pain and distress for months or years to come. Get the money for the medical care you need by enlisting the services of a law firm that has helped victims like you fight for the funds they need to comfortably recover from their accidents.
Carner & DeVita are here for you in this stressful time. With dozens of big settlements in our history, we can fight for the compensation you need to properly recover from your injuries, auto damage, and lost wages. Call us today at (631) 543-7070 to schedule a free consultation so we can discuss the details of your car accident and no risk or cost to you.